Are you thinking of taking your kids on an ancestral trip?
Family travel can be frustrating, nerve wracking, and hair splitting but at the end of the day, oh family can be so rewarding! A little pre-planning will make your family ancestral trip go so much smoother. And just think of the many memories your family will have while discovering their heritage!
- Prepare your family for the long flight. Take age appropriate toys and games for the kids to do, such as UNO, cards, electronic toys, etc. Check out the web site: www.thinkfun.com for brain teasers, logic games, and games for younger minds, including apps for these. Movies, TV shows and music are available on overseas flights. Since you’ll have to cart them around on your trip, use portable games that don’t weigh much and be sure to pack them in your carry-on!
- Don’t forget to bring family and/or genealogy information. Tell your kids about your ancestors, who came over, where they came from and why. Anything you know about your family helps your kids get a deeper understanding of their family—how they struggled, how they overcame obstacles, where they came in North America, where they settled and their occupations. Did they fight in wars? Did they come alone? Were they meeting other family members? Did they leave family behind?
- Do some research before you leave home about the town, village or country where your ancestors lived. Try to incorporate some of these locations into your ancestry trip. Give them a timeline of what happened in the country they left. Tell them stories of their family you’ve heard from your elders.
Keep your kids engaged
- Keep them engaged in the story of their predecessors before you leave home. There’s a lot to be said for anticipation.
Prepare them for the flight
- Set your watch, phone or any other device you want to change to the local time you where you’ll be staying. Try to start scheduling your time according to the new time and you’ll help prevent jet lag.
- Airplane food can be unappetizing to children (and adults, too!) so take lots of snacks for your trip. Bring items such as protein bars, peanut butter and crackers, nuts, dried fruit and other portable food that your children or grandchildren will eat. Combining protein and carbs will help curb their appetite without adding unwanted sugars. Make sure you have them sample the snacks you want to take, if they have never had them before. You don’t want to drag around a bunch of protein bars for the kids and then find out that they won’t eat them!
- You can bring fresh fruit to be consumed on the plane, but many countries won’t let you bring it into the country. So only bring what you will eat in flight. Any water, juice and other liquids in quantity you want to bring on board, must be purchased in the airport after going through security. These are available on the plane, but you must wait for the flight attendant to get them for you, so I suggest you purchase your own. Tip: If you bring your own home-cooked or prepared food, the airline can confiscate it. To prevent this from happening, bring in commercially prepared food that has been packaged.
- Bring bacterial wipes for the plane, tourist attractions and other times during your trip to stay healthy. On the plane, wipe down the tray, arm rests, pouch, and head rest (if possible). Also be sure to use a wipe on your hands after using the lavatories. According to independent studies, airline air doesn’t circulate bacteria; people get sick through surface contact.
- It will be morning or early afternoon when you arrive when you arrive in Europe. But your hotel room will probably not be available until late afternoon, so you won’t have access to it until the official check-in time. You can, however, drop off your bags at the hotel, which will be happy to store them for you in a secured place while you wait for your room. Have any valuables locked in the hotel safe, such as computers, jewelry, etc. Take the time to walk around and get some fresh air—this will help with jet lag and get you a little acclimated to the area. You can even plan a tour to familiarize yourself and your family with the area.
Save your ancestral trip memories
- Don’t forget to bring your camera! As a family you’ll be able to make many discoveries during your ancestral trip. Keep a log of your trip, where you went, your impressions, people you met, what your kids and grandkids experienced and any other nuggets you want to remember. When you travel, you take in so much that it’s often hard to remember what you saw when. By keeping a log, your memory will be jogged when you return.
- Once your return, create something really special, by putting together booklets for your family members with photos and your log entries. You’ll create memories that will not only last a lifetime, but will be passed on to your future generations!
Call us when you’re ready to begin planning a trip of a lifetime–an ancestral vacation. We love helping clients connect with their “roots.”