Budget Family Travel: 7 Tips for Exploring by Foot with Children in Tow

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Originally I thought we’d rent a car immediately once out of the airport.  As it got closer to our travel dates, I realized that wouldn’t be so realistic as it would be quite late and we would be traveling from Lisboa to Lagos in the dark and quite jet-lagged so we opted to take the bus.  Then we thought we’d explore the nearby area by foot and discovered we could get quite far by foot even with the kids.

If you have the time to linger in one place and want to keep the budget low consider putting off the car rental and taking it slow.  The wonderful thing about exploring by foot is that you get such a good feel for the finer details you wouldn’t by car. I really like to get an idea of how people live their daily lives, take in the nature and art.  Exploring by foot is  a great way to do that.

Below are a few ideas for putting in the miles by foot with little ones in toe.

1- Stop frequently for short rests.  Take some photos, find a bathroom, sit for a snack, or visit a playground en route.  If you have a little one in a stroller make a point to stop at a park or other safe place where s/he can get the wiggles out without you having to stress about traffic or other dangers.

2- Pack water, snacks, appropriate weather protection and good footwear.

3- Walk at the children’s medium pace.  Everyone is going to get frustrated if the kids are expected to go at their maximum pace. They can go a lot further in the day if they aren’t being pushed to walk at top speed.  Yes it is slower, but traveling with a family IS slower and might I add RICHER.

4- Bring an umbrella stroller for compact travel that still allows you to keep toddler safe and to help him/her keep pace with the rest of the family.  If you’re taking a baby carrier be sure to get one that has 2 shoulder straps so you don’t put your back out.  A Mobi Wrap  is surprisingly comfy and holds baby closest to yourself to eliminate unnecessary strain on shoulders, back and neck.  A serious hiking child carrier might be more appropriate for a toddler.

5- Play walking games like ” don’t step on the cracks”, both parents holding the young child’s hand and every time they count together to 10 swing child, sing fun songs together, etc.

6- Bring a camera that is capable of quality imaging but is still small enough to toss in a bag or wear comfortably from your neck.  This will help keep you occupied when you need to slow down for the children’s sake.  Yeah, us adults have our own moments of short attention spans and impatience too don’t we?

7- If at first there are complaints from the little ones don’t give up.  Try it for a few days.  They may need an adjustment period especially if they don’t do that much walking every day at home.

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