A Bilingual Family Travels Part 1
When the opportunity arises, take it! Raising bilingual children takes many forms. Travel is one of them. As children travel they are exposed to language, culture, and food. All these immersive experiences contribute to their developing brain.
We recently traveled to Mexico City as a family. This was the first time we traveled internationally with our children. We chose Mexico City for a few reasons. My husband was scheduled to be there for a conference and he threw out the idea of joining him a week early to sight see and enjoy some much needed family time. I have been to Mexico, after all that is where our families are from, but hadn't been to CDMX yet. Our target language is Spanish - I immediately thought it would be the perfect experience for our children. (Not to mention, this was also an opportunity to meet their great-grandfather for the first time)
We immediately began to prepare for our travels. From purchasing flight tickets, searching to borrow umbrella strollers from friends, to purchasing light-weight car seats. Our children didn't have passports yet so we had to expedite the process in order to get them in time.
Since my husband would not be returning home with us, I felt that I needed to have a great selection of available activities for our kids and pack accordingly. Here I share what I decided to pack and how it all played out in our travels.
Each child had their own backpack to carry. I loved the size of these backpacks as they fit all the activities I wanted to take, they were easy for them to carry, and they fit anywhere. I packed the following:
-2 small notebooks
-pouch of pencils, crayons, thin expo markers
-2 large cube stamps
-3 stamp pads
-5 sticker sheets
-printed/laminated tracing strips
-3D small magnetic blocks
-play-doh and cookie cutters
Pre-planned (labeled) Outfits
I learned this one on our tip to Disneyland earlier this year. Whenever you may have other adults helping to get the kids ready, its always easiest to hand over one bag that already has their whole outfit inside. In addition, it was an easy way to practice days of the week with the kids every morning. This made the packing that much easier as it limited having too many choices or bringing too many unneeded garments.
Single Umbrella Strollers
At home we use a double stroller because both our kids are still at an age where they can walk, but still get easily tired. I knew I didn't want to take our daily stroller with us to avoid the bulk. I needed something with quick access and easy to maneuver - knowing we would most likely be on lots of uneven terrain. We were able to borrow the strollers. I'm glad we used two single umbrella strollers and not a tandem stroller for this trip. It allowed a bit more flexibility given there were a total of three adults traveling in our group. Perhaps, if I had to return alone with my kids, a tandem stroller would have been a better option.
We found inexpensive, light-weight, airplane approved car seats for each of our kids. I figured we could use them if we had a designated driver/car for the day. I found that we hardly used them for the day to day activities. If we had rented a car, perhaps they may have been used more - but they sure were safe and extremely useful for the airplane ride.
This one is a must! Whenever you are given the opportunity to travel to a country that speaks your target language you will want to come back with as many books, toys, and
materials for your family in that language. I decided to pack a full suitcase with clothes for myself and the children. I packed an empty mid-sized duffle bag too. The duffle bag served as the luggage to bring back our close and the large suitcase was what I was able to fit more than 50 pounds of materials (books and educational games).
My next post A Bilingual Family Travels Part 2 will give detail about the places we visited on our trip and how our children were able to benefit from these places.