Carrie Anne Badov, mother of three kids (ages 11, 9 and 6) and managing partner at EverythingMom.com, is a big fan of the weekend surprise trip. She's learned from experience to spring the surprise on the kids right after school.
"I'll have the bags packed in the trunk and pick the kids up and go. As my kids get older, they tend to sniff out surprises, yet this type of after-school travel always catches them."
Travel writer Michele Bigley says while she hasn't done anything crazy like blindfold her kids and drive them to "some random place," she thinks every trip is sort of a surprise when you have young children, since they don't know much about the destination or what to expect. Her sage advice for parents who want to spring a trip on their kids with no warning?
"Make sure you are going somewhere your kids will love and give them a chance to pack something that makes them feel at home... in case they hate it."
Speaking of knowing what your kids love, dad Gary V. recently surprised his 9-year-old, airplane-obsessed son with the ultimate trip — waking him up up at 5:00 a.m. to tell him their bags were packed and that they were heading to Seattle on an airplane. The plane ride was a thrill in itself, but when they got there, Gary got the rental car and drove his future pilot straight to the Boeing factory, where he had reserved a tour of the facility. When you know what your kids are into and plan the trip accordingly, chances are they'll love it.
Dave Parfitt of Adventures by Daddy says he and his wife once surprised their two daughters with a long weekend getaway to Walt Disney World.
"We know our children and know what they enjoy doing. The January trip was part Christmas present and part birthday present — both of their birthdays are in January."
Parfitt says they prepurchased admission tickets, wrapped them, and placed them under the tree.
"When they opened them... they found out we were going to Walt Disney World."
Need more family travel inspiration? The Bender family (from Australia) embarked on a round-the-world adventure in May 2012, and they're sharing their amazing experiences at TravelwithBender.com.
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