Telling your kids they’re going on a trip can often be as exciting as leaving for the trip itself, especially if you have some fun with delivering the news. I’ve collected some pretty creative ideas with some help of friends and family who wanted to surprise their kids with a trip. Here are some of my favorites.
1) Don’t tell them until it’s time for departure. Although it might be hard to keep your trip secret and get all the packing and preparing done without your kids knowing, this can be really fun. I have family members who drove their family halfway to their cruise’s boarding location. Their kids were under the impression it was a quick road trip to visit some friends. Then when they stopped for lunch they revealed they were really headed for a weeklong cruise. They kids were super excited and very surprised. You can also have your kids released early from school to leave for the trip but tell them they’re getting picked up early for the dentist. Imagine their surprise when they find out the real reason!
2) Have a puzzle created! You can have a puzzle made with a picture of your destination, (you can even super-impose your family into it with Photoshop) or a message, such as “We’re going to Paris!” Have the kids put it together and wait for their reaction when they discover the hidden message.
3) Design a Scavenger Hunt! This is a neat, interactive way to tell your kids about an upcoming trip. Start with a little clue, such as something they might pack, along with a message where to find the next clue. Finish the hunt with your final message, such as “Pack all your clues into your luggage! We’re headed for London!”.
4) Many kids love getting packages delivered. Pack a big box full of helium balloons with the message tied to the strings and place it on your porch. Tell them they have a delivery and get the get the video camera rolling. (Make sure you bring it inside so the balloons don’t escape with your news!) When the kids open the box, they’ll get a colorful, happy surprise! It may take a moment to find the message but this exciting delivery will be hard to forget.
5) Make a video! When the kids expect their favorite movie, instead, load in a video you’ve made yourself explaining you’re all about the leave for Alaska! You can include photos of your destination and details to get them excited.
6) If it’s near a birthday or gift-giving holiday, try giving them a themed gift — something that your child would take on the trip or something that represents the destination. Wrap up a cool under water camera with a message – “Now You Can Take Great Pictures on Our Trip to Hawaii! We leave in 3 weeks!”
7) Crack open the news with a custom made fortune cookie. You can order a special fortune cookie with a custom message, such as “A special boy named Brian is destined for an amazing week in Costa Rica!” Imagine his surprise when he realizes it’s one cookie message that will come true!
8) Buy you kids a Scratch Map. Have fun with this cool map scratching off the places you’ve already traveled (a multicolored map is underneath the silver coating). Then explain there’ll soon be one more place to scratch off! Share the news by pointing to your new destination!
9) If your family is into geocaching, this can be a great opportunity to combine something. You already love with exciting news of your next trip! All you have to do is plan ahead and plant the message at your final geocaching location and have your camera ready to capture their reaction.
10) Give them a travel journal and a photo of your destination inside. If your kids love to write about their travels try giving them a travel journal and include a postcard or picture of your next destination. It s a fun way to let them know they’re heading somewhere new and a great way to record their memories of the trip.
–Laurie Flannery for the Luxury Travel Mavens
Feature photo by Shannon Graham
What’s your favorite way to surprise your kids with a trip? Share you comment below!