Sometimes, some of the best educational experiences occur outside of the classroom. One of the best ways to put this into practice is to travel. This is why holidays with your children can double as both a time for relaxation and a time for learning. Not only will your kids get a chance to experience new cultures, but they can see the things they learned about in person and get an opportunity to learn more about their interests. Thus, to help families budget appropriately, we analyse the costs of 4 types of educational trips that will be fun for the whole family.
Visit Sanctuaries to Learn About Animals
If your kid is a repository for animal facts, a trip to a sanctuary can make for a great holiday. Animal conservation sanctuaries are a great way for kids to see the animals they love in person while also teaching them the importance of wildlife preservation and proper interaction. There are a lot of animal sanctuaries fairly close to Singapore, so you don't have to travel far or spend a lot of money. For instance, one of your closest options is the Elephant Nature Park: Visit & Volunteer is in Chiang Mai, Thailand. There, your kids can learn about elephant preservation and witness them in their natural habitat. Adult tickets are S$113.75 and children's tickets are 50% off, making it a little pricey even with the child discount. However, you can feel good knowing your entrance fee will go into keeping the sanctuary up and running.
Another nearby sanctuary is the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sabah, Malaysia. At this centre, kids can see the bears as well as orangutans, macaques and other types of flora and fauna. Best of all, the BSBC is free for kids under 12 and only ~S$10 for adults so it can be a great budget option. It is worth noting that while most sanctuaries are built with good intentions, you should be wary of sanctuaries that allow the handling or constant interaction of predatory animals such as tigers.
Historical Sites Can Be Fun for Both Kids & Adults
If your children are budding history buffs, then taking them to a destination loaded with historical sites can be a great way to bring history to life. For families who are able to travel long distances, world famous historical sites to visit including the Acropolis in Athens, the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt and Machu Picchu in Peru. However, the long trip and costly plane tickets may not be feasible for certain families. For historical sites closer to home, you can consider Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Huế in Vietnam and the Borobudur temple in Indonesia. The costs of visiting historical sites aren't too expensive. For instance, Borobudur temple costs about S$32 per person.
National Parks Combine Sightseeing & Exercise
Visiting national parks is a great way for kids to spend time outdoors and learn about new plants and animals. National parks are also help to teach children about nature conservation and the environment, which is especially important considering how quickly landscapes have been changing in recent years due to global warming. Typically, national parks may not cost anything besides a parking fee, which makes them a great budget-friendly activity. Khao Yai National Park is a good example of a nearby and affordable (S$18 for adults; S$9 for kids) destination where you can go on hikes and see wildlife like elephants, deer, gibbons and porcupines.
If your budget allows for it, you should see if the park offers a guided tour. This way you'll be walking with an experienced guide who can give you and your kids can get in-depth knowledge about the animals and plants in the park. They are also great for getting off the beaten path and exploring lesser known parts of the park.
Science & Natural History Museums Can Be Fun Studious Children
If you have kids who prefer reading to running around, a trip to a city with plenty of science or natural history museums can combine their love of learning with on-hands activities. Making stops at science or natural history museums can be a good idea if you already planned a trip to a particular city. Museums are great ways to tap into a child's curiosity, as they typically offer exhibits on a variety of topics and day-long educational programs for kids. Some world-recognised science and natural history museums for families to consider include Natural History Museum in London, Melbourne Museum, The Museum of New Zealand and the Beijing Museum of Natural History. Admission to some museums are free, but others may charge a small fee. For instance, the Melbourne museum costs S$24 for individuals over 16.
The Beijing museum can be great for dino lovers as it has rare collections of dinosaur bones. The Natural History Museum in London is set up in different zones including an outside zone that features a wildlife garden and a space exhibit. If you have planned a trip to the east coast of the USA, you can also make a stop at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC. It has over 145 million holdings and has some of the rarest gems in the world. Kids can also see feedings of insects such as tarantulas and butterflies.
Saving Money When Travelling As a Family
The total cost of a holiday can mount quickly when you're travelling as a family. However, there are a few ways you can save some cash. First, you can consider getting an Airbnb over a hotel if you have multiple kids. That way, you can still have enough space without spending extra for a larger hotel suite. Airbnb's range widely in prices, but they are generally cheaper than 5-star hotels. Furthermore, you can consider using your rewards credit card to get cash back or travel points on all your purchases. You should also remember your kids bring their student ID's with them, especially if they are older. Many places offer student discounts that can save you as much as 50% on ticket prices. Lastly, when travelling with kids, you should always protect yourself from unexpected setbacks. Thus, we recommend a travel insurance plan that offers robust travel delay/cancellation, medical and baggage loss coverage.