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Briefs | Travel

5 ways to go beyond sightseeing and expand awareness


    A visitor walks in a rose garden at the horticultural exhibition ‘ega’ (Erfurt Garden Construction Exhibition) in Erfurt, Germany. The garden is a treat for the senses, especially sense of smell.

Travel offers the prospect of a sensory feast. On your next trip, whether it be close to home or across the pond, encourage family members to do more than just see the sites.

Here are five ways to deepen the experience and expand awareness:

1. What do you smell?

Farmers markets, street fairs, carnivals, campfires, sulfur hot springs, a pine forest and fragrant rose gardens all offer an opportunity to sniffsomething special. Talk with the kids about which aromas make them want to linger and which they are eager to pass by. Do certain scents evoke amemory from a previous experience? Notice how different members of your family respond.


2. What do you hear?

Throughout your trip, encourage the kids to close their eyes and tune in. Is that the whistle of a train in the distance? Do you hear a horse clip-clopping down the trail or the bugle of an elk? Listen intently to the traffic noise in the city, waves crashing on a rocky shoreline or an unfamiliar birdchirping in the rain forest. Take note of the street musicians performing or other travelers conversing in a language that is not your own.


3. How does it feel?

Leaving the comfort of home can evoke a range of emotions spanning from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and uncertainty. From the topsy-turvy thrill created by riding a roller coaster, to the sensation of that first step into an unfamiliar landscape, each member of your family is bound tofeel something new. How will your family react to the humidity of a coastal town or the dry air of the Sonoran desert? Who feels tired? Or hungry? Oreven homesick? Talk about it.


4. May I touch?

From petting zoos and tide pools to horse farms and turtle sanctuaries, travel offers your family the opportunity to reach for the unexpected. Discussthe options ahead of time, particularly when young children are on board. Spiny cactus and colorful coral might look interesting, but close contactisn’t advised.


5. Can I taste it?

Travel provides the ideal opportunity to encourage kids to expand their culinary range. Talk about the origins of different ingredients and why manyare unique to different regions of the world. Seek out small, local establishments where it might be possible to learn about food preparation or eventalk with the chef or proprietor. From curry and coconut to bok choy and barbecue sauce, there is a story to accompany every flavor you’ll sample.


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