On a whim last year, I turned to my children and asked them to suggest ways hotels, restaurants, and airlines might better serve vacationing kids. Their responses were enlightening and entertaining enough for a sequel, and that’s what we have here!
What I had forgotten from the last time was that this was less of an interviewing exercise and more of a parenting one. The kids started getting petulant and upset when one refused to let the other get a word in, but as optimists are fond of saying these days, that was a good problem to have. Here now, some new suggestions from Libby, Maya, and Felix (ages 13, 10, and 6, respectively) about how airlines, restaurants, and hotels can step up their game.
What Hotels Should Do Differently
Libby (L): Have the automatic doors at the hotel entrance actually work. Last week outside a hotel, I saw someone walk right into the door.
Maya (M): Have a map in the hotel lobby of the whole entire neighborhood. A big map.
L: The hotel should also have a brochure map showing you what stores in the neighborhood are the most and least expensive.
Felix (F): A bathroom in the elevator in case you really need to go and you can’t hold it. It would be a separate room with a door.
M: And the elevator should go straight to your hotel room so you don’t have to worry about using your key.
M: Hotels should have hello and goodbye baskets.
F: When you get to your room, people should jump out and say “Surprise! Welcome to your fancy hotel!” And they should have presents.
M: Full-size refrigerators stocked with food in every single hotel.
L: Stairs in the hotel should be a piano so they make sounds. So it’s entertaining to the guests. And they burn calories.
M: It should be a law that every Monday and Thursday the whole hotel gets together and plays games and makes new friends.
L: Hotels should have fish tanks. And the pool water shouldn’t be freezing cold.
F: If you’re bored in the hotel, there should be entertainers that come upstairs and entertain you.
L: There should be a doctor in the hotel in case someone gets sick.
What Restaurants Should Do Differently
F: Kids should be able to make their own meals at restaurants with their parents. Spaghetti and meatballs or make your own pizza or ice cream. Or sandwiches.
M: You should be able to write down what you want from the buffet and have the waiter go get it for you.
F: And at the omelet station they should give you a buzzer like at Shake Shack so when it buzzes you can go get your eggs instead of standing there.
L: The plates are ugly.
F: You could color your plate, and design it, and then when the food comes it could be on your own special designed plate. And if you get bored, the waiters could wear monkey suits and come entertain you.
What Airlines Should Do Differently
F: The airplane seats should give back massages if your back hurts. They should also have a beauty salon on the plane, with people giving manicures and pedicures and massages.
M: You should be able to load your car onto the airplane.
F: There should be a restaurant floor on top of the airplane, with stairs or an elevator going up to it. And if you wanted to wear your favorite shirt but didn’t have time to wash it before you left, you could bring it on the plane and wash it, or have someone do it for you. Or somebody could do all your laundry before you leave and send it to where you were going. Or wash it at the hotel and send it to your house before you got home.
Also, if you realized you were on the wrong plane, you could use a jet pack to get off.
What Airports Should Do Differently
M: All airports should have swimming.
F: They should have markers and paper at all the airports for kids, and computers that come out of the seats.
L: The airports need new interior designers because everything there is just ugly. And if you have time at the airport before you leave for your trip you should be able to take culture classes to teach you about the destination. Like, teach you customs and about the people. And the airports should offer language classes, Spanish or whatever language is spoken where you’re going.
What would you change about travel? Share your thoughts in the comments below (though we think that Libby, Maya, and Felix already covered all of the best ideas).