I’ve heard it all. Some people feel travel is the best experience kids can have. Others feel kids are better off staying home and going to school each day. I say there’s good on both sides of the equation.
There is benefit in giving kids a stable home where they can sleep in the same bed every night. There is also benefit in taking kids out traveling.
In the end travel with kids is good for both kids and for parents.
Travel is good for kids because:
- Travel gets kids out of their comfortable routine and opens their eyes to the idea that others live differently than they do. As they visit other cultures and eat different foods, they start to realize the interconnectness of our world. They step outside their ethnocentric mindset and realize the world doesn’t revolve around them.
- Being global citizens in today’s society is critical. In a world that’s shrinking daily, understanding other cultures is a huge advantage.
- While traveling, kids learn in context. Rather than reading random facts and figures from a book, they are living, touching, breathing new experiences which makes their learning more effective.
- While traveling, kids are exposed to many new ideas and may discover new interests or expand on interests they already have.
- Because they are placed in so many unique situations while traveling, kids learn to be flexible and to adapt to whatever comes their way.
Travel is good for parents because:
- In today’s workaday world, we rarely get to spend more than a few fleeting moments with our children. While traveling, we parents get the opportunity to be with them all day. It takes time to forge a relationship, and travel can provide that time.
- Traveling with kids opens new doors that you would never even know existed if you traveled without them. You’ll meet more people and be invited to events that otherwise would remain off limits to adult travelers.
- Kids force us to stop and smell the roses. Whereas we might be tempted to see the sites and breakneck speed on our own, that pace doesn’t make sense with kids. You’ll see less, but see it better.
- Travel with kids is just plain ol’ fun.
Can all of these things be accomplished other ways? You bet. Is travel essential to have time together as a family and to create global citizens? Absolutely not.
But traveling together is perhaps, the easiest way, and there’s no doubt it’s a lot of fun.
Nancy Sathre-Vogel, more commonly known as Mom to Family on Bikes (www.familyonbikes.org), is a long-time traveler. She’s gallivanted around our planet for the past 29 years, the past fourteen with her twin sons. Her most recent excursion was a three-year journey on bicycles from Alaska to Argentina. Now her mission is to encourage others to live their dream – wherever it leads!