(This is a guest post from Karen at RockThisLife.co – you can learn more about her and her blog at the end of the article.)
So many people say they want to travel before they embark on having kids. Sure, it can entail less hassle and less baggage. But I’m here to tell you some awesome reasons why you should travel with your kids.
1. Traveling with kids creates new perspectives
When you travel with your kids, they are exposed to new cities and experiences. The more different the city or country you visit is from your home, the more they are able to learn. Children are enriched by learning about new cultures, tasting different foods, appreciating the local art, architecture, and music. These experiences teach children in ways that reading books or watching TV cannot compare.
Children are mentally expanded by understanding that everyone is not the same as they are—that there are many different and perfectly acceptable ways to dress, eat, walk, travel, and live daily life.
2. Traveling together facilitates learning about each other
Discover new traits
When you take your children on trips with you, there are numerous opportunities to interact with each other outside of your normal routine. By interacting in this way, you discover new personality traits you may not have witnessed before. You get to see how your loved one acts when in brand new environments, or when something goes wrong like a delayed flight, lost bag or booked hotel. You may get lost together, figure out public transportation together, or hold on for dear life during a rogue taxi ride. Traveling gives you the chance to work through things together and provides ample teachable moments.
Deeper appreciation of each other
Additionally, you get to try new things together, you are able to witness each other’s excitement and exhilaration and the sense of accomplishment when trying something new for the first time. (Think ziplining, white-water rafting, snorkeling, etc.). Your kids may be fortunate enough to see you let down your hair and appear more like an adult “person” they are not used to seeing besides when you’re working around the house, running errands or driving carpool. They get to see you let loose, have fun, and teach them skills they never knew you had! They develop a much deeper appreciation for you.
Learning each other’s preferences
You get a chance to learn about each other’s likes and dislikes. From your preferences in hotels to what you like to explore in a new city—your family will learn a lot about what each other likes and doesn’t like to do on vacation. Do you like to chill on the beach or take an adventure on a 4-wheeler on a riverbank? Do you like to take long strolls in cathedrals or ride merry-go-rounds in the park? Traveling helps you see all parts of each other’s personal styles.
3. Traveling with your kids builds their character
Out of their comfort zone
When in a new environment, around new people, places and experiencing new things, children are stretched outside their comfort zones. They are enabled to talk to new people, often in a new language. They learn that sometimes things are not always comfortable like being at home or in their own neighborhood. But it’s also an opportunity to make new friends and getting to know people is an important skill! They will be doing it their whole lives!
Trying new activities
Traveling to new locales stretches children to try new activities. They realize you don’t become an expert the first time you try something and that some things take a lot of practice. They will become less fearful as they encounter a fear and then overcome it (ziplining, parasailing, skiing, taking a high cable car, traveling up a 100-story building, etc).
Becoming less fearful
They will also be less fearful being in new places, seeing people who are different from them. Perhaps they will be more adventurous trying new foods, or shopping and cooking foods you purchased from a local open-air market.
Often times kids have to figure things out on their own, like new locks and toilets or how to order a drink in a foreign language. This builds their confidence that they can figure things out when it’s really needed.
One of the most important benefits of growth from traveling is the ability to embrace new cultures. As we move into a truly global society, appreciating various cultures is more important than ever.
4. Traveling together promotes family bonding
Taking trips together promotes family bonding as you learn more about each other and depend on one another to survive in a new locale. You oftentimes depend on each other to get around, you plan activities together, and when you return home you can reminisce together about your experiences.
When I was young, my family never took a leisure vacation. Not once. We never went camping. The only road trips I recall were a few hours away to our grandparents’ home.
It was more of a beating than a vacation because we hated the long, cramped car rides, we never saw anything interesting, and we experienced a somewhat lackluster time in our grandparents’ home without our games, and with many strict rules and less-than-appealing food offerings.
Our family couldn’t afford luxurious vacations, but we sure could have gone camping and had a great time hiking and cooking s’mores. That’s just what I intended to do with my kids even though I was a single mother on a limited income. I ensured we went somewhere each spring break, even if it was camping or to a city a few hours’ drive away where we could experience new things. We saw botanical gardens, an alligator farm, wax museums, picnics on mountains, hiking, and cabins by lakes. Once I was able to take them to Disney World and am so grateful we all were afforded that exhilarating experience. Traveling with my children has been some of my best memories with them and I’m certain that those are some of their favorite memories too!
Family vacations are super important for families to achieve this type of bonding outside their normal daily lives.
5. Enhanced desire to travel later in life
When your child evolves into an adult, they will be much more likely to travel to new locales. They will have enhanced curiosity and wonder about our vast world, yet minimized fear since they already broke those boundaries during childhood.
You will have given your children a sincere gift of independence—a willingness to fly on their own wings once they leave the nest. You’ve instilled in them openness to other cultures and the courage to experience new places and things. By traveling in early childhood, they’ll be more likely to travel with their own children too!
Families who travel together stay together!
Karen Jones is author of the blog RockThisLife.co which aims to inspire women to live their best lives! She’s a mom who moved to Mexico and writes about her adventures and experiences in order to empower women to love themselves and to pursue their dreams. Follow her on Facebook: www.facebook.com/rockstarsrockthislife or on Instagram: www.Instagram.com/liferockstars.