17 Reasons to Travel with Kids
Why travel with young kids if they won't remember? Isn't traveling with kids so expensive? Is travel really good for children? Not to mention, it's a TON of work, right?
Wrong. I'm here to tell you that traveling as a family can provide you, and most importantly your children, with some of their greatest memories and life experiences.
Still unsure if traveling with kids is all it’s cracked up to be? I could list the benefits of travel for children until I turn blue in the face, but until then, here are 17 reasons WHY traveling with kids is not only possible, but also important for everyone!
1. Exposing them to new cultures: Growing up in rural northern Maine, the word ‘culture’ was pretty much nonexistent. And although most of our travel has been stateside, being able to introduce our children to new cultures within our own country has been an incredible gift.
Each destination has its own unique foods, modes of transportation, history, etc. And it is through travel that children learn that there are different ways that people live and do things.
2. Learning first hand: There’s nothing more gratifying than seeing your child learn through real-life experiences. Involving a child’s senses provides a better learning experience than a textbook could ever provide. Whether it‘s seeking out infamous Venus fly traps at Carolina Beach State Park or petting dolphins in the Bahamas, these are the encounters they’ll remember forever.
3. Deepen relationships with siblings and family: There is no doubt that traveling and spending time away from the hustle and bustle of home life will bring your family MUCH closer together. Without the distractions of the daily grind, you'll be able to really enjoy quality time with one another.
During your travels, some things will go right, and some things will go wrong. BUT, you'll have each other to lean on and create unforgettable memories together.
4. Learn to push themselves outside their comfort zones: Travel helps children try new things and say 'yes' to unique experiences that they otherwise would not have the opportunity to. Things that were seemingly ‘scary’ at first turn out to be feasible. (And fun!) Our children have enjoyed swimming with dolphins, surfing, rock-climbing, hiking, and riding roller-coasters just to name a few.
5. Gaining independence: Independence, although heart-breaking for us parents, is an important facet of life. Through family travel, our kids have gained independence and tackled new responsibilities with ease. Simple tasks such as packing their suitcases or researching which activities we’ll do next are helping them become more self-sufficient.
6. Become adaptable: Let’s face it: traveling with kids is unpredictable at best. Ours have learned to go with the flow and roll with the punches. Things don’t always go right. But that’s life! Our kids are learning to expect the unexpected and react accordingly.
7. How to behave in public: I don’t say this to brag, but if I had $1 for every time someone said to Ryan or I, “you have such well-behaved children”, I’d have free Starbucks for life. And it’s no coincidence that our first restaurant appearance with the girls was when they were only 4-weeks old!
Our kids love all aspects of travel, and you know what one of the girls favorite part is? Going out to restaurants!
8. Building patience: As much as we try to plan our itinerary as efficiently as possible, waiting is a given when traveling. Waiting in traffic, airport layovers, amusement park lines, restaurants, and the list goes on! Kids learn it’s just part of the process and are given the opportunity to be creative with their time.
9. Fosters curiosity: With each new destination, there’s so much to see and do. Children’s brains are naturally little sponges. They WANT to learn and explore. From varied ecosystems and wildlife, to new skills and culinary experiences, traveling provides limitless opportunities to tap into a child’s innate sense of wonder.
10. Encourages making new friends: Two hands up if one of your favorite parts of traveling (especially as you got older) was making new friends and going on secret adventures together! Amiright?
As an only child, this was my lifeline. I HAD to put myself out there if I wanted to meet new people. It’s been so fun to see the girls strengthen their social skills and make friends during our travels.
11. Digital detox: Who has time for TV when you're too busy having fun?! While on vacation there are always new and exciting possibilities for adventure, so tuning into Paw Patrol doesn't even cross our kids radar! For parents and kids alike, it's profoundly refreshing to get back to the basics of family time.
12. Express themselves: At five years old our girls, are continuously building their self confidence, both physically and emotionally. But on a family vacation? They are 100% comfortable and able to be themselves! Silly, funny, sad, or whatever their feelings are at that moment.
And as they conquer tasks they may have been unsure of (hello, surfing!) they also become more comfortable in tackling other fears, like communicating with their peers or adults we meet along the way.
13. Date nights for parents: There’s no greater vacation satisfaction than all three kids passed out cold by 8 PM while mom and Dad enjoy some quiet time on the balcony. Although this miracle happens rarely, we’re relieved that kids clubs exist as an excellent option for a carefree, couples outing. This way, we‘re able to nurture our relationship and experience each new destination in a fun way together.
14. Opportunity for a unique experience with one child: While on an epic family vacation, the options for activities are endless! No two kids are ever too keen on the same activity (or at least not at the same time!) so it makes that 1-on-1 time much more attainable.
One of my greatest memories is of me and Aviana’s trip to Ripley’s Aquarium, a day date, just the two of us! It was our first outing together and it made me realize how important that individualized time really is.
15. Fun stress: Getting lost on road trips, sprinting through airport terminals, fleeing from natural disasters, and heck, just keeping track of everyone in a crowded city can be stressful! BUT, it's in these crazy moments that our fondest memories are made. And it reassures us that together, we can do hard things!
16. Practice makes perfect: How to behave in public places, tackle airport chaos, understand the travel process, or not losing your cool when things don’t go your way, it all takes practice. They will quickly learn what to do, what not to do, and how to adapt. The more you travel with your kids, the easier it will be for everyone.
17. Unforgettable memories: There’s no question that some of my greatest memories growing up took place on our family vacations.
Walking down Main Street USA at Disney, swimming with stingrays in the Bahamas, parasailing over the Caribbean Sea, all of which are memories I’ll hold onto forever. And now as a parent, I feel so lucky to be able to relive all of these experiences as if they’re for the first time. Except now, I get to relive them through the magic of my children’s eyes.
Travel certainly isn’t free, but it does afford priceless opportunities for learning, character development, and family bonding. The benefits and importance of family vacations are limitless. Raising young travelers is certainly not wasted!
Exhausting at times? Yes. But, oh so worth it.
What’s the biggest takeaway you’ve gained from traveling with young kids?