When it comes to traveling with kids, it can be really challenging. It’s more expensive and less relaxing. Depending on the age of your kids, it requires many more stops for everything from feeding the baby to diaper changes to potty breaks and “don’t-make-me-turn-this-car-around” lectures. It’s easy to just keep putting it off. It’s easy to say, “when they’re just a little bit older, we’ll go.” But I have found with my own kids that it is worth the power struggles and extra stops. And here’s why.
#3 Traveling Builds Relationships
Traveling gives you a unique opportunity to just love on your littles. Of course, you always love them, but it’s usually alongside a busy routine. When you occasionally take them out of the ordinary, it’s incredibly special to them. They recognize that this is something different and they get to see you in a different light, too. Now maybe you’re the mom that builds a sandcastle with them on the beach or looks at dinosaur bones with them in a museum instead of just the mom that nags them to eat all their food and put their shoes on in less than 2.5 hours. When traveling, you can be making their best memories without even realizing it. We took a weekend trip to the beach when my daughter was four and she still talks about it as one of her very favorite times.
#2 Traveling Provides Unique Teaching Opportunities
Again, you’re taking them out of their element and out of their routine. This means a couple of different things. It means that it will be trying for your kids. Yes, it’s exciting for them, but it’s also exhausting and full of unknown factors. They have to cope with long days and no usual schedule, but this is good for them. I promise. As humans, we have to be able to adapt. We need to learn to handle different situations and traveling takes your kids out of their comfort zones to do just that. As I mentioned before, it will require some extra patience on your part, but it’s worth it. You can minimize the struggle by preparing your kids ahead of time. Let them know what to expect by sharing your schedule with them each day and explaining anything they might not understand. Let them ask questions and encourage them to be excited about what’s going to happen. It goes such a long way and will make your trip so much better.
#1 Traveling Expands Their Worlds
I really think this is the number one reason to travel with kids. In our lives, we get so used to seeing just the things and people around us. Especially for children, it’s easy for those worlds to become self-centered. It’s easy to think that our lives in our homes is all there is and all that matters. Traveling reminds us that we’re not the only ones in this world. You see new places, new people, new ways of life, and new cultures, making it impossible to believe that yours is the only one there or the only one that matters. None of us would actually ever say this, but this thinking is prevalent in our society and easy to fall into if we’re not careful. I didn’t realize just how many of my thoughts and opinions and prejudices came from the fact that I’m an American until I was surrounded by people of a completely different culture in a completely different country. I didn’t realize how many of my own personal morals came from my Christian faith until I was in a country of non-Christians. I learned these things after I became an adult and I wonder how much it would’ve changed if I had learned this as a child. I travel with my children so that they will know. They have heard another language and seen another religion. They’ve seen history and customs of other cultures and they know that the U.S. isn’t the only country that matters. Their worlds are bigger because they have traveled, and to me, that’s enough reason to bring them along.
Have you traveled with your kids? How far did you go? What were some positives that came out of bringing them along?