If you are considering a trip and aren’t sure whether you should bring the kids or not then let me help you decide with a little personal insight.
“Why bother travelling with young children? They won’t remember their travels anyways!
“It’s too much work to travel with kids, besides they won’t appreciate it!”
These are just some of the sad things I’ve heard people say about travelling with children.
My response is, you don’t know what you are missing and if you truly believe this than you are missing the whole point of travelling with children.
Consider the following statements.
“Don’t read to your child or hold your baby as much as possible because he or she won’t remember” .
“Don’t spend time with your kids when it’s inconvenient, they won’t appreciate it anyways”.
I think it’s ridiculous when people say that they don’t want to travel with their kids because it’s too hard or because they won’t remember.
Travel with kids for me is not necessarily about giving them a memory or doing it when it is convenient. It’s about giving them an experience. After all, experiences are the building blocks that make us who we are whether we remember them all or not.
10 reasons I travel with my kids and how I think it has changed our lives.
1- Travel Can Help Broaden The Horizons of Your Children.
One of the many reasons I love to travel is because it teaches me about the different ways that people live and do things. For my children this translates to them understanding that there is no one single way or right way to do some things.
Consider the simple act of what to eat for breakfast on a trip to.. um ….. China?
If your kids are used to eating eggs and toast, imagine how eye opening and different it will be for them to eat something foreign like rice porridge or Chinese donuts for breakfast. My kids love eating this for breakfast by the way. I have been exposing them to different foods through travel since they were born.
Food is just one example of how travel can expose your kids to different ways of doing common everyday things.
Photo via Flickr from Brett
2-Traveling With Kids Expands, alters and stretches their little minds.
Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see my kids step outside of their comfort zone and be more willing to try new things.
Just by the nature of travel, your children can easily learn to stretch themselves and experience things outside of their everyday life and comfort zone. Each time they do this, they will gain the confidence to push themselves further and further even when they are not travelling.
3- Travelling Helps Kids Become Great Little Travellers.
The younger your kids are when you start travelling with them, the faster they become better travel companions.
All three of my kids are used to travelling. They learned from an early age what to expect, what to do and what not to do.
It doesn’t take years of training either. Even if you only go on one trip a year, they will learn to become good travellers quickly.
My youngest child was already a great traveller by one year old because we started taking her on road trips at 11 days old. By the time she was 9 months old, she didn’t even cry on her first international trip to France.
4- Travelling helps kids learn to acclimate and adapt to change.
Sure stability and keeping a schedule is great for your kids but so is change. Travelling with your kids is a natural and easy way to help them learn to deal with change.
5-Travel Can uncover your children’s hidden interests.
One of my sons has discovered through travel that he loves art and loves to draw. Sure he could have discovered these things on his own but travelling put us in museums and surrounded by ancient works of arts that gave him that initial spark.
6- Kids Can Let Loose and be themselves.
When your kids travel, they get to explore a side of themselves outside of their everyday life. They get to let down their guard, have fun and be themselves.
7-You Will Create And Cherish Lifelong Memories
It stands to reason that all the good times we have travelling together are memories i will cherish. You may be surprised to know that some of my fondest memories of travel were actually of times when we were the most stressed.
Like losing one of my sons in Nice France for 3 hours and freaking out only to find him hours later and just being happy is was safe.
Or realizing that our huge American stroller was not going to fit in most restaurants.
Changing diapers on the grass in front of the Eiffel tower after searching for a bathroom that was free for over an hour.
Convincing our kids to eat some new foods and putting up with all their whining.
These are all memories I will keep for the rest of my life and laugh about too.
8- You will see the world in a whole new way.
Travelling with your children let’s you see even the simplest of things in a whole new way. Sometimes it’s a useful reminder of how wonderfully strange some things are, particularly when you see them again through fresh eyes.
9-It’s Easier To Travel When Your Kids Are Younger: You don’t have to wait until they are older
I have travelled with all three of my kids from birth. **My oldest is now almost 17 ( at the time of this writing 2013).
I have spent countless hours with each of my kids either attached to my back in a sling or sitting in a stroller while we travelled.
So trust me when I say this but you don’t have to wait until the kids are older to travel. In many ways, it can actually be easier and better to travel when the kids are younger.
Kids are amazingly flexible and resilient if you only give them a chance. They can sleep almost anywhere. Everything fascinates them. They will and can eat almost anything and they don’t give you attitude like a grumpy teenager.
All you need is a sling or a stroller and you are set to go. Don’t forget the diapers and a few snacks too. You have the added bonus of raising children who adapt easily to change and creating good travel companions for both far and near travel.
10-Travel is a fun bonding opportunity.
We are all so busy through out the year. Travelling on a vacation is often one of the best if not the only times we actually get to spend quality time with our kids.
Our kids get to see us in a fun and new environment. We get to loosen up on the rules and everyone gets to spend quality time together.
What Do You think?
I don’t want you to think that travelling with kids is all rosy rainbows and unicorns.
There are definitely a lot of downsides to travelling with kids. It’s hard, stressful and can be expensive for example.
However; it’s totally worth it. The unexpected joys of travelling with children far outweigh any negatives for me.
Don’t take my word for it. Below are over a dozen articles written by other families who travel with kids who also think that travelling with children is worth it.
**NOTE: When I mention travel in this article, I realize that money may be a limitation. To reap the benefits of travel with kids you could opt for travelling to places closer to home. The next town, state or province. Just as long as it’s somewhere new and different and you all are together.
Other Articles From Families Who Travel
Kalli from Portable Professionals
Jenni from Witness Humanity (link coming)
Laurel from Capturing la Vita (Link coming)
ME:Annie: from Practical Adventurology – Why You Should Travel With Kids Even If They Won’t Remember
Natalie from Early Education Travels