One of my New Year’s Resolutions for our family this year was to travel. Don’t get me wrong, we do travel every year, but what I wanted to do different this year was to actually spend some time seeing this beautiful country we live in. We’ve been to almost all of the National Parks in California (where we live) and we’ve been to some beautiful places in Florida, New York, Utah, Colorado, Montana, etc, but it’s important to know the culture of this country and it’s a great lesson to teach our kids. So many people think they can’t travel with kids, but one of the best gifts you can give your children is the experience they receive with traveling.
For me, there are so many reasons to travel with kids. One of these is the bonding experience you get, and the other is the countless learning experiences the kids get from seeing things in context, rather than in a textbook or online.
Of course, traveling can be expensive, but just like there are lots of ways to homeschool on a budget, there are lots of ways traveling can be budget friendly too.
Instead of thinking about reasons why you can’t travel, here are the top 10 reasons you should travel with your kids. (Print this, clip it to the fridge or, better yet, a piggy bank, as a reminder of your goal to travel):
1. Your kids will have a blast. I can’t think of a better excuse to travel. Seeing your children’s eyes light up as they explore and discover new things. Kids love to travel! It’s exciting, it’s cool, and it’s better than learning from a textbook.
2. Your kids will get exercise and will lessons about team-building. We all see the reports about childhood obesity these days, but traveling with our kids provides the chance to get out of the house, hike, climb, and walk around exploring. It’s also a great way to team-build. By this, I mean climbing to the summit of a mountain with the family, as a team. Last year we did this and it was such a great family moment. We still talk about that hike and we did it as a team.
3. Kids learn more when they see things in context. Your kids can read endless books and never really understand the awe of the Rocky Mountains, the Arches in Utah, the Space Needle in Seattle, or the Elephants at a Zoo. They will always remember what they learn while traveling, because it is more significant and life-sized. I still remember a trip when I was 8, when we went to the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Arches National Park. It was amazing and I remember being in awe of all of the intriguing rock formations and mountains.
4. You get to spend quality time with the kids. Hey, we’re all guilty of being too distracted and busy with day-to-day activities to really spend some quality time with our kids. At home, everything is about homeschooling and other things like work, keeping house, paying bills and other non-kid-friendly concerns. While traveling, you get some wonderful one-on-one time with your children.
5. Traveling helps kids become more open-minded. When kids are only exposed to a small world view, they can become limited and close-minded adults. Expose them to various cultures and experiences, and they will realize there is so much more to the world than their small corner of it.
6. Traveling allows you to see the world through your child’s eyes. It’s amazing all of the things you don’t notice about the world until your children happen to point them out. Even if you have traveled a lot before having children, you truly haven’t traveled until you’ve watched your own child stare up in amazement all the marvels around the world.
7. It’s not as hard as you might think! Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t easy lugging strollers, whining kids, luggage and more along on a trip, but when it boils down to it, it really isn’t all that hard. The great thing about traveling with kids is that they adapt quite easily.
8. You can travel on a budget. You don’t have to wait or save up until you can afford a trip around the world with your kids–start small. Each Saturday, take a day trip to a nearby town or National Park/Monument. Go on a hike with your kids, or explore the culture of a town nearby. You can then work your way up to a long weekend a few hundred miles away. Once you feel comfortable with that, you can take a longer annual vacation somewhere fabulous. *Another tip is to save for your annual trip monthly. We do this at our house. We started with $50/month and have upped that number each year, allowing us to take a great vacation once a year.*
9. Traveling gives your kids wonderful memories. This one is also beneficial to you. Your children will cherish these memories for a lifetime, and so will you. When you were a kid, do you remember the family vacations or the time spent at home, more? As I mentioned above, I remember the family vacations, back when I was 8. I’ll always cherish those times with my family.
10. Traveling instills a sense of adventure in your children. I always feel sad when I meet someone who has rarely left their home town. There is so much out there to see and learn! Aspire your children to reach for more. If you travel often with your children, they will grow up yearning to travel, understanding all the intensity (both good and bad) of travel, and seeking out their own travel adventures with your future grandchildren.
Never stop learning,