Does the thought of traveling with your little ones cause you to lock up your luggage and throw away the key? Here are the top 10 reasons to rethink your reluctance and take them with you.
(1) Children create an opening to meet and interact with locals. You know your kids are cute, but local people will also tell you so. They will offer help when you need it and advice when you don’t need it. This is not based on official sociological research or anything, but we believe that a love of children is an inherent part of every culture. As a result, your kids have a limited-time ability to transcend barriers caused by language differences, unfamiliar customs or other awkwardness. Take advantage of it.
(2) It gives you an excuse to slow down. You know the cliche about needing a vacation to recover from your vacation? Forget about it. When you travel with your kids, you go at their pace. You won’t see everything or do everything; but that’s impossible anyway, even if you didn’t have kids with you. What you see, you’ll see up close (because you have to get down on your hands and knees to show the kiddos). What you do, you’ll do completely (and multiple times, if you have toddlers). And everything else… you can save for the next time around.
(3) Most kids are surprisingly adaptable. We’re not saying you should disrupt their schedule. They still need to eat and sleep just as much as they do at home. (Nap time is king!) But it doesn’t take long for children to settle into a new environment – whether it’s a new bed, a new apartment, a new time zone, a new food, whatever. They can probably handle it. AND – this is not based on any official developmental psychology research – but it stands to reason that this kind of exposure will make it easier for them to adapt to new situations as they get older.
(4) There is gear available to make your life easier. Rest assured, if there is something you need, somebody is selling it. You can find some Red Tricycle product reviews here.
(5) Every destination has something to entertain your kids. In our experience, it doesn’t take much. We have spent many happy hours on pigeon-filled plazas, drinking coffee and watching the little ones chase the birds.
(6) Every destination has something to educate your kids. Museums are great educational tools. Even better are real live interactions – first-hand exposure to people, places, food, music, languages, animals, activities… You get the point.
(7) Traveling creates amazing memories for your children and you. You are sharing a unique, challenging, potentially transforming experience. Together, you will create stories that you can share for years to come. Traveling creates memories even if your children are too young to remember. As your kids get older, they will look at the pictures and hear the stories and incorporate these images and experiences into their memories. Again, this is not really based on actual neurological research, but we’re pretty sure that’s the way it works. Of course, the more you recall these experiences together, the more they will absorb and keep with them.
(8) Kids offer their parents a special perspective on the destination. If you take your kids, we promise that you will see something new or do something different, that you would have missed if you left them at home. Refer back to number 1 and 2 on this list. Even our home town – the city that we have been inhabiting and writing about for more than a decade – we are now re-discovering with children.
(9) Childcare is available if you want a break. We are big fans of traveling with grandparents. We have also had great experiences with local babysitters. High-end hotels and resorts offer babysitting services and referral programs. Use them. Just because you are traveling with your kids doesn’t mean you need to be with them all the time.
(10) Once you do it once, you’ll realize it’s not as hard as it seems. So go for it!