So many families wait until their children are in their teens before they really start exploring. Most parents believe it is either too difficult or too costly. Others simply think their kids won’t remember it, so why bother? Well, I am hear to make the plea that there is no better time to travel with your kids than RIGHT NOW!
5 Reasons to Travel with Your Kids Now
Don’t get me wrong there will be moments of meltdowns (from both kids and parents) but the lessons learned through travel + the bonds created as you explore new destinations and conquer fears together will be worth every second! Trust me. My husband and I have been traveling the world on a middle class budget with our 5 kids (ages 2-13 years) for the past 6 years now. We have visited over 15 countries and too many cities to count. And, with each passing day I feel more compelled to share what we have learned.
1. Life is Short
It’s the truth! Precious time slips by and before you know it you are sitting at a high school graduation wondering where the adorable toothless little kindergartner went because you swear it was yesterday you dropped him off for his first day of school. I mean 18 summers people… that’s all we get! Why not take that time and travel? Make memories that will fill the void when the kids are grown. Create bonds with your kids that are unbreakable. This is what traveling allows because you escape real life and all its demands and simply focus on each other. It’s incredible. Plus, the younger your children are the easier it is to leave. They don’t have lives of their own yet dominated by extra curricular activities, school projects and friends.
2. They Realize How BIG the World Is
I think Gustave Flaubert said it best when he said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” It’s so true! When you travel you begin to realize that the world is a great big place and the problems you face are really itty bitty in the grand scheme of things. It allows children to gain a broader perspective on life. And, this has been an incredible gift in my own children’s lives.
3. They are Fearless
I will never forget the first adventure driven trip we took to Costa Rica 3 years ago. My then almost 6 year old daughter was going ziplining for the first time and after her first few lines (and when my heart was already in my stomach) the guide asked if she wanted to zip upside down. At which point I felt like I would die! I was praying she would say no. But, before I could say anything… off she zoomed UPSIDE DOWN through the trees. I am pretty sure I didn’t breathe until I could catch a glimpse of her standing safely on the platform across from us. But, you know what… she LOVED it!!! She gained more confidence about herself in that one trip than I could have ever taught her on my own. People who know our family make comments about how grounded our kids are, how brave and determined they are. I know it is traveling that has given them that.
4. You Get to Be a Kid Again
Sure its nice to relax in an adult only pool, sip cocktails or head to the spa to be pampered. But, really after a day or two I am done and I miss my babies. You know why? Because they know how to have a good time- ANYWHERE! ANYTIME! Kids see the world as their playground with endless opportunities around every corner. And, because of this characteristic when you travel with kids the most mundane moments turn out to be treasured memories.
5. Learn Things That Cannot be Taught in the Classroom
I feel incredibly blessed to have my kids in a rockin’ public charter school with crazy amazing teachers. But, even still there are certain things in life that cannot be taught in the classroom. Things like compassion, flexibility, self awareness, confidence & respect are a few that come to mind. My children have met friends from all different countries who are made up of all different races, colors, languages and religions. They have learned that no matter where you come from or what you look like we are all much more alike than we are different. We all want to be loved, keep our families safe and feel like we belong. These lessons will serve them well throughout their lives.
So, I encourage you to skip the Starbucks, the meals out, the fancy brands etc… Save every penny you have and spend it on traveling with your kids. It’s a gift with boundless rewards for both you and your children. And, one that supplies you with a lifetime of memories.