We’ve been traveling with our son since he’s been a bun in the oven and we can’t imagine our adventures without him. That’s not to say that my husband and I never get away for a couples weekend or that one of us never takes a trip with our friends. Nurturing both our relationship and our friendships is very important to us and we do make time to take such trips whenever we can. However, we live and breathe our family travels. Traveling and exploring has become our constant way of life especially in the last few years.
10 Reasons Traveling with Kids is Awesome:
1. Less screen time.
We always have screen time limits but when we are traveling, screen time is almost non-existent. In fact, if we are not flying across the ocean, we don’t even allow our son to bring his device on a trip. We want him to be present in the moment and to be aware of his surroundings. What is the point of having your children on a trip with you if they are going to be glued to a screen and be zombies throughout your explorations?
2. More physical activity.
You hear all the time that children today are leading more sedentary lives as compared to previous generations. As a family, we try be as active as possible on a daily basis, but especially so when on a trip. If we’re visiting a city, we like to stay in such a place that we’ll be able to mostly walk to all of our sights. If we’re staying in a nature setting, we will either hike or bike.
3. Try new foods.
I have not yet met a parent who hasn’t complained about their kids eating habits or the battles they have in order to get their kids to eat “adult” foods. Let me tell you, when you’re in a strange country, hungry and your familiar food is not an option, trying local foods becomes a necessity and more often than not, our son has fallen in love with new and unfamiliar foods.
4. Family becomes closer.
We are often climbing some crazy mountain, or solving some travel issue, or trying to decipher a meaning lost in translation. When traveling, it is just our little trio trying to navigate a new and unfamiliar place and situation. When you just have yourselves to rely on and figure things out, you can’t help but become closer.
5. Become more outgoing.
We’ve been traveling with our son since he’s been very little. I am a firm believer that his gregarious personality is a direct result of travel. He is not shy to play with kids wherever we may be, no matter the language barrier.
6. Become flexible.
Our son can fall asleep anywhere, play anywhere with anyone, eat all sorts of food, do his homework on a plane, read a book in a tent. I know adults who cannot fall asleep if they’re not in their own bed.
7. Learn a new language (or improve an existing one).
All three of us have lived as kids in various countries and as a result our trio speaks four languages fluently between the three of us and we are learning several others to aid us in our travels. Nothing reconciles cultural differences better than a common language. Stay tuned for a future blog about how to acquire a new language faster (even as an adult).
8. Learn about new cultures & types of people.
Canada is a very multicultural country and you grow up having friends and neighbours of different cultures and religions. But not all countries are like that and a lot of people are mistrustful of differences. Travel can help bridge those difference and show you that despite different clothes, skin colours, languages and foods, we are all really the same. All parents love their children, all people seek connection and happiness. We want our son to grow up to be a citizen of the world, to understand that differences only make life interesting, not scary.
9. Learn geography & history firsthand (and actually enjoy them).
Memorizing historical dates and names of countries is boring. But walking through ruins of an old civilization, looking at ancient artifacts, watching archaeologists dusting off unearthed bones right in front of you, makes history and geography real and tangible.
10. Become more curious.
Because of constant discovery and exploration, because of all the points I made above, through travel, your child becomes a different person. They make connections usually reserved for seasoned travelers and ask questions you might not expect from a child. They crave knowledge about the world around them in a way they could not if life was just school and extracurricular activities. You can have wonderfully serious conversations with your child. And that is reward enough in itself.
So if you think your child is not mature enough for a serious trip, you might be pleasantly surprised. We don’t see ourselves doing what we’re doing without our son. He adds a wonderful spice of youthful curiosity to all our discoveries.
Do you travel with your children? Why or why not?