Why You Should Travel With Kids As Much As You Can
I will point out the inherent blind spot in the very idea of this article and that is this: travel is expensive. Not everybody can afford to trot the glob solo, let alone with a little brood of kiddos in-tow. But, that is why I say travel as much as you can. Even if that means you can only take your kids abroad once in their childhood, even if it means never crossing an ocean to cross a border, of even if it means finding communities vastly different from your own, but within your country, get your kids out of their home town as often as you can, and, if possible, take them as far as budget and time allow. I was fortunate enough to have parents who A) could travel and B) wanted to bring my sister and me along (unlike parents who drop kids with a nanny so they can vacation sans-children for a month). Frequent travel instilled me with so many skills and characteristics that serve me every day. Here are reasons to travel with your kids as much as you can.
They will be comfortable with “otherness”
It’s too easy for children to be confined to people who are like them—people of the same ethnicity, same socio-economic background, same religion, and more. But this sets them up for a life in which they are uncomfortable around “otherness.” Traveling with kids obliterates the very idea of “otherness” from a young age. They’ll quickly become friendly with people from so many walks of life that they’ll stop seeing anyone as really different—people are just people.
They can learn how good they have it
If you travel with your children to areas that are impoverished, or areas that are charming and certainly blessed in their own ways but don’t have things like the newest iPad, your children can see just how good they have it back at home. Exposing kids to communities that have less may eliminate tantrums over not getting the iPHone X.
Their palates will expand
I’ve never been a picky eater—I didn’t have the option to be. I traveled so much as a kid that I couldn’t rely on kids’ menu classics like grilled cheese and hot dogs wherever I went. In fact, many countries don’t even have kids menus. Kids eat what the adults eat. If you’re dealing with signs of a picky eater, pack up those suitcases and go on an adventure.
They’ll have broader influences
When children mostly stay in their own town, they become almost like clones of all the other kids around them. This is an exaggeration of course, since you have your own culture and values in your household. But, still, you can’t help the fact that, when they leave your house, they’re surrounded by kids with a lot of the same hobbies, fashion choices, and ideas of what it means to be “cool.” Traveling exposes kids to all sorts of interests, fashion, and values, so they can make more worldly and informed decisions on who they want to be.
They’ll be low-maintenance
It’s hard to grow up high-maintenance when you travel a lot. You have to share small hotel rooms with your family, eat whatever is available on the road, wake up at terrible times for flights, and be away from modern comforts often.
They may pick up other languages
Depending on where you travel and if you re-visit often, your child may even pick up a second (or third!) language. And fully immersing oneself in a culture is the best way to learn the language.
Colleges love to see it
Colleges love to see that children have traveled. Again, this does not need to be in any luxurious capacity. If your child travels to an impoverished country to volunteer during summer break, sleeping in huts and taking turns working the kitchen/cleaning the mess hall, colleges will be very impressed by the experience.
Shyness will be busted
If your kid is at risk of being nervous and shy, traveling often will bust that—fast. When you travel, you have to talk to strangers because you have to ask for directions and for advice. You won’t have an introvert on your hands if you travel with your kid.
You’ll be closer to them
Traveling also provides a wonderful opportunity to bond with your children. When you travel, you are away from all of the friends who may be texting your kid to meet them at the mall. You’re away from the superhero movie premieres and parties or whatever else your kid would be doing without you back at home. You are each other’s companions and buddies when you travel.
It’s money better spent than on summer camp
If it’s a choice between sending your child to a somewhat-local sleep-away camp (these can be expensive) while you travel or taking your kid along, take your kid along. You, too, should stop having so much anxiety over traveling with your kid. It’s not as hard as it seems. The sooner you get used to it, the faster you’ll see what a joy it actually is to have your kids along on your journeys.
They’ll be comfortable with change
If you can help your child be flexible and comfortable with change, you will set her up for a life of success. Traveling is always full of changes in plans, surprises, and unpredictability. It’s good to get your kid comfortable with that.
They’ll be better problem-solvers
Due to that spontaneity that comes with travel, kids can also grow up to be good problem-solvers. They’ll learn to think on their feet and find quick solutions to unexpected changes and setbacks.
It kills a fear of travel, young
Unfortunately, if you don’t travel at all with your child, there is a good chance that she’ll develop some level of agoraphobia. You need to wear down that fear threshold around new places, people, and situations from an early age. It’s much easier to get over these things as a kid—it’s very hard for adults to overcome such fears.
And instills a life-time love of adventure
If you travel often with your child, she’ll grow up to be a wanderlust. She’ll always have that adventurous spirit, and the desire to touch every corner of this planet.
They will think and act globally
Well-traveled children also grow up to be global thinkers. When it comes to how they vote to how they shop, they think on a global level. They know things on a global level that help them make more educated decisions.