Most people try to travel the world before they have kids or wish they had, or resign themselves to hoping their retirement package will stretch to cover a cruise once the kids have all left home. But there are a lot of reasons to travel with your kids. Here are just a few.
The younger children are when they are exposed to other languages, the more likely they are to retain the ability to learn them and are more likely to take an interest. It’s one thing playing a CD of Spanish or Chinese in the car on the way to Kindergarten, but hearing a language spoken in its own country is a completely immersive experience. Experiencing the culture while hearing the language will have a far greater impact on your little ones.
Being an outsider in a foreign culture can be jarring even for adults, but it has its upside. Children who grow up aware of other peoples, places, cultures, and traditions are far more accepting than their peers. A teenager who has traveled as a youngster will be much more open to new people and experiences.
The importance of knowing that our version of ‘normal’, be it food, language or clothing, is just as strange to some people as theirs may seem to us.
Shared experiences make for great family bonding time. Travel makes for great family experiences, far more memorable, and often more exciting than time spent on home soil. Whatever age they are now, or were when you traveled, look back at the pictures and reminisce together, it will bring back great memories, and you’ll probably get a good few laughs too.
Well-travelled kids have a far greater general knowledge base than other children. This may be in part from things they pick up along the way on tours, museum visits etc, but more likely, they are simply interested. Children who don’t travel are quite happy in their comfort zone, sticking to what they know. Children who travel are aware of the wider world; they are far more curious, and more inclined to learn about, things outside their home-base.
Experience over Material things
Every parent wants to give their children the best they can afford, but this doesn’t always mean stuff. Ultimately, they will get bored of the X-box or outgrow their mini-bike, but an incredible experience will stick with them for a lifetime. When their next show and tell features a sea shell from Mauritius, you’ll know it was worth it.
Don’t put off travel because you think your kids are stopping you, book your flights to Tel Aviv, your cruise to the Caribbean or take a road trip to Mexico. Pack the kids up and show them what’s really out there. They might grumble at the long hours in the car, but you’ll have an amazing family experience, and your kids will definitely thank you when they’re older.