If you're like most parents, you want to do everything in your power to give your children a bright future. One of the best things you can do for them is to start traveling with them early on in life. Here are 8 reasons why travel is so important for kids and how to get started on your own family travel adventures!
8 reasons why traveling with kids is important
Traveling Teaches Kids about the World
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One of the best things about traveling is that it exposes kids to new cultures and lifestyles. When they see how other people live, it can help them develop a more global perspective and understand that there's more to life than what they know. Traveling also teaches kids about different religions and customs, which can help them become more open-minded and tolerant as adults.
Traveling Encourages Creativity and Problem-Solving Skills
When you're on the road, there are always unexpected challenges (like a missed flight or getting lost in a foreign city). This is a great opportunity for your kids to learn how to problem solve! Problem-solving is a skill that will come in handy throughout their lives, and it's one that can be practiced through travel.
Traveling Also Encourages Independence
One of the best things about traveling is that it helps kids become more independent. They have to figure out things on their own, like where they're going and what they're doing each day. This can help them develop a sense of independence and self-reliance that will carry over into other areas of their lives.
Traveling Gives Kids the Opportunity to Make Decisions
When you're traveling with kids, there are always many choices to make about what to do, or not do. This is a great opportunity for them to begin learning to make decisions. When they have to choose between going to the beach or visiting a museum, for example, they're learning to make decisions.
Traveling Helps Kids Develop a Sense of Adventure
One of the best things about traveling is that it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Kids can explore new places, try new foods, and meet new people. This helps them develop a sense of adventure and curiosity that will stay with them throughout their lives.
Traveling often gives kids chances to take healthy risks
When you're traveling, there are always new experiences and activities to try. This is a great opportunity for kids to take healthy risks and learn how to navigate new situations. Many of the best things in life come from taking risks, so encourage your kids to explore their world and try new things while they're on vacation!
Traveling Teaches Kids about Responsibility
Kids who travel often have to take care of themselves and handle some of the logistics of the trip. This helps them develop a sense of responsibility at an early age. They learn that if they don't do their part, it can impact the whole group's experience. You can allow them the freedom to pack their own backpack or choose the outfits they want to bring. Involving them in the process of packing and planning is a great way to teach about responsibility.
Traveling Helps Kids Develop Leadership Skills
One of the great things about traveling with kids is that it often gives them opportunities to take the lead. They might have to figure out how to get from one place to another or make a decision about what to do for the day. This can help them develop leadership skills that will serve them well in their adult lives.
How To Get Started Traveling with Kids
If you're thinking about starting to travel with your kids, but aren't sure how to get started, don't worry!
Here are 5 tips to help you get started traveling with kids
- Start small. If this is your first time traveling with kids, start by going on a shorter trip. A few days or a week is a good length for a first trip. This will give you and your kids a chance to adjust and learn what to expect from traveling as a family.
- Choose the right destination. When choosing a destination, pick somewhere that has something for everyone in the family to enjoy. If your kids are into nature, choose a place with beautiful scenery and outdoor activities. If they love city life and culture, go somewhere with lots of interesting sights and activities.
- Plan your itinerary carefully. Make sure to plan each day's activities in advance, so you know what you'll be doing each day. This will help avoid any surprises or disagreements about what the family should do during their vacation. Use your itinerary as a loose guide versus a very strict schedule. Traveling with kids is often unpredictable (especially when they are young) so having a structure with flexibility is key.
- Pack smart. Make sure to pack everything you'll need, but don't overpack! You don't want to have to carry around a lot of extra weight while you're traveling. Take about 50% of what you think you'll need and know that more often than not you can find anything you could need while on the go.
- Be prepared for anything. No matter how well you plan, there are always going to be unexpected situations that come up while traveling with kids. Be prepared for things like tantrums, missed flights, and lost luggage. Having a Plan B ready to go will help reduce the stress. Go in with the mindset that things might not go as planned, but that's okay!
What are the most important things you should do BEFORE you start traveling with kids?
- Make sure you have all the documents you need. If you are traveling with kids out of your home country you'll likely need a passport. Make sure to check the visa requirements for your destination country as well. If the passport is within 3-6 months of expiring do yourself the favor and renew it. The last thing you want is to wait until the last minute and then not be able to travel because you don't have the proper documents.
- Get travel insurance. If something does go wrong while you're on a family vacation, having travel insurance can help reduce the cost of medical expenses or lost luggage. It's also good to check your medical insurance to see if they cover you while you are out of the country.
- Make sure your children are comfortable flying. If they aren't used to flying, it might be a good idea to take them on a few shorter flights before embarking on a longer trip. This will help them get used to the sensation of flying and hopefully avoid any airsickness.
- Research car seat laws for which car seats are allowed on planes, and what you will need when you get to your destination. Some countries have different laws about what types of seat children can or cannot sit in so it's best to prepare ahead. Safety is obviously crucial so we always travel by our own car seats vs renting them at the destination as you just never know the history of the car seat and if the safety of the seat has been compromised.
- Seek out suggestions for family-friendly accommodations. Sometimes hotels are not the best for families–especially bigger families as you have to book multiple rooms and many don't come standard with kitchen space (crucial with younger kids!). Consider booking accommodations through sites like Airbnb or VRBO and make sure to ask if they are appropriate for your age child.