I am writing this post in a full-blown travel hangover after getting home from three back-to-back summer trips, with four kids in tow. Two of which were completely impromptu trips. For many years, I had to plan every little detail and have everything in line before we traveled. My husband will laugh at that line because he knows how true it is. I guess four kids and a lot of life later, I realized it’s ok to be spontaneous and sometimes that is how we have the best adventures.
After having our first child, we realized how hard it was to travel with a kid. Now, after four, everything seems like a blur at times. Traveling with kids is hard! That is why they make that meme that says it’s not really a vacation, it’s just watching your kids in a different location. How true, right? You don’t really get to totally unwind and relax, it takes a ton of effort to pack, and there can be many meltdowns along the way.
Now, I know traveling with kids can also be expensive. You don’t have to take these huge trips that cost thousands of dollars. We do plan and budget for the big ones. But some of our most fun trips have just been little camping trips a couple hours away. Travel can be affordable and doesn’t have to be to somewhere like Europe. Heck, we have even traveled overnight locally just to experience a different setting.
Throughout it all, one thing stays true for us. We don’t regret any of our trips and if anyone ever asks, we say, take the trip. There are so many benefits to traveling with your kids.
Thinking Outside of Their “Box”
One thing that kids learn from traveling, is to think outside of their box. They really begin to understand that there is a larger world out there. They begin to see different cultures, experience diversity, enjoy various foods, and explore different settings. Suddenly, the world becomes a lot larger. When they have learned to navigate that big world, it also becomes a lot less overwhelming.
I really do think that traveling has expanded our kids’ horizons. They know that there are tons of different cultures out there and they don’t just exist in books. They have gotten to see mountains, beaches, lakes, rivers, and many things in between. We have stayed in cabins, campers, tents, hotels, resorts, and soon we will try out a yurt. They don’t necessarily love all those things, but they have gotten to experience them and get to make that decision based on facts.
Learning Life Skills
One of the things that people don’t think about is all the life skills that are being taught during family travel. The kids are absorbing it all, as they watch you. From packing, to navigation, checking in, and more. There are so many great life skills being taught along the way.
I love to involve our kids in as much as possible. That means showing them how we pack the luggage, pay for snacks, pump the gas, check in the hotel, push elevator buttons, shop for food, clean up for check out, tip people, and map things in our location. I feel confident that they will know how to do these things when they are older and on their own. Let’s be real, school does not teach very many basic life skills.
More than anything, you are making memories. I am not just talking about memories for your kids. Memories for you! You only get so many years that your kids will be traveling with you regularly and they really do grow up fast. I know that sounds super cliche, but it’s true.
I can truly say some of our best memories are on trips that we have taken with our kids. No, my son may not remember that first glimpse of the Disney castle from the monorail, but I sure do. We have the picture to show him, and the memory is locked in for me. It has really enriched our lives to travel with our kids and experience things through their eyes. I wouldn’t change it for the world.
So, the next time that you ask yourself if you should take that trip with the kids, do it. It may be hard, tiring, and a bit draining but, you won’t regret it. Plus, the more you do it, the better you get. Packing gets easier, car rides go smoother, and you learn from all the mistakes you made previously.
I write a lot of posts about our family trips. Be sure to check out some of the other posts with some cool destinations (like Jellystone), travel tips, product recommendations (like cruise must haves), and encouragement from a mom who has been there. Happy travels!
-Kristy M., Mommy to Many