Before I had children traveling was part of my military service. One week here and another week somewhere else. I was able to see beautiful places only people dream of. I was a paid traveler in a sense. Now that my husband and I retired our Dixie hats and decided to live a civilian life. Along that life came children. Many families assume that once kids come along traveling and adventures will have to wait. I oppose that idea.
From the time my children were born they were travelers. In just their short lives they were camping in the mountains of Glacier National Park and traveled 6 states. All before they turned the age of one. So why do travel with our kids?
- Comfort Zone: My children live a normal child life at home. They go to school, do homework, have after school activities, and on and on. The mundane life of what “normal’ is. So when it comes to travel my husband and I take my kids out their comfort zone. They have to sleep somewhere else, eat different food, and meet different people. It teaches them to adapt and be flexible. Which is needed when they get older.
- Makes them brave: Along the lines of comfort zone. Traveling has made my children do things outside the box. Horseback riding on the beach. You can’t get that here in southern Louisiana. How about Snorkeling in Cozumel to Parasailing in Key West. All these amazing activities require bravery on my kids part. It was their first time on a horse let alone ride one up a mountain in the Smokey Mountains. It allows them to take a leap of faith even if they are terrified. Believe me, tears have been shed along the way that ended in smiles.
- Unbiased Views: I grew up in a small town in Montana and there are not many ethnicities there to paint a rainbow. I got the culture shock when I joined the military. Travel teaches people to be unbiased. When you can see a culture or people from all walks of life it breaks down walls and sheds fear many people have only because they are ignorant to it. My children ask many questions about why people live the way they do or why they look a certain way. All which we want them to ask, because this erases stereotyping. I want my kids to know they real why not what the media shows them.
- Compassion: When we travel we don’t also go where the tourist go. We take the unbeaten path. We go where the locals go. And sometimes that means rough neighborhoods and not so good conditions. That is alright with us. This teaches our children compassion. That they have a great life and not take it for granted. It teaches them to care for those less fortunate then us.
- Friendship: My children are not shy and can make friends with trees if they had to. They are curious by nature and will be the first to always talk first. So making friends is never a problem. That is the beauty of travel. My children have made so many friends from hotel stays to cruises. Many they stay in contact with today.
- Family Time: Both my husband and I work and sometimes crazy hours. Add to the kids’ daily schedule and we are all tired out by the end of the day. We do have occasional movies nights and dinner nights. But they are brief and very spread out. Traveling, especially road trips give our family connection. We can talk with each other. Listen to our favorite songs. Tell stories about previous places we visited or place my husband and I traveled to. Sibling bonding. Having a house full of girls is a daily task. The kids fight constant. With traveling in that brief moment of escaping our bubble. They are kind to one another and help each other.
- Education: Every trip there is a chance for education. That we instill in your children. From naming the type of tree to the food that we eat. Learning is being done. Travel is also known to improve grades as well. I can believe it. As a visual learner I know if I can touch, see, and hear. I will have a better understanding and therefore remember it. So geographically my children are well knowledgeable.
- Memories: Giving my children memories they will never forget. They will forget about those Nike that were $130 last Christmas. That is a material object. Which they will grow out of. My children can remember a Disneyland trip we took when they were 3 years old. That is right 3. They can tell me it in details and not skip a beat. That is real memories. They will have forever.
- Icebreaker: Many locations love children. So when locals see us they ran to talk to us. We have really great conversations with locals. A great icebreaker even if there is a language barrier. A big bonus, we have identical twins so the fascination with them gives perks such as hotel room accommodations. Even though a room might only hold 4 people. We tell them we have small twins and they set us up for the night. 2 for 1 special.
- Appreciation: My children appreciate all the things they have. They take great care of things my husband and I bought them. This comes from traveling. My children get to see how others live and sometimes it isn’t the best conditions. My children see first hand the struggles others might face day to day.
As a family of 5 traveling can be difficult, but it is worth every moment of savings, budgeting, sacrifice, and hours searching the internet for the best deals. Being able to share this with other families is also a bonus. As many families are unaware that no matter how much money you have, you can always travel.
“Travel now, while you still can. Travel soon, as the present will be the future and you don’t know what the future holds.”
Do you want to read more about traveling with your kids and ways to save money doing so? You can find Amanda writing and hanging out here:
Amanda, thank you for this lovely guest post. When I read her Bio, I was completely drawn in. We have so much in common with our lives. Thank you for sharing with us! Be sure to go check My Sweet Beautiful Life out! Get yourself some travel tips!