Can you travel with kids? Yes! And if you can afford it and make it work logistically, I think you definitely should. You don’t have to travel around Europe for a year or trek across a jungle. Any kind of travel will benefit them and you.
As we slide into a new year and start dreaming about all the places we want to go this year, I want to look back and remember why we are making travel such a big priority for our family.
I recently posted ten reasons to travel with kids on my Instagram account and want to share them with you here.
Why Travel With Kids
To be global citizens. We want our kids to be not just Montanans, or even Americans; we want them to be citizens of the world. We want them to be as invested in the planet as they are in their own town.
To build family bonds. Of course, there are other ways to do that, but we love the togetherness we are “forced” into when exploring new places, navigating diverse languages, and eating “weird” food. We have so many fun and funny memories to reminisce about together. We still call peanuts “kikiriki,” the Croatian/Serbian word. We long for the Christmas Market in Salzburg and groan about the hours in the car on a long road trip.
Our kids (and us adults, too!) gain confidence and independence when we are in new circumstances. The first time I watched my 9-year-old leave a little apartment in Florence, walk to the market himself, buy fruit using a different system than we use at home, in a language he didn’t speak, and with a foreign currency… I knew he was growing up.
To gain a global perspective. We are more connected than ever before and we want our kids to understand how people live around the world. Hanging out in a Mayan hut making tortillas and learning that our teacher did that for hours every day, makes us realize how different people’s lives are than our own.
To grow resiliency. There are setbacks and uncomfortable situations when you travel, but you have to buck up and carry on. You miss trains, or turn down the wrong street, or just need to find a particular item at a market. You just have to stay calm and keep trying. Once you conquer a few set backs, they don’t seem so scary.
To problem solve. We figure out train and bus schedules in foreign countries (luckily, there is usually an app for that). When we want to go hiking we need to find a trail and figure out how to get there. When our wallet is stolen on the Paris Metro, we need to get replacement credit cards. Problem solving and thinking outside the box is a necessary skill in travel and in life.
To worldschool. The world is the best education out there. Our kids learn so much every time we go somewhere new. It’s one thing to read about the Battle of Bannockburn and another to stand on the hill where Robert the Bruce assembled the Scottish Army and then engage in an interactive battle game to try out your own tactics and skills.
To open our minds. We see other ways of doing things and looking at the world. Sometimes, it doesn’t make sense, but other times we wonder why we aren’t doing it that way.
To be responsible. We have to take care of the places we stay in. We need to keep track of our stuff. When you leave a daypack on the train in Sweden, you don’t get it back. We have to know where our passports and wallets and phones are at all times. Sometimes you have to walk several kilometers carrying all your own stuff, because we all have stuff to carry and mom and dad can’t take another backpack.
Adventure and travel is fun! Why wouldn’t we want to do just that?
Traveling with kids isn’t always easy, nor is traveling without kids, but it’s always worth it. Travel makes us the people we are.