There have been many times parents will say to me, “Well, I am just going to wait until my kids get older to travel with them, it will be easier.” I have to say that I generally disagree with that statement, and here are the 5 reasons why you should not wait to travel with your family.
1. Practice makes perfect. The most difficult thing about traveling with children (at any age in my opinion) is that traveling is a series of different behaviors, and the only way for your child to learn the appropriate behaviors for travel is to practice them. If you don’t take them anywhere or allow them to practice new behaviors in the area of travel, by the time you have to go somewhere the first travel experience is going to be difficult. For this reason I suggest you build up to longer travel periods by starting out with shorter ones, like day trips or one overnight stay.
2. The Learning Curve. It is much easier to learn things when you are younger, and interacting with new things in a new environment is intellectually stimulating for your little one. Maybe you live in the city and you want to show your family what the desert looks like. Or you want them to go whale watching like you did when you were a kid. As a parent it is so exciting to see children (especially toddlers) experiencing things for the first time. I don’t think I would be willing to pass up the chance for any of my children to miss out on learning opportunities because I feel traveling with children is too inconvenient.
3. A Unique Opportunity For Family Bonding. With everyone on a different schedule most days of the week, there seems to be less time for quality family togetherness. Taking a trip with your family is a very special time where you can invest individually with each member of your family, as well as spending time together, bringing your family closer. You know those moments I am talking about. Like the first time your 5 year old swims without floaties and the whole family cheers! There is nothing wrong with taking specific time (and funds) to foster these amazing moments as a family. Get away from everything, and turn off ALL of your electronic attachments to the rest of the world. Yes, I am even giving your permission to stop reading this blog for a few days 😉
4. Resentment. Maybe most of us wouldn’t want to admit that sometimes we resent some of the sacrifices we make for our children, but it happens (none of us are perfect!). That is why it is so important not to put unnecessary restrictions on our families. There are a lot of things we choose not to do with our children’s best interest at heart, but traveling should not be one of them! And remember, don’t underestimate your children. You might not be giving them enough credit. Small children are resilient and will pick up and exude your confidence. We need to employ wisdom when it comes to our little ones, such as leaving an extra day at the beginning of a long trip to deal with jet lag, but we should not let something like jet lag keep us from traveling in the first place.
5. Constant Change. Things are constantly changing in the world including boarders of countries, economic climates, and culture. If you really want to take part of something somewhere else in the world, don’t wait too long, or the experience you were looking for might have changed significantly. Of course, if your goal is simply to see the Eiffel Tower someday… it will still be there in a few years.
I hope this changes the way you think about traveling with children, and you are already thinking of a trip for the near future. If you need any help planning that trip please check out 7 Initial Steps from the Planning Section.
What are some fun family trip moments you remember?