I remember taking my first-born on his first plane ride. He was 13 months old and I was terrified to be traveling alone with this “baby”. Of course I packed everything but the kitchen sink, just so I could be prepared for any and everything. On the way to our destination, he screamed his head off and was COMPLETELY and utterly inconsolable. On the way back, he had a bad case of diarrhea. Inevitably, the poor lil’ fella decided that he would “gift” me with an explosion that covered my lap and the bottom half of my shirt. Needless to say, I swore off traveling with my child FOREVER!
It didn’t last long because I have always loved to travel and I wanted him to go too. So, after about a year, I decided to try and put all of the memories of our first trip out of my mind. I began to think about what he/we would be missing if I held on to my fear of traveling with a toddler. I’m glad I put those feelings aside and learned from my past experiences. Now that I’m three kids in, I’m feeling like an experienced traveling mama and I can truly say that I feel that it’s super important for kids to travel. Here’s why:
Travel is education.
When I say that, I’m not referring only to the history lessons and things like the museum and sightseeing. I’m referring to the math involved – How long will it take us to get there? What is the currency exchange rate to the US dollar? Geography – What is the closest ocean? Which continent is it?
They become well-rounded.
Being able to talk about their travel experiences to others is pretty awesome! Unless they were very young, they will always remember the time they went to _________. These types of experiences stick with them for a lifetime and they will always have information to share about their travels.
They are not afraid.
The moment my son became old enough to travel unaccompanied, I was a nervous wreck. It didn’t take him long to become a very independent and confident little traveler. When children realize what it takes to move around and travel independently, it boosts their self-esteem and it creates a certain level of confidence that’s very important for them mentally and socially.
They will grow up to be travelers.
Once your kids realize that there’s so much of this exciting world that they haven’t seen, they will be hungry to explore more and more!
It’s just fun!
Who doesn’t need a break from school? I know my kids do, because we keep a strict “school week. No TV – only homework and after school activities.” So, naturally, they want and deserve a break from the norm. No matter where your destination, it’s nice for a change in scenery. More than likely, there is lots of fun waiting for you. Don’t forget, you don’t have to travel far for your kids to have a good time!