5 REALLY Great Reasons to Travel with Your Kids
Taking a trip with the kids is fun and all, but it's so much work!
The time, the energy, the COST?!?
Uggggghhhhh! Never. Again.
No. Just, NOOO.
I've uttered each and every one of these phrases more than once, and definitely with more colorful language sprinkled into 'em. And yet, my husband and I continue to take our growing brood--we welcomed our third and final baby in May of 2014!--out and about on this li'l blue planet of ours.
March 2014, Santa Cruz, CA
Why? Well, in addition to being just a tiny bit idiosyncratic, my husband and I are overflowing with wanderlust. After over a decade of marriage, one would think the desire would lessen, but in our case, not so much! If anything, the pull has only intensified as time has passed.
February 2012, Sedona, AZ
Once we started our family, we knew adjustments would need to be made, but we weren't sure how they would manifest in our day-to-day lives. Would we leave our children with trusted family members while we continued our adventures? Or would we bring them along? If so, how would that work? Did we even have the chutzpah to embark on such a challenge?
March 2014, Monterey, CA
Everything was uncertain until we heard those first cries in the delivery room in 2007. The decision was made for us in that moment: Traveling without our kiddos was simply not gonna happen.
May 2011, San Francisco, CA
Over the years, we've definitely adapted and had to make a few sacrifices for the greater good, but the benefits far outweigh the inconveniences. At this point, 90% of our travels have been in the continental U.S., and we generally travel by car to save money and have flexibility. However, our long-term goal is to make regular trips outside of the country with our children. Right now, since our kids are young, we're in the foundational stages, which is completely fine with us. Below, you'll find the reasons why our efforts--and yours--are worth the investment.
1. Shakes up your routine & combats stagnation
Any sort of travel requires one to let go to a certain extent; this is especially true when you're traveling with children. The younger they are, the more unpredictable their behavior, and without the usual comforts of home, chances are very good that you'll be required to improvise in some way, shape, or form. Know what, though? That's good! Thinking quickly and having to be resourceful are great ways to keep one on her toes. After all, "necessity is the mother of invention", right? Further, when kids see that a few lumps and bumps haven't dampened Mom and Dad's enthusiasm, it plants the seeds of an adventurous, fearless spirit within them.
January 2014, Petrified Forest National Park
2. Quells fear of the unknown by learning to adapt to new environments, people, and foods.
Traveling involves deliberately moving away from that which is familiar; for some, this alone is enough to keep them firmly on their couches. Yet learning to feel comfortable in different environments, surrounded by strangers, and eating new foods are all wonderful ways to experience the world firsthand. When kids dive into new adventures, they not only learn about the lives of others, but their own likes and dislikes, too. It's not about loving every single experience, but simply being open in the first place. That attitude will remain long after they've returned home and continue to serve them well as they grow.
May 2011, Vancouver, BC
3. Makes the world outside the front door both larger and smaller.
We truly believe travel fosters compassion as well as a healthy respect for this world and the people in it. When we take a trip with our kids, whether it's for a day or several weeks, we are showing them our way of life is but one of a myriad--and that's completely okay because we weren't created to be the same! I really wanted to stress this point because, lately, I've seen a lot of ignorance about what's right or wrong regarding how various families choose to function on this planet. It's clear to me that many of these people haven't walked outside in awhile (or read a book, or used Google), and seem to be comfortable with their narrow notions of how things "should" be. My husband and I can't stand that mentality, so we refuse to foster it in our children. When we take them on the road, God's creation (and His people) become tangible and real, rather than theoretical and nameless.
February 2013, Oxnard, CA
4. Encourages the family to unplug from technology and acknowledge the beauty of reality.
I've noticed that when I spend an extended amount of time online, I tend to feel incredibly drained. Because I've reached information overload, my body and mind become fatigued. Conversely, when I make the effort to unplug and come back to my real life, everything shifts back into alignment. I remember how blessed and beautiful my life truly is, away from the shenanigans of cyberspace. Our kids are young, now, but we're trying to ensure that they take frequent breaks from technology and spend time outside and/or using their imaginations, especially while we're on the road. Sure, we have a portable DVD player with us (a blessing on long rides in the car!), but we balance that out with longer periods of outdoor activities when we reach our destination. This also ensures that Mom and Dad take breaks from cell phones, laptops, and iPads, too. We need it just as much, if not more than--the kids.
May 2011, Victoria, BC
5. Makes lasting memories (of course!)
More so than my other points, this one in particular resonates with me. Vacations were a rarity in my family growing up, but the memories of the trips we were able to take are still so precious. The sense excitement and adventure never went away. Add to that the fact that I married a man with the same passion for exploration as I, and, well, our kids don't stand a chance! :) As challenging as traveling with children often is, the effort is more than worth what my husband and I get in return. Not only do we get to share the world with our sweet babes, but also the memories that allow us to continually relive each and every special moment. It doesn't get any better than that.
May 2011, Crater Lake National Park
Do you travel with your children? If so (or if not), why? Please let me know in the comments--I'd love to hear from you! :)