Most families with young children put off traveling until their kids are older. When asked why, most say they are waiting until their children are old enough to “appreciate” it. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the reasoning behind timing certain places and trips for certain ages, but, in my opinion, traveling abroad as a whole should not be put off.
People often ask us how and why we do it.
The “How” we do it is simple. We save up some money, but a ticket, make some plans and GO.
The “Why” we do it is so much more important. Our answer to the question “why” is not what you might think. It is not simply because we, as parents, want to travel (although we do), it is not because it is easy to travel with kids (because we all know that’s not the case), and it is not because our kids will appreciate the experience (but sometimes they do appreciate it, and that’s great too).
So here’s our answer:
Travel is formative.
Although our kids may not be old enough to remember the details of the trips we take them on, traveling abroad and trying new things is part of what is shaping them into the people they will become.
I remember learning in nursing school about childhood development and I was always amazed by the statistics and information. Children are constantly forming connections and pathways in their minds that will have long lasting impacts on them. Visiting new places, meeting new people, seeing different cultures and traditions and trying new foods: those are some of the things that I want to influence my children.
Travel makes memories.
No one ever remembers that time you didn’t go on vacation to save money and just stayed home and watched some movies. We want to give our children memories to talk about for years to come.
Even though a young child might not remember all of the details of your travel experience; there will be some memories that stick out to them. For example, our son still remembers the crazy bumpy train ride we took back to the capital of Myanmar from the Golden Rock. We still laugh and talk about it. These are the kind of memories that will live long beyond a quiet night at home. And these are the kind of memories we travel for.
Travel creates a bond.
it goes without saying that you create a bond between you and the people/country that you are traveling in, but you also create bond with those you are traveling with.
There is so much that you experience when you travel: the good, the bad and the ugly. No matter which of those categories your trip falls into you will be bonded together with your travelmates as a result of sharing those experiences. So why not create those deep bonds with your family. Your kids will not only grow as people, grow a vast amount of memories, but they will also grow in depth of their relationship with you.
So that’s the “why” for us.
What is your main reason for traveling as a family?