There are so many reasons to travel with kids, one being, believe it or not, it is more fun than traveling without them. Kids keep you focused on having fun and they don’t let you get bogged down with logistics. But traveling with your kids is so much more beneficial for them than anything else I can think of that you can do for them. Traveling transforms their education, it broadens their horizons and it gives them a thirst, a desire for “more” … more fun, more service, more education … and more travel.
Truth be told, until we purchased an RV we weren’t travelers, like, not at all. We didn’t have the money for hotels and restaurants and gas and activities. What we were was adventurers. So, we sought out a place to call home that had built-in adventure like snowboarding, kayaking, caving, and climbing. And then we took advantage of these activities daily.
You see, I’ve always had a fear of becoming the family that lived for the weekends, the family that sang TGIF and proclaimed a disdain for Mondays. I wanted every day to be filled with excitement and fun and family. I wanted Sundays to be filled with the same joy as Fridays. It was imperative that my kids learn that every day has the potential to be amazing, and to take full advantage of every opportunity. And, while I understand this may seem impossible to the masses, it’s exactly how we set up our lives.
And then, about five years ago, we started traveling to kayak competitions that spanned weekends … it became a bit of an ordeal to transport all 14 of us and all our gear around the state of Colorado, and leaving half of us behind wasn’t an option, because we are a family and we truly enjoy doing things as a family. So, naturally, we bought an RV to facilitate the travel aspect of our extreme endeavors!
Around the same time, we started homeschooling our kids. Mix RV ownership, homeschooling and an anti-sedentary life philosophy and inevitably you come up with a traveling family. And that’s exactly what we are today. I never could have ever anticipated how much of an impact travel would have on my family, but especially on my children.
I am now a firm believer in raising kids to be phenomenal travelers. Travel nurtures independence, a thirst for knowledge, an appreciation of adventure and a broad world view chock full of cultural awareness and diversity. Travel enables children to be introduced to new languages, new foods, new people and new environments. In short, travel encourages kids to step outside their little bubbles and open their hearts and minds to new perspectives.
It’s my experience that kids take to traveling much faster than the adults in their lives. That’s understandable though; kids simply need to pack their stuff. They have no baggage, no worries, no responsibilities, just possibilities.
If you need a little bit of reassurance that you won’t ruin your kids lives by taking them away from their friends, sports and electronics for a few weeks or more at a time, let me indulge you in a few of the benefits our kids, both young and older, have enjoyed.
Nothing teaches kids to roll with the punches than a road trip with “issues.” I remember this past March we were traveling to one our favorite spots, Moab, Utah, and our alternator died on a Friday evening, one hour before the local O’Reilly’s was closing. They, of course, didn’t have the part and had to order it. The bummer was that the part was not going to arrive until Tuesday and that pretty much scrapped our Moab trip as we had only allocated the weekend because we had an RV show to attend the following weekend in LA. We were stuck and there was absolutely nothing we could do to change that fact, so instead of being angry and upset, we Googled “adventures in Grand Junction, Colorado.” As a result, one of the things we found was Mount Garfield, a totally epic killer hike that when we reached the summit took our breath away. Truth be told, silver linings are everywhere. Travel teaches your children to roll with things.
Traveling is the single most amazing catalyst for family bonding I’ve ever found. You travel together, you have fun together, you deal with “issues” together and you make decisions together. Involving the kids, even, in some of the itinerary planning will not only give them a sense of control, but it also makes them feel included. RV’ing is our mode of travel and I can’t tell you how many times we will be barreling down the road toward our destination when one of the kids will find something along the way that peaks their interests. We’ve pulled off the highway and detoured to go to water parks, to Lake Michigan, to museums and even to see friends and family. Before we started traveling, I thought we were close, but we are closer now than I ever thought possible!
I have pretty come to the conclusion that kids really don’t care what their parents do for a living. They don’t care about the furniture in their home or the cars the family drives. Chances are, they won’t even remember any of these things. … these are not things that they will cause them to smile years down the road. Spending time together as a family does that. And, for us, traveling is one of the best ways we’ve found to ensure time spent together. We’ve created so many outrageous and amazing memories with our kids that we can be heard just howling laughing for no “apparent” reason. Stories are referenced throughout every single time, “do you remember the time that dad …” or “Remember when I …” and yes, we all remember, I mean how could you not? Our legacy lives in the memories of our children and hopefully we are accomplishing our goal of teaching our children to live a life focused on joy and service instead of financial success and productivity.
So go ahead! Plan a trip! Be it a weekend, a week or several months, you, your kids, and your family will benefit in more ways than you could ever imagine! And really, there are activities and trips for families in every financial stratosphere, Check out Holiday travel deals here!