As parents, we share so much of what we love with our children. Not only because we personally enjoy those things, but because we believe there is a benefit to being exposed to them. It’s no different with traveling. If you loved traveling before your children were born, you might be wondering how soon you can pick it back up. If you’re a new and curious traveler, same thing but with getting started.
The answer? Now. You can start planning now. It doesn’t matter their age. Really. You can start planning today.
There are a lot of resources on the logistics of how to travel with little ones (and I’ll definitely talk about that from time to time), but here I want to talk about the why. Why take your children with you on your world travels?
Here are just a handful of our favorite reasons:
01. The World Is Their Classroom
Imagine the world as a living classroom of all you model at home, as well as real life experiences you simply cannot create, no matter how hard you try. Everything becomes an opportunity for them to be exposed to something new or to deepen their learning and curiosities. You can talk about what it’s like to live in another country, have everyone around you speak another language, hike up a mountain, fly in an airplane – or you can experience it.
02. First-Hand Diversity
To travel is to not just experience diversity, it’s to live diversity. It’s hard not to understand differences – and if approached with an open mind – not to appreciate them as well. And once children come home ready to incorporate what they’ve picked up on their travels they’re already thinking globally – even if it’s based on travels within your own country – and respecting the world and people around them.
03. Strengthened Empathy
Oh, this one is beautiful. If you are looking for opportunities to help your child grow up caring about others, putting themselves in someone else’s shoes and respecting diversity, then traveling is a great start. Kids who understand global diversity are armed with the powerful idea that there are many ways to live, many ways to find happiness, and many ways to share our world.
04. More Confidence
Imagine what growing up looks like when you’ve already conquered big adventures (traveling itself!) or simply just knowing the world is so much larger than your neighborhood, school, family or town. What you experience in any of those one settings isn’t your entire worldview. It’s far from it. You aren’t defined by those things – you see yourself as having so many more experiences and layers. It enriches you as a person, and with that, you gain confidence to face challenges or adversity in life.
05. Expanded Creativity + Interests
Traveling is ripe with exposure to potential new interests and ideas. You are immersed in different surroundings, you experience things you can’t imagine, and you have time to contemplate these things (maybe no matter what, maybe just in transit). Once you transition back home, it’s easy to find yourself creating the best of both worlds – trying to merge where you live and where you’ve traveled.
Personally, I want my child to find happiness – her happiness – with a strong sense of self and the beauty of the world. Traveling is just one of many paths that may lead to these outcomes, but it’s certainly one of the most impressionable.
So this all begs the question, why not travel with your children?