10 Reasons to Travel with Kids
We often get asked why we are uprooting our lives and traveling the country for a year. There are too many reasons that I can't put them all in one short answer, so I usually pick only one, and it's based on who is asking the question. I want people to relate to why we are choosing travel to strengthen our family so I've decided to give you 10 reasons to travel with your kids in the hopes it will encourage you to choose to travel more with your kids, because with 10 reasons, how can you say no?
1. Family Bonding
The average household spends 3 hours or less together each day as a family. We are an over- scheduled, stressed out society that tend to live parallel lives under the same roof, not a close knit family unit. We want more than that. Spending most of our days and nights together will be a struggle sometimes, but overall I know it will bring us closer together. Our lives will become intertwined in a way that can't be unraveled.
2. Expanding Horizons
I took a gap year in college and lived in Italy doing service work. That experience expanded my horizons and shaped much of who I am today. When kids get the chance to see other places and cultures, it opens up opportunities for ideas they'd never thought of before. It can shape their career choices, lifestyle and where they chose to live.
3. Truth & Tolerance
Despite how progressive we think we are in 2012, we as a collective society, still struggle with stereotypes. Travel exposes us to the truth about cultures, regions and ethnicities, wherever we go. The quickest way to teach our kids tolerance is to expose them to others' traditions and focus on our commonalities, not our differences.
4. Life Skills
There are tasks that my kids would probably never learn if it weren't for this trip. From maintaining an RV, to interviewing people and editing video, my kids are learning valuable skills that they wouldn't have had the opportunity to without full-time travel.
5. Money Matters
Traveling has become a great teacher about money. My kids are learning about family finances on the road, and how to budget their allowance. They are learning to live on less, and distinguish between “wants” and “needs”.
6. Increased Health
We are using travel as an opportunity to taste other cuisines and eat healthier. Our busy lives at home were an easy excuse to not exercise, and eat out often. Now we are cooking at home and walking everywhere we can.
7. Real Education
Learning history in school is just theoretical knowledge of dates and facts. Being able to experience and walk around historical landmarks will bring history alive and make it relevant to my children's lives.
8. Independence and Free Thinking
I want my kids to think for themselves, and not follow “the norm” because it's what everyone else is doing. Travel has definitely taken me out of my comfort zone, and makes me face my fears. It challenges the “status quo” in my life and makes me think at higher levels than I've had to in the past. I want it to do the same for them as well.
9. Charity & Goodwill
Service work can be done in your hometown. You can give to charity simply by writing out a check; you don’t need travel to be effective. What I want is for my kids to see the goodwill and humanity of strangers who will go out of their way to help others. A fellow traveler shared via Facebook that they were explaining their adventure to someone while they were filling up their RV with gas. The stranger was so touched by their story that he bought them 10 gallons of gas and wished them luck on their journey. That's the human spirit at its best.
10. Spirit of America
I desperately want to travel to far off countries, but I feel impressed to start with our own country first. Travel in your homeland builds nationalism, and gives children a sense of where they came from. The U.S. has had some tough years, and I want to recapture the Spirit of America and what makes it great. That spirit will be found in the people we meet and the experiences we have as we travel through this great land.
As you can see, I'm passionate about how travel can enhance your family's life and give you valuable experiences. I know extended or full-time travel isn't for everyone. I'm simply encouraging you to do more of it. Hold off on buying that new big screen, or upgrading your car, and plan a family trip instead. Get lost in some small or grand adventure. Only then will you feel truly found.
Do you enjoy traveling with your children? Have you found ways to incorporate teachable moments into that travel?