When I became pregnant with my first child, I heard over and over again how my wanderlust ways would have to come to an end. I knew my love for travel would not subside once my daughter was born and I would find a way to continue traveling with her in tow. And I did! It’s unfortunate that so many parents and parents-to-be feel that once they have children, their traveling days are over. I promise they don’t have to end, and there are great things that come along with traveling with kids. Here are some reasons I travel with my kids and some good changes I’ve experienced since doing so:
You are forced to slow down and notice the small things
The biggest change I noticed on my first trip with my older daughter was that I wasn’t moving as fast as I usually did. At first, I was a little annoyed because I wanted to get out and see as much as possible; I had a checklist and needed to cross everything off. I soon realized a lot of my travel was exactly that, just checking things off my list but not really taking it in. Because I couldn’t move as fast with my daughter, I started traveling deeper. Furthermore, because of their vantage points, children see things I don’t and are always pointing them out for me. An example of this was when we were on the beach in Phuket. My younger daughter was crawling in the sand and noticed some baby crabs walking along the shoreline. We would have totally missed this had she not pointed it out. My older girl and I definitely enjoyed watching them go in and out of their shells.
You learn more
“What is that?” “What are they doing?” “Why?” Those are just a few of my daughters’ favorite questions. I don’t know about your kids, but mine will not take “I don’t know” for an answer. I’ve learned to love this; I learn more since I am forced to get the answers to their questions.
You meet more people
Children are natural icebreakers! I have engaged in conversations with so many more people than I normally would have because of my girls. Sometimes the conversation starts just by someone giving them a compliment or because my oldest says hi to everyone. Once this happens, the floodgates open and the conversation continues. This has often led to us finding out about a cool place or nice restaurant in the city we are visiting we otherwise would not have known about.
Your children will easily adapt to different situations
No car, we have to take a tuk tuk? No forks, we must use chopsticks? No traditional bed, we have to sleep on the floor? No problem! My girls know about different modes of transportation, different foods (my oldest is far from a picky eater) and know things won’t always be as they are at home and that’s OK. I know travel is making a positive impact on their personalities, outlooks on the world and even their behavior.
Your children will learn so much
I am a firm believer that most things learned are taught outside of the classroom, and travel is a great teacher. Even at the age of 2, my older daughter has learned that there are many different types of people in the world who all look very different. She knows and understands there are different languages spoken and different foods served based on where you live. She doesn’t have negative preconceived notions about people who are different from her, and in fact, she has plenty examples of many different types of people who have been kind to her.
If you haven’t taken a trip with your kids yet, go for it, the memories you create will last a lifetime!
Monet Hambrick is the writer behind The Traveling Child’s blog, which was created to inspire parents to travel the world with their kids and to provide tips to make it easier. She has traveled to five continents with her girls, who are 2 and 1. You can find her on online at www.thetravelingchild.co or on Instagram @thetravelingchild.