Children will change the way you travel. This is a proven fact, one that each family will be discovering for themselves during their very first trip with kids in tow. And although kids may change the way you travel, having a family shouldn’t postpone or keep you from traveling. In fact, traveling with kids of all ages, is one of the most enjoyable ways to see the beautiful countries our world has to offer.
Stepping out of your typical lifestyle with all its bells and whistles, can be a big step. There are many obstacles standing in your way, from downsizing to school lessons, and making an income on the road. Planning and preparation will help you break down some of your barriers, but others are likely to only dissipate with trial and error, as each family will have their own unique way of traveling together. Still, reading the stories of other travelers, joining community forums and using the web as a resource will help you along the way.
Families all across the globe have been trading their bricks and rooftops for RV’s, sailboats, backpacks, bikes and plane tickets alike. Finding that home can be any combination of family and location, and that traveling with the kids, both young and throughout the teens is both enjoyable and beneficial. So before you put your trip on hold, or prolong your planning process- consider these 8 great benefits of extended travel with children in tow.
8 great benefits of extended travel with young kids in tow:
- Building close bonds with your family-
Many families today cannot honestly say they have a strong family bond, holding them together each day. Siblings are usually disconnected, as are Mom and Dad. Fighting, bickering and quarrels are the standard norm. Life on the road can be the exact opposite. When families emerge themselves in long term travel, family bonds are built, strengthened and repaired by spending time together free of typical stress and burdens. Life exempt from the minute details of aligning schedules, making time for family meals, and coordinating work and home, is easy to navigate and enjoyable even in it’s rough spots.
- Home becomes wherever you are together-
Extended travel will force your family to embrace a new idea of ‘home’. Home will now be everywhere you are all together. Each new place you visit, will be your home for a specific period of time, and that will allow your children to know that no matter what- home is where the family is, not a building in the city or farm in the countryside, everywhere and anywhere can be your home, as long as you’re all together.
- Raising well rounded children-
Forget about raising well rounded students, children who have traveled extensively are well rounded citizens. They’re knowledgeable about places and people they’ve encountered throughout their travels and the constant immersion into the different cultures of the places they’ve lived in or visited, help them understand this world on a global level rather than just locally. Giving your children this once in a lifetime opportunity to see the world through their eyes, at whatever age they may be, is a gift they will thank you for many time over.
- Learning to embrace the unfamiliar-
As travelers, your kids will understand and relate to people from around the world, because they’ve been brought up to accept differences and strive to understand the unfamiliar. By raising them in cultures vastly different than their own and also each other, is not only teaching them to accept people and things that are unfamiliar, but also giving them a social foundation they can use in the future to work, live and cooperate with people from different cultures in their adult lives.
- Remembering to be thankful-
Far too often we take our lives for granted. We expect more than we appreciate and as future generations are taught to do the same, the act of being thankful for what you have and what you’ve been given will soon be forgotten. Help foster the character traits of thankfulness and appreciation in your children by showing them that not everyone, everywhere is so fortunate. Seeing how locals live in many second and third world countries, as well as some place right in your own backyard, has become somewhat of a necessity in rearing children who are thankful for the lives they’ve been given and also appreciative to the people who have provided it for them.
- Building friendships around the world-
Imagine that everywhere you travel with your family, your kids will meet new friends, just by being kids. They’ll naturally flock to children in the area. Playing games, chasing each other, giggling and having fun are all things language barriers cannot keep contained. If socialization is a concern for your family, rest assured they’ll make friends wherever you go. As a matter of fact, can you imagine what it would be like as an adult to have childhood friends from each country you visited with your family?
- Education is everywhere
Giving your child the opportunity to live a life full of travel, will open doors to education most students only dream about. Personal experiences become the building blocks for further exploration and the pursuit of knowledge. Reading about the Grand Canyon or Mayan Temples is wonderful, but the opportunity to visit these places is actually quite amazing! Raising children with the spirit of adventure provides the child with a naturally dense sense of search and discovery. Whether seeking pleasure or treasure- knowledge will always be part of wherever they go and whatever they find.
- Taking time to enjoy the present-
Without modern day distractions, you’ll find much free needed time to enjoy spending together. Instead of being stuck at the office, you can enjoy hiking up to see your very first waterfall with your kids. And instead of thinking about work you need to get done at the office, you can think about how magnificent this natural beauty is and enjoy the fact that your kids are actually speechless. Taking time to enjoy the present is one thing many people take for granted. And it’s one of those things you may not realize you’ve lost until its already gone. Extended travel will clear your life of those meaningless distractions and fill it with quality experiences your family will cherish for years to come.
So regardless of if your family is taking a year sabbatical from the day to day grind or if you have just recently made the decision to make travel your life- consider all the wonderful benefits your children, yourself and your family as a whole will reap from making this big decision. Put aside fear and anxiety and instead of focusing on the negative endings of your list of endless hypothetical situation- consider what will happen if you don’t go instead. Take a mental note of exactly what your life is like now, and then think exactly what it will be like if you never stepped outside your box and experienced anything as great and as meaningful as an extended family trip.