We just passed our one year on the road. What better time to share our top 10 reasons to travel with kids. We know it’s not for everyone but perhaps one of these reasons will change your mind and open your child’s!
1. Traveling with your children is like traveling for the very first time.
You see everything through a totally fresh, brand spanking new set of eyes. Its mind blowing. You have never seen a wave crash against the sand until your toddler squeals in excitement when his toes disappear in the sand.
2. You meet new people and friends daily.
Traveling with kids breaks down so many barriers, both language and cultural. We have been invited into homes for family meals, shared taxis to destinations for a quarter of the price, been allowed into areas reserved for VIP’s and so much more. They will be aware that a smile and gesture of kindness will be reciprocated.
3. You will learn so much more about the culture of a country.
People really do open their hearts when they meet another child or family. Barriers are down and they are keen to teach you and show you how they live their daily lives. We have learnt so much about what values different country’s place on education, family, love, health and more through our travels. Its fascinating.
4. You will forget what the latest scooter, dinosaur, iPad accessory you need to get for your child.
Sticks and cups and sand and mud and trees will take on a whole new value for you and your family. Finding entertainment in what is around them is key to building imagination and traveling is such a great opportunity for your kids to take a look around and find entertainment in what is at hand. Or turn into “Mogli” in Oscars case.
5. Picky eaters? Fussy foodies? Go traveling.
Nothing but nothing opens up a child’s mind to food then sitting next to another child eating fish and rice. Gasp! Oscar had zero to no interest in solid food at 8 months until we visited our friends in Sweden and all of a sudden cottage cheese was the latest superfood.
6. Challenging obstacles like potty training and swimming will miraculously be resolved.
I have been dreading teaching Oscar to swim, my main fear being he will hate it and I will be so so sad. Turns out a visit to a local waterpark and the thrill of chasing a 4 year old girl was too much to resist and the armbands were on and legs kicking. 2 weeks later he is quite happy to swim around and get in and out of the pool totally un aided.
7. You’re children will empower you and help you conquer your fears.
I am not a huge fan of snakes. No scratch that. I do not want to be anywhere near them, touch them, think about them, see them. No, no, no. We were in Mexico City recently and one of their amazing parks had a petting area set up by a local reptile foundation. We got to touch lots of snakes and lizards. I was scared, but hell I wasn’t going to show it! Here is a totally different example. I am getting increasingly scared of heights but I really wanted to toast a marshmallow on a volcano. I mean I guess a campfire just isn’t enough for me. So when we were in Guatemala I decided to hike a live volcano. I am not the fittest person in the world but I did it. It was one of the most magical days of my life before and after Oscar. The sheer feeling of accomplishment was life changing. I really felt I could climb any mountain after that. Pardon the music reference.
8. Travel is a nature 101.
No book in the world will teach your child how cool it is to shell a pea, ride a horse or see there first Macau parrot. It’s hard to explain the feeling of fulfillment when you see your child experience these things for the first time. I mean I thought the Macau’s were awesome but the video of Oscar’s first encounter goes a little way to illustrate my point. Mammie look! Wow!
9. Your children will be more confident using language and communicating.
Every child is different and I’m no expert but I see the difference in my child and his peers at playgroups and the such. For one he uses Spanish, English and Croatian to communicate and all of these before the age of two. He will point, gesture and tug until he has got his point across or got the toy that he wants! Getting himself understood in 3 corners of the world has definitely played a part in this. Seeing other children speak another language and getting them to understand you to pass a shovel or kick the ball is a real eye opener. Everyone is different yet strangely the same. Imagine that!
10. Your kids will never forget it and neither will you.
Taking time out from not just your job but your regular environment is crucial. You will see your kids interact with you and their environment in a different way and vice versa. You are spending time with only them and whatever activity you have chosen is probably something you have thought they will enjoy and this is so special. Your kids will feel that. You will get to enjoy them in a whole different way, not as a daily burden but as a fun, curious and more often than not hilarious travel buddy. Now go make some incredible memories. I know my family still talk about how I puked in San Marco square in Venice after a pistachio ice cream with great gusto. It was the fact I managed to clear the whole square of pigeons that really cracks them up?! I only remember the gondolas and the ice cream. I also for the record still love pistachio ice – cream and it always makes me think of Venice 31 years ago!