Adults love to travel for lots of reasons. Some crave seeing the most exotic places in the world, while others are happy just to get out of the house for a few days. Some want to climb mountains and surf waves, while others want to drink hot cocoa in a ski lodge or get a tan on the beach.
But what about kids? Kids love to travel, too! Sure, no two children are exactly alike, but here are 6 reasons that kids should travel.
Saying Yes to Adventure
Kids can be full of bravado when they’re in their comfort zones yet shy when faced with opportunities for a real adventure. When you travel with your ids, you give them lots of those opportunities, most of which they would never encounter back at home, whether it’s feeding an animal they’ve only seen on TV or eating something unusual. They may not be down for everything right away, but the more adventures you offer them, the more they’ll start saying, “Yes!”
Learning About New Things
When you take your kids on a trip, they learn about all sorts of things they’d never come across back at home. For one thing, they’ll learn more about the realities of life, including how airline travel works, how to stay in a hotel, and how to navigate unfamiliar places. Kids also get to be exposed to parts of history and culture that they’ll learn about in school, making it easier to learn when they’re back home again.
Pressing the Reset Button
Traveling can help many of us—including little ones—work through day-to-day issues. Whether it’s the vacation effect or some other reason, a delightful travel experience can often be helpful in pressing a reset button. This isn’t to say that traveling should replace counseling for kids who have suffered from trauma; on the contrary, traveling should only be a supplemental form of any type of serious therapy, and only after your child’s counselor has approved it. But if your child seems like she’s stuck in a rut, seeing a new place might be just the trick.
Learning to Be Patient
When you’re traveling, there’s a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, long lines, and lengthy rides in planes, trains, and automobiles. When you take your kids on frequent trips, they learn how to occupy their time when they have to wait, and this is a skill that will come in handy throughout their lives. Kids who travel more will also gain experience in dealing with unforeseen circumstances–another great skill that will serve them well as they grow into adults. Missed flight connections, lost luggage, bad weather, and last-minute-cancellations can be seen as opened doors to new opportunities rather than major bummers.
Learning About Responsibility
While you’re on a trip, give your kids different responsibilities to show them how to be leaders. You can assign them roles like navigator, interpreter, recycler, sign-spotter, landmark spotter, trip narrator, or taste taster. In a hotel, you can ask your kids to check to see if you’ve left anything behind, perhaps leaving something non-essential behind on purpose to see if they catch it and make sure they are being tidy and not leaving anything of their own behind like waste or toys. Sure, you can incorporate these roles into their daily lives, but there’s something about being away on a vacation that gets young ones more engaged.
Learning How People are Similar (Instead of Different)
It’s natural for kids to see how people are different from us, rather than focusing on how people are similar. Taking children to see different cultures will give them insight into a more global way of thinking, which can help them when they are given leadership opportunities later in life. Children who never travel and are never exposed to other cultures may struggle when faced with interacting with people they see as different.