Just as travel provides a treasure trove of experiences we often look back in the future, doing the same with the family is as rewarding.
From the moment that you imagine traveling together and planning your itinerary to making it a reality and concluding your journey on a return flight, such experience can be among the most satisfying experience you’ll share with the family.
Sure, it’s expensive, children are moody and there are plenty of considerations — picking a kid-friendly hotel or arranging airline bassinet for baby’s comfort that could raise tensions within the traveling party. But travel creates opportunities for families to form stronger bonds and every family member will benefit from the new experiences. But this is just the beginning; let us together find out why traveling with family truly can be a life-changing experience.
More opportunity for families to spend time together
Travel allows each family member to take time away from everyday distractions, like children with their homework or video games, and parents from their respective day jobs. This means more uninterrupted time together, take time more casually than the usual frenetic pace at home, office or school.
Sharing time on the road creates stories to be remembered and told in the distant future. From simple moments like ordering meals to truly unforgettable activities such as a day at the theme park or visit to a museum can become cherished moments. Even though landscapes, people and cultures change, the family remains the same unit throughout the journey.
Travel is a great platform for children’s learning
Children who join their parents in their travel learn about the world in real-time, enhance their social skills and benefit their academic development, studies say.
Travel teaches both children and adults about exploration and broadens their horizons as they are exposed to a new environment and culture. Children are also thought to absorb knowledge more effectively through experiential learning as the first-hand experience in things such as tasting new dishes, experience local customs and even speak a few phrases of the local language. Travel also teaches children better about realities — flight attendants must stay at different places as they work, some merchants sell their goods at floating markets, and global warming is depriving certain animals of their habitat.
What would parents say if children ask about beggars asking for food or money in the street or how the Pyramid of Giza was built? Not only children will learn, but parents will also be on their toes in their effort to provide a comprehensive explanation to an inquisitive mind.
Why you need (or do not need) to apply for a visa when visiting a certain country? Why do you need to take off your shoes when you visit temples or stay at a Japanese traditional house? Why are flights delayed? How to read a map, pitch a tent or use a compass?
These are questions children don’t normally ask when they’re home or even when they read them in books or observe such practices on television.
Learning is not only limited to children. Parents also get to know new things while on the road. This includes talking to tour guides, flight attendants, hotel concierge staff or local people.
Travel expands social awareness
Holidays with the family are a great way to expand a young child’s understanding of the world around them. As they step outside of their town, city or country, children start to witness how other societies live and get the opportunity to communicate and engage with other people.
Travel sometimes does a reality check of how fortunate the traveling family is compared to nomadic tribes or merchants who make a living selling souvenirs for tourists. Children will then understand at an early age about things they may only learn as adults if they didn’t experience such journeys.
Travel provides families the opportunity to relax and unwind
As parents want a break from office, field or domestic duties, children also deserve a break from school or mundane tasks at home. Family vacations, if planned well, are a wonderful opportunity to relieve stress and have some fun. Family members can enjoy a cruise, hang out by the pool or enjoy the sun and sands.
The trip should strike a balance to allow relaxation without getting boring. An early morning walk by the beach, a hearty meal, frolicking in the snow or receiving a massage can be elements of such family journeys.
Traveling with family enriches life
There’s a reason why many people are preaching on spending on experiences rather than material things. Travel seems to accomplish such life goals of excitement, contentment and better appreciation of things around us — without having to own them.
Families will find travel as a great avenue to look at perspectives in life. During the the journey such as waiting at the flight departure gates, in the middle of a road trip, or sitting at the hotel lounge, family members can engage in small talk about the future (education, career, etc.), hear concerns about home, finances and other things that may be awkward to strike a conversation while in the midst of daily routines at home.
Holiday activities such as playing board games, hiking and picnic at parks, or pitching tent and fishing at a lakeside location also promotes greater appreciation about being together as a family.
Traveling with family creates memories worth remembering
Did we mention already that family travels help create happy memories? Well, maybe not all aspects of the journey may be happy: finger-pointing and blaming when things go wrong (cannot locate the hotel immediately, getting left behind by the shuttle bus or mistake in choosing airline seats) can happen. But in the bigger picture, these tense moments can help family members to form stronger bonding and support each other, thereby relegating such disputes a mere footnote to an otherwise successful trip.
On the lighter side, every photo taken together in front of attractive backdrops will serve as an enduring evidence (thanks to technology) both children and parents love to reminisce.
Time passes so quickly. Children grow up, get jobs and start their own families, parents retire and experience ‘empty nest syndrome‘. Organizing a family trip may not be financially viable anymore, and scheduling a family trip together may be more difficult than ever as commitments pile up.
Do not waste the opportunity to list down your travel bucket list while you are financially capable, healthy and kids at their age of curiosity and still qualify for discounted fares and entry fees for rides, galleries, and museums.
The return for this ‘investment’ is worth it.