As we get ready for our next family adventure, I think back to when I decided that I wanted to expose our children to different places and things. About 4 years ago we traveled to New Orleans and when we walked into the hotel lobby and my oldest who was 6 at the time said ‘ooh, this hotel is fancy’. It was the Roosevelt Hotel and indeed did look ‘fancy’ due to its historical nature and intricate ornate design. It struck me though, that even at his age he noticed and thought enough of it to communicate that ‘this doesn’t look like what I’m used to seeing’.
We had really only just begun traveling with the kids beyond visiting family, but right then and there I said, I want to continue to expose them to new things, new people and new places. And not just the ‘fancy’ places. Since then we have had the opportunity to take the kids to a number of places including Haiti where their father was born and raised. They have learned so much during these adventures. And while children don’t have to travel to learn these things, the experiences that teach these lessons while traveling will provide stories and memories that will last a lifetime. Here are 7 things travel has taught our kids.
- It teaches them compassion – Seeing how other people live, including those that are less fortunate than them has increased their care and concern for others.
- It teaches them to adapt – When traveling, we don’t always have access to things we know and are comfortable with. They learn to be in the moment and to adjust to their surroundings.
- It teaches them to step out of their comfort zone and embrace new adventures– While still early in our family travel, our kids have had many firsts while traveling. Whether it’s skiing, snorkeling, camping, or hiking, they have learned to expand their horizons and try new things.
- It teaches them patience – let’s face it…kids (and many adults) hate waiting. Whether it’s for the food to arrive or for the line to see a popular attraction. When traveling, waiting is pretty much unavoidable at some point. While they may not like it, they have learned they must embrace it.
- It teaches them that anyone can be friends – nowhere has this been more apparent to me than during our travel. While spending hours at the pool on one trip, the kids made fast friends with the children of another family and we ended up spending the following day together visiting a local attraction.
- It teaches them to dream – Since we began traveling with the kids, they have begun suggesting places they would like to visit. While I don’t know that we will get to some of them anytime soon, I love that our family travel makes them WANT to visit even more places.
- It teaches them to cherish each moment and each other – When we’re in our daily lives, it is often go go go and so easy to take family time and each other for granted. Traveling for vacation is one of the few times where we spend a significant amount of time together without the pressures of school, work or other priorities. We learn so much about each other during these times. The kids often reminisce about this thing or that thing we did or saw on vacation and for at least those moments, there is no bickering or rivalry – just the bond of shared experiences and good memories.