As someone who works in the travel industry it is no secret that I believe travel is extremely important. With that said I want to lay out some of my reasons for this belief, specifically the belief that family travel is important. I read an article the other day about the amount of money that is spent on toys, games, and other things for kids in our society and the numbers were staggering. We spend a huge amount of money on these things and in many cases the things we purchase are not truly needed or wanted by the kids, not to mention they contribute to the clutter in our homes. Well, that last part may just be in my home, but some people can probably relate. Anyways, as children grow into young adults and then become adults themselves I think as parents and grandparents we should be filling them up on memories and experiences more so than filling them up on material possessions. So, here are a few reasons I think family travel is an extremely important part of the development of children and of the family as a whole.
Travel Brings Families Closer Together
No matter how you look at it, when you travel as a family you are forced to spend time as a family. Now, some of you may be turned off right there...just kidding! When you travel you are with each other and if you’re lucky you may be without internet access...even better! These are the times when families are forced to come together. I know for my family, both growing up and now that I have a family of my own, when we travel we converse more so than we do at home. Just that fact alone is going to be extremely important in causing different family members to become closer to each other. Travel can also cause some hardships whether it be a travel delay or an argument over where to eat dinner, but these are often times when you end up making the best of a bad situation and that in itself can add some positive family dynamics and experiences that you may always remember.
Travel Is an Educational Experience
No matter where you travel just the process of traveling itself is an educational experience. Give your young children a certain amount of spending money and have them create a budget for souvenirs, how about that real world application from math class. Or take a day out of your trip to discover the history and heritage of the area you are visiting. Or taking some time to visit the local science or art museum. Really, any destination can have an educational aspect and when you do it as a family everyone is learning. Just the travel process in general is a real world learning experience. When you travel kids learn how to go through security at an airport, how to rent a car, how to check into a hotel or a multitude of other things. All of those things are things they’ll need to do at a later point in their life, and that sounds like a learning experience to me. And, in the the process of learning on vacation you are still bringing your family closer together which I’ve already mentioned is a positive byproduct of traveling.
Travel Creates Lifelong Memories
One of the most important reasons that I am a huge fan of traveling with my family is the lifelong memories we are creating. I can honestly say I don’t have a meaningful memory about a toy, video game, or anything else like that from my childhood. But I can remember like it was yesterday the time my family spent together in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee going to Dollywood and driving a convertible around because our car broke down on the way back from the east coast. I have great memories of when we went to Southern California with my family, including my grandparents, and visited Knott’s Berry Farm and ate seafood on the California coast. I can remember in my childhood going with my grandparents for a week one summer to San Antonio, TX and visiting all of the missions on the Mission Trail, ending at the Alamo. I could go on and on with other memories and that is the reason I travel with my family and my kids. The memories we are creating as a family will not go away for me or for them.
Now, don’t get me wrong as you read this article. I’m not saying to stop celebrating the holidays or birthdays or to quit giving gifts, but just think for yourself all of the positives that come from traveling with your family. What are some ways you and your family may can find a happy medium between those two areas? I know for my family we have found a way to travel with our kids and it is the most satisfying part of my life. We took our oldest son to Disney World when he was 18 months old. Many people said, “He’s not going to remember that, why are you wasting your money and time?” Well now I tell those people this story. When we went back to Disney the next year we were watching the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show. As the show started our son started pointing off to the right of the train station and saying “Choo Choo”. You see about five minutes into the show a train comes in from the right and Mickey and his friends get off. It was at that moment I realized, my wife or I hadn’t said anything about a train, he remembered that from the year before. And sure enough in five minutes when the train rolled in he had a look on his face that I’ll never forget.
That is why we travel with our family, and why I think you should too.
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