My husband and I met nearly ten years ago. Very quickly into our relationship I knew he was “my guy” for tons of reasons… but seriously, it was our love for traveling that we really bonded over. Fast forward ten years: we have shared tons of adventures and now we are looking to pass our passion for seeing the world on to our two very young children.
These days when I am feeling in a rut or a little stir crazy (which, let’s be honest… being home with the littles all day happens a lot) I hop on Pinterest and work on planning my family’s next adventure! Also, I am a bit OCD and find great joy in list-making. Pinterest is definitely one of my happy places! A couple months back I was feeling my mortality and feared that time was passing by too quickly. So I sat down and made a list (see, I told you). This was a list of all of the trips I wanted my family to take before the kids graduate from high school. 15 trips to be exact…with a couple of alternates that I couldn’t squeeze in. Then I organized that list to best coordinate the places with the ages of the kids… And THEN my Pinterest travel board was underway, ready to pull me out of the deepest funk.
So, what is it that excites me so about traveling? It can be really expensive (especially some of the trips on our list!) It can be really difficult and exhausting (driving or flying with a 1 and a 3 year old… Crazy Town, right?) It can be downright unnerving (nothing like finding yourself in a rougher part of town and not knowing exactly where you are!!) With all of THAT, why?!?
7 Reasons Traveling With Kids is Worth It!
1. Planning is half the fun.
Clearly I am a planner, but I can turn a week long trip into a year long adventure. Not only do I love scouring Instagram for tips and suggestions for where to go, what to eat, and what to do… it also creates an opportunity to talk to family and friends about their experiences and advice (and interesting topics that I bring to the conversation are always appreciated by this quasi-introvert!) My husband and I also share in the planning as I enjoy creating the itinerary and he enjoys mapping it. Needless to say, the anticipation and creation of the trip creates nearly as much entertainment as the actual vacation… well almost.
2. We love learning new things!
In every place we explore, whether it’s our first visit or tenth, my husband and I find ourselves taking it all in through the eyes of our children. Noticing things we’d have entirely missed without them. We visited Old Town Sacramento a month ago on our way home from visiting family in Chico. We frequently stop here for lunch and to stretch our legs, and I have walked around the cute riverfront western town more times than I can count, but I hadn’t been to the California State Railroad Museum since I was a kid. It was really cool! And seeing how my children loved it and learned from it made it REALLY COOL! For me, visiting a new place is like adding a new piece to the puzzle. As familiar as I may be with the area from movies, books, studying it in history, etc. going there brings it to life. And seriously, the kids are just sponges, soaking in everything they see, hear, taste, smell, and feel! How much richer their childhood is with these amazing experiences.
Ok, this really should be number 1! One of our FAVORITE parts of traveling is trying the regional and recommended cuisine! And the joy we get from this starts in the planning! We love reading recommendations of where and what to eat and drooling over food pics months before our trip! Our kids also get excited by the new foods that they get to try and view food as part of the adventure… and we find this translates to better eating at home! Win/win!
4. We think exposing our kids to different cultures is incredibly important.
Our world is a beautiful diverse rainbow of views, languages, accents, abilities, skin/eye/hair colors, traditions, faiths, histories, FOODS, customs, etc. We want our children to embrace and celebrate difference, rather than reject or fear it. NUF SAID.
5. Being unnerved teaches us how to handle different situations and shows us to be more aware and less afraid.
By nature I am an anxious person. There have been many times I have been uncomfortable in places when I was traveling, but upon reflection I wouldn’t change (most of) them. These situations have taught me how to be aware and on guard both while traveling and in my own city. Though I don’t enjoy the anxiety these moments bring, knowing that I am checked in and aware brings me more confidence in keeping myself safe. I want my children to have this confidence too. Traveling will help teach them.
6. We want our kids to prefer experiences to things.
Let me start by saying, our kids have a ton of toys. More than we would like. Toys are great and necessary, yadda yadda yadda. It’s true… but between the grandparents, aunts and uncles, and friends, Christmas and birthdays bring in plenty of toys! So from us, there will be more experiences and adventures!
7. Despite the frequent visits to Crazy Town, with a bit of planning, traveling with littles can also be a TON OF FUN!
Seeing Mickey Mouse, flying on an airplane, going to a new park, tasting _______ (fill in the blank) for the first time, through a child’s eyes is amazing! And totally makes up for the tantrums, diapers, potty stops, etc. You might be completely exhausted at the end of each day, but it’s totally worth it! 🙂