Raising kids who love to travel is one of the best gifts that you can give the world (and your kids!). Children who travel learn to become more adaptable, curious, and tolerant. They develop a sense of adventure that can’t be captured within the city limit of their hometown.
As much as every parent wants to build those memories of breathless wonder and adventure, traveling with kids isn’t always easy. So, how do you get kids engaged and involved?
Here are a few tricks to raising kids who love to travel, whether traveling means visiting the other side of the globe or the next town over.
Raising Kids Who Love to Travel: Why it Matters
As humans, planning travel truly makes us happier. Thinking about exploring a new place has been shown to make people happier than getting ready to buy something new. After we go, the memories remain valuable to us long after that retail therapy has worn off.
And the most interesting thing about it all is that actual travel is not even that important. Our brains simply love daydreaming about getting away. When we are reading about exciting far-flung destinations, we all feel like kids gearing up for Christmas.
Start Planning Your Trip
Kids of every age can benefit from travel planning. Why not start with family brainstorming sessions? For just a little bit, forget about your budget and work schedule. Dream about wandering the streets of Italy or hiking through African safari lands. If it turns into a trip to the city where you visit the zoo then go out for dinner at an Italian restaurant, it’s still a win.
Learning about the possibilities out there and becoming curious about the wider world is what is truly important. Maybe that trip to the Italian restaurant will spark an interest in taking Italian lessons over the summer or downloading an app. Those lessons might prompt a semester abroad or a graduation trip to Italy. Or maybe they won’t. The bottom line is that it doesn’t really matter where you go and when you do it. For kids (and you too!), what is truly important is taking that time to learn and imagine.
Dig Into the Culture
Booking a trip is easy enough. You can find a deal online, book a trip over the summer, and come home with a few nice selfies. The act of simply getting on a plane, however, isn’t necessarily going to broaden kids’ horizons.
When you are raising kids who love to travel it is all about digging deeper. As much as we all love unwinding at an all-inclusive resort or staying in an amusement park resort, these kinds of all-in-one adventures make it harder to dive into the culture.
Before you go somewhere, watch travel shows or YouTube videos about your destination. There are options for absolutely every age group so get your kids involved. And, most importantly, remember that culture is more than museums and art galleries.
Make exploring the local culture fun. See what makes a Texas BBQ different from any other or try local honey from the farmer’s market. Dare each other to sample a bite of a fried alligator. Take your teens to see a local band or go on a street art tour. Find a way for your kids to be able to walk away knowing what makes a particular place cool and different from the rest.
Expand the Adventure
How many busy families struggle to even make a one week vacation happen every year? Schedules are crazy, money is tight, and sometimes just getting a quiet hour in the living room feels like an impossible dream.
When you do finally carve out a week, or even a weekend, make it last. Linger in the planning process and make it an interactive conversation for the whole family. When the trip is over, extend the memories.
While documenting traveling in a journal used to be an annoying summer homework assignment for kids, it can be way more engaging these days. If you know anything about the world of kid influencers, you know that being a travel blogger has no age requirements (and, if it’s all totally new to you, check out these mini YouTubers who do everything from toy reviews to dance parties).
Your kid doesn’t have to be the next internet sensation to make it work. Art-loving children might create a good old fashioned scrapbook or edit photos to make an online collection. If your little one does have a larger than life personality, play around with making video travel logs. There’s no need to even put them online to make it an incredible project. Experiment with recording and editing videos. It’s a perfect way for older kids to learn new skills or just to make fun videos of little ones.
Tip: Whether they turn into a masterpiece or not, consider making a private YouTube channel. It’s an easy way to share memories with your friends and family, plus it gives your kids a project that they can take over (without leaving you to worry about what they’re sharing online).
Feeling inspired? Keep reading more tips in our guide to going abroad for the first time with kids.