Having kids means the end to travelThis article has been written as part of the ‘Life Beyond Norms‘ series; a collaborative project aimed at dispelling societal norms that have been handed down, or unwittingly thrust upon us. This is an attempt to provide thoughts against these norms to encourage us to think deeply and consciously of the values we hold; to ensure they do actually add value to our lives and society as a whole. Other contributors to the series include The Everyday MinimalistAlyson EarlPuttylike, and Axis of Awesome, A World of Inspiration, Locationless, Small Things First among others.

Once You Have Kids the Days of Traveling Are Over

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard people lament that they wish they could travel more but they have kids so it’s not really an option.  Actually I’ve been guilty of that kind of stifled thinking.  The truth is when you have kids traveling is not an impossibility.  In fact it’s probably the greatest thing you can do for your kids and for yourself.

In this post we’ll explore a few of the arguments against traveling with kids and show you that they are in most cases false.

Stifled Thinking

  1. It costs too much
    Sure, it can be more expensive but it’s not as expensive as you might think.  There are plenty of good deals out there for kids depending on where you want to travel and what you want to do.  You can look for family packages, save up frequent flyer miles to help pay for flights, look for kid discounts.  There are always options available to you.  If your kids are anything like mine they eat like birds so food costs will not be as much as you might expect.  I look at it this way, the benefits my kids get from traveling the world far outweigh the cost.
  2. My kids may get sick (health & safety)
    As parents we are always concerned about the health and safety of our kids. How many times have you worried that travel to some exotic location may expose them to a disease or serious illness?  I’ve often thought like this until I realized that my kids could get sick anywhere.  Sure they may have a greater chance of getting sick in another country but they might not either.  Lessen that chance by getting your kids immunized.
  3. It’s too much work and aggravation
    There is no denying that travel with kids can be a lot of work and will at times try your patience.  But then most things that are worth anything in life take work.  In my opinion the benefits far outweigh the few times your kids will cause an International incident.
  4. Missing School
    As parents we are obviously concerned with how long term travel affects our kid’s education.  These concerns can easily be calmed by considering options such as homeschooling, International schools and by understanding that the experience of any travel adventure is a great chapter in your kid’s education and personal growth.

Now let’s take a look at some reasons why you should travel with your kids.

Reasons to Travel with Kids

  1. Your kids will learn more
    Which do you think is a better learning environment: reading about Borobudur in a textbook or actually traveling there and experiencing it in person?  Learning from textbooks is fine but without supplementing it with actual real world experiences it loses it’s value.
  2. Spending more time with your kids
    Ever feel like you don’t know your kids?  Traveling is a great way to share an experience and further bond with your children. Think of all the incredible stories you can share with them.  You’ll be creating memories that will last a lifetime!
  3. International exposure
    Our world has grown smaller with the ease of world travel these days.  Children with International travel experience will have a unique world view that many kids their age will not have.  They will experience other cultures firsthand and be exposed to new languages.  It’s an opportunity that will serve them well in whatever career they decide to pursue.
  4. Learning Life Skills
    Dealing with issues while on the road and learning to problem solve are all things that will carry your child through life.  Experiencing new cultures and places and learning compassion and understanding are key to developing world citizens.  They will get to experience the diversity that our world has to offer.  These are skills that cannot be taught in a classroom.

Don’t look at having kids as an end to the adventure.  View them as part of the adventure and journey.  Remember, life isn’t really lived until you actually experience it.  Still not convinced that traveling with kids is a possibility?  Check out real people who are doing exactly that.

Examples of Families Who Are Traveling Abroad

Christine Gilbert (almostfearless.com) – Christine and her husband have been traveling since March 2010 with their infant daughter.  Check out her recent post on flying with kids.

Colin & Tracy Burns (ourtravellifestyle.com) – Colin & Tracy have been traveling the world with their two kids Noah and Hayley.  They have been to Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.  Here is what they are all about.

Jeff and Kristy (vagabondkids.com) Jeff and Kristy travel with their two kids (The Vagabond Kids). They have been expats living in Asia for almost 13 years now.

Theodora Sutcliffe (travelswithanineyearold.com) Theodora and her son are doing a Round The World (RTW) trek and really enjoying life.  Make sure and check out all their adventures.  Check out her report on schooling while traveling.

The Bergrens (theworldiscalling.com) are a family from Colorado who have traveled with their 3 kids to places like Italy, England, France and throughout the US.

It can be done! Don’t let stifled thinking hold you back. With proper planning and a little luck you can be enjoying all the world has to offer with your kids. 

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