Family Travel Travel with Children

Broaden Your Child’s Horizon By Giving Them A Life Of Many Journeys…

I gave birth to my daughter before I even had a passport, and I thought travel was too crazy and dangerous for little ones. The sudden overnight train journey with my 2-months old daughter changed my perceptions. I realized…having children doesn’t have to stop you… unless you let it.

Both of us (me and hubby) love to travel. We decided that our wanderlust should be gratified, even with a kid.

We knew if we have to live our dream it had to include our little child. This crazy dream of traveling the world, learning a new language, and exposing our daughter to different cultures blossomed with each passing day. Of course, we go through struggles and hardships to make ends meet and to live this dream. We save, we sacrifice other desires or things on our wish list and believe traveling to be a fine investment. We feel that it’s more important to invest in life experiences, rather than on next new designer or material things!!

NO travel experience didn’t stop us from exploring. Somehow stories of others’ experiences inspired us. We chose travel as a way of life for our family.

When I look back, memories of how we started, where we started and how far we have reached make me smile…It certainly has been a wonderful journey and it still continues.

Travelling is an adrenaline rush in itself, however, traveling with children is a different level of adventure altogether.

We set ourselves a challenge…instead of giving our daughter stack of expensive toys on her birthdays that obviously she’s likely to grow out of and forget about anyway; let’s use her birthdays as an opportunity to gift her with lasting memories. We created this annual tradition of traveling to new places on her birthdays. It started with our daughter’s first birthday in Goa and the tradition continues till now and hopefully will.

Augmenting our daughter’s classroom education with travel around India and the world has helped her grow in amazing ways. I believe that raising children well means exposing them to as much of the world as possible.

We combined our family’s birthday and festival budgets and took her on the trip of a lifetime to Disneyland on her eighth birthday! It took a lot of saving and a bit of planning on our part but certainly, it became an unforgettable experience and the one our daughter will cherish for the rest of her life. It was a dazzling new experience for our young one, and for us too (forever young at heart).

When it comes to giving gifts to our kids; toys and gadgets come handy but nothing beats the gift of experiences that create long-lasting memories and enrich your little one’s experience of the world.

Kids know better what we show them rather than tell them.

Think back to when you were a child. what’s your favorite memory? Perhaps it’s a family holiday, or of you playing and chatting with your best friend or maybe winning a trophy at your school’s sports event…Can you remember those birthday gifts you got during your childhood? It’s not easy, is it? In retrospect, the ‘things we got’ as kids were never as memorable or remained as important to us as the ‘things we did’. And this holds as true today as it was when we were kids.

Buying your child expensive toys for his or her birthday may be a lot easier than planning and implementing a trip or a day out or picnic, but it’s also of least value to your little one’s experience of the world. Teach and Show your kids that having materialistic things is not the way to happiness, experiences are. Take them to a museum or the zoo for the day, so you can all share in the experience together.

Just Imagine this –

One day while you’re having coffee with your friends or relatives in your cozy living room; someone looks at the picture of your child hanging on the wall and liked it so much that he asks,”Where was that photo of your daughter taken? It’s so natural and beautiful!” And here you begin a story about your daughter witnessing a baby turtle on the beach for the first time in her life and how she desired to touch it. How you helped your daughter to hold that little turtle in her palm and she had this smile…this smile like – out of the world! And how your daughter slowly slides her hands out to touch that little wonder and that look on her face! Well, that’s when you took that picture. Yes! And your guests are in awe! 🙂

The whole idea of this post is that your children deserve to see the world. Give your children the gift of travel. Give your child more memories and less stuff. Help them grow and develop confidence.

There are zillions of good reasons why travel may just be the best thing you ever do for your kids.

Offer your kids a real education. There’s a lot of difference between hands-on learning and classroom education. Nothing inspires awe or action like learning about something first hand. New experiences flicker ideas; start conversations and children begin to ask questions and care about things they never even thought about. I understand, classroom learning has it’s own place but nothing can compare to the awareness of dimensions, meaning, implications and realisation that happens as you witness new cities and countries, smell different places, withstand different types of weather or climate, embrace different cultures, taste different cuisines, try new adventures, take new roads, and take new risks. Travelling is inclusive learning. It’s scientifically proven that new experiences increase memory retention, besides helping us feel good.

You tell me, does sitting in a classroom learning about the pyramids or mummies or for that matter, anything in the world can be compared in any way to actually visiting them? NO. Mark Twain rightly quoted, “I never let schooling interfere with my education.”

We often hear people say that travel and adventure isn’t for people who have taken on the responsibility of raising kids. People make excuses that it’s expensive and inconvenient to travel with kids. But that’s not true. I can say that with a tad-bit experience I have of traveling with my kid. In modern times, countries are broadening their borders – selling cheaper flights, carving new roads, literally and figuratively. Sure, it’s not easy. It takes a lot of work, and planning and often requires sacrificing few things (I mean there are compromises which come when you decide to travel with kids) to take your children along on an out-of-town or country vacation, but it’s worth it!

Undoubtedly, Travel is challenging with children.

Of course, most of the time spent traveling isn’t about exotic places or the postcard-perfect pictures as they portray. Just being real, here! It’s sand in your swimsuit, dirty feet, heat, sunburns, long and tiring flights, ugh…layovers, waiting in customs lines and at borders, inconveniences and travel exhaustion. You and kids get tired and hungry. Tempers get short. Sometimes, you drive each other crazy. Travel as a family is difficult and challenging. Yet anything difficult has the opportunity to help you grow. All these challenges help your kids in developing patience, perspective, and personal development.

We try not to get hassled and always make fuss free, fun plans so our daughter enjoys every bit of it. It saves you from a lot of trouble.

Traveling with kids teach you how to get along better.

Ultimately, traveling with kids is just learning on the road, in foreign places, but it’s still just parenting. And you learn best by doing. One is compelled to learn new methods for not just enduring but blossoming. You grow closer, bond better and create lifelong memories.

And when you come back to routine life; you and your children will be very different (certainly better) people when you return from a memorable journey.

What travel does to children?

Now at the age of eight, my daughter is bold, and unafraid to start conversations with any person, of any age, culture or language. Sometimes this involves using hand signals and pointing, with people that don’t share a common language or language she doesn’t comprehend. But her confidence to engage in conversation and make friends wherever she goes has been enhanced by traveling to different places.

Travelling nourishes. It has a pianissimo influence on the heart, expanding impact on the brain and tranquillising effect on the soul. It teaches fearlessness, perseverance, and patience. Traveling is food for the soul.

World-schooling, adventuring, life-learning, whatever you call it, more parents are doing it!

Believe me, the idea of exploring this big, beautiful world with your kids is exciting! Damn Exciting!

You can’t sum it up in a single post. Some parents say that there’s no point in traveling with young kids because it’s too much hassle and they won’t remember it anyway. I’m reminded of this quote by Barbara BushMemories make a fine cushion for old age.” So, you travel not only to give them memories or experiences but to compile sweet reminiscences for yourself too. Things your little ones do while traveling will add a soft and sweet place to your devoid and alone years. Those memories will become your boon companion when you are old.

I loved traveling when I was single. I loved traveling with my hubby just after we were married. But I love it more now that we travel as a family. Kids change everything, we’ve heard it before. And, for the most part, that change is pretty awesome.

Travel with children is utterly rewarding!

We’ve discovered (as a family) that we really love travel. Our daughter love it as much, or more than we do – really! What’s the most rewarding part about being a parent? When you see your kid is happy, loving every part of her or his life, growing in confidence and enjoying experiences. That’s unparalleled joy and is one of the best feelings in this world for a parent. Isn’t it?

These are the experiences our child ought to have. Travel with your children now to instill the value of family fun and togetherness. Your child deserves to leave her/his little corner of comfort, in order to gain broad, wholesome experience. This world is big and beautiful, and just because it’s there, it deserves to be seen. A Chinese proverb says “Travelling a thousand miles is better than reading a thousand books”. So, if you want your kids to grow up fun, fearless and fabulous, take them on many journeys. Let this world become their classroom and words they read on a page come alive. Bring it on!

What are your thoughts on traveling with kids? Can you think of any other reasons you should travel with your children while they are still little? Do you have any favorite family memories from your travel? Maybe you did take your children to a wholesome vacation – how did they react? Suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for reading!

 

Anjali Chawla
Anjali Chawla
Reader. Writer. Blogger. Traveller. Learner.

23 thoughts on “Broaden Your Child’s Horizon By Giving Them A Life Of Many Journeys…”

  1. Great blog! I hated when I was pregnant and everyone told me “my traveling days were over” it’s harder traveling with kids but so worth it for the memories and the smiles! The hard times become laughable memories 😉

  2. Great post! For a while I worried my daughter couldn’t sit still on a plane long enough to get us anywhere. The newness and excitement of airplane travel was enough to keep her well behaved.

  3. I’ve traveled extensively (60 countries in the past 10 years) and I know it’s not impossible to travel with kids. Throughout my travels, I constantly see parents exploring around with their newborns or toddlers. Talk about breaking molds and inspiring the unconventional route! Great article!

  4. I wish I had the funds to travel around the world with my son. It has always been a dream of mine to go out and explore and see what the world has to offer. I agree that having a child does not limit you to what you can do.

  5. What a great post, it is so important to expose children to the wonders of the world. I remember traveling with my parents to Disney World and we did a road trip to Salt Lake City

  6. Love this!! That’s so awesome you have made it a point in your family to travel with your children. Everyone always tells me to travel now because once we have children my travel days are over. Honestly, I hate that so much because I never want my adventurous spirit to end. I want to do what people like you do, immerse my children in traveling too and pass on the adventurous spirit. Even if it’s harder!

  7. Such a great post! Growing up, I traveled with my mom every year and I absolutely loved it. I decided to go on an exchange program in France (I’m originally from Hong Kong) towards the end of high school, and I even moved abroad to Canada to finish my studies and for work after. Traveling as a kid has completely changed my life!
    xx

  8. I should show your article to my bf. He feels that he won’t want to travel with kids as they won’t remember anything when they are older. I don’t know which to believe. But bringing kids out is indeed a hassle.

  9. This post resonates so much with me. I am not s fan of traveling that’s not our style in Nigeria. But for my children I want to because my recent relocation to the United States has exposed me endless possibilities. I am ready to explore.

  10. this is fantastic! i think it’s so important to show children the beauty of the world and all its diverse cultures!

  11. I would LOVE to travel with my daughter!! It would be amazing! unfortunately it always comes down to $ and getting time off. I really need to work harder on finding ways to do it though.

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