When the subject arises of ‘traveling with children’, there seems to be a general consensus that ‘it can’t be done.’

Most believe that your traveling days are over when the dawn of ‘da-da’ and diapers begins.

The reasoning behind this train of thought varies from a list of ‘toos’ - such as ‘too dangerous’, ‘too much work’, ‘too expensive’ - to a focus on what may be missing from their child’s life - such as family and friends, school and stability. (Which I’ll address in another post).

Others surmise with an all-encompassing explanation of ‘they won’t remember it’ - so what’s the point anyway?

But the truth continues to come to light is that travel is possible after kids - and in fact beneficial for them.

Africa Mia, Costa Rica

I once wrote an article published by BootsnAll entitled How to Develop Character in Your Children (and Yourself) Through Travel which extolled the merits of international travel as a tool for personal and family development.

While the overall response was positive, one commenter said,

“Parents who travel with toddlers do it only for selfish reasons...

The simple truth is that children at very young age can’t appreciate what their parents are doing…Small kids enjoy being with their relatives, but not too far from home and their culture.”

This statement was surprising to me, because it is so far from the truth I’ve come to know.

Unlike the stereotypical traveler - a young, unattached, wandering backpacker getting as many countries under their belt as they can before 'settling down’- we traveled very little before we began our family.

Our desire for travel developed after the kids came.

With three children, before ever donning our traveling pants, we imagined the day that we would do so - and our primary motivation - in fact the driving force - was the value it would bring to our family.

Living abroad would immerse our children in a second language (Spanish was our choice), and introduce them to contrasting cultures and ideologies.

In Tamil Nadu, India

We also wanted them to experience our ‘shared humanity’ - to encounter firsthand the commonality of people of all colors and nations - and to see the goodness that exists in people all over the world.

So while it is true that my husband and I thoroughly enjoy our family adventures, our decision to travel was based on a belief that it was in the best interest of our kids.

Our experiences since then have confirmed what we originally believed - traveling is good for our children - and the ‘excuses’ for not doing so are just that - excuses.

(From here on out I’ll refer to reasons for not traveling with children as an excuse - no matter how valid it might be - as long as it's keeping you from doing what you really want: traveling as a family. If that's not what you want, why are you reading this blog?

In one of our favorite children’s book, No Excuses: How What You Say Can Get In Your Way, author Wayne Dyer teaches that anything which keeps us from living the life we want is just an excuse.)

In the coming weeks, I'll address the benefits children receive from travel, as well as the excuses that keep us from doing it.

Why do you travel with your children?



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4 Responses

  1. Justin

    After having children of my own and working with kids for the past 15 years I believe more than ever that children are, more than anything, a product of their environment. That environment includes: parents, food, friends, culture, weather, tv, music, language, etc…. Your children will follow your lead is you let them. My wife and I just want to be the best guides we can and let the world take care of the rest.

    My daughter, 6, has had a mild phobia of bugs for some time, probably because we spend most of our time in the city. Last weekend we went camping with some friends. Deep in the woods. One morning I heard her waking up at like 6 AM and unzipping the tent. She then asked, “Can I go for a walk to find some bugs to show my friends when they wakeup.”

    Environment is Everything and Travel affords you all sorts of environments. I love it!

    Thanks for getting my mind rolling on the subject and for a great post.

  2. Marcus

    Thanks for the encouragement to travel more with family! We have always enjoyed trips with our kids. Even though there can be long days and uncontrollable circumstances, they always do a lot better than we think they can. And it is so good for them to get out of their normal environment. BTW, I just found your blog and am loving it!


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