For adults, there are benefits associated with travel. Often, we go on vacation to get away from it all. We go away to relax, to unwind, and to have new experiences. We often return from vacation full of energy, with new stories, and more relaxed than we left. Couples go away to re-connect and re-kindle romance and solo travelers challenge themselves to survive their solo travel experiences. There are vast benefits associated with traveling, but not only for adults- there are plenty of benefits when traveling with children as well.
I wanted to write this blog to encourage parents, grandparents, caretakers, aunts, and uncles to travel the world, and your neighborhoods, with your children.
My nine-year-old daughter Bella has practically traveled since she was in the womb. From Africa, to Europe, Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Canada, and internally in the United States. By plane, by bus, by train, and road trips, we travel, any time we have a chance to.
Some of the benefits of traveling for children include, increase awareness of geography, hands on learning, appreciation and respect for other cultures and languages. In addition, enhanced palate, introduction to new artist, new music, and artwork. Travel is a learning experience for children. Knowledge they cannot get in a classroom or from a textbook. I have found that travel experiences have been invaluable to my family, specially to my daughter Bella.
It is important to note that you don’t need thousands of dollars to experience travel and the experiences that come with it. You can start by traveling locally. Take your children to a local museum or art gallery. Go have lunch at a restaurant of new cuisine, you never tried before. Many museums offer free admission days, some may offer free tours, festivals, and events. Take advantage of visiting new places, particularly if they are free. I always say that my family is blessed to live in Washington, DC area. Almost every museum here is free. So is the zoo, and art galleries, monuments, and performance centers. Having said that, it saddens me, because I do not see locals taking advantage of everything DC offers. I often ask myself, if its free, why don’t people take advantage of it? With the free attractions offered in DC, I have introduced my daughter and my family to new cultures, cuisines, art, and music genres we would not be exposed to otherwise. You do not need to take a long flight and spend thousands to introduce your children to history. You can start by learning your local history. I assure you that everyone will learn and have fun as you are learning.
Children love new experiences. They get excited about road trips, and camping. In everything you do, there will be a new learning skill you will enjoy together. Fill the tank with gas, and cross your state line to the neighboring state. If you are on a budget, pack a cooler, bring plenty of snacks, and stop by a park to eat the sandwiches you prepared. Challenge your children to learn the name of a few artist from the local museum. Borrow a local history book from your library, learn about the local history and then go visit one of the places you and your children learned about. Travel is about new exposures. About walking in history. About learning, and about exploring while having a good time.
The time you take to bond with your little ones during travel, is priceless. It will be remembered dearly by both you and your children. If you do not have children, take your grandchildren, your nieces or nephews. If you are a leader of a church or youth group, take some of the children to have new experiences. If you do not have a car, take public transportation. It will be a learning experience in itself. I love traveling. It has changed my life and my family’s lives. The benefits of traveling with children are vast and priceless. For this reason, I encourage you to travel, and take your children along.