Why Not Travel?
That was the answer to my husband’s initial "NO" when I suggested a trip to Europe with our 6, 8 and 10 year old kids.
Really, why not?
I grew up with parents who believed in travel as part of a broader education. I am also from a different country and we visit regularly, so our kids were already used to the logistics of international travel. As for their ages at the time of our first trip- what better time to start? So here is my take on the most common reasons against traveling with young kids.
Argument #1- The kids are too young and won't remember anything.
Do you remember everything they taught you in college? High School? Does that make it not worth it? No, it doesn't. The take away from these experiences is not just the facts and figures we are tested on. We take away problem solving, we learn to interact with people, we learn about the world and are presented with opportunities and challenges. All this makes us better in the end (as well as those facts and figures you we were supposed to learn!!) Travel has the same result, our learning is cumulative. Kids will be exposed to new things and something will stir their curiosity, something will make an impression. They will have been taken out of their comfort zone and that will make them more patient, tolerant and flexible. Also, you don’t just tavel for them, you travel with them. So even if 10 years from now, your 5 year old does not remember standing in line for the Pooh ride at Disney, you will- and you will remember how that face lit up once you got on that ride!
Argument #2- It is too expensive.
Yes, it is. And if you are waiting for it to get cheaper you are going to wait forever! It is what it is, so work with it. Come up with a savings plan, make sure you plan within your budget and stick to it. We make saving for travel a priority, not an afterthought. My planning usually starts by checking the health of our travel account (yes, we have a dedicated account we put money into just for this purpose), figuring out a budget and asking myself: How far can we fly on X amount of dollars? And thus a vacation is born...
Argument # 3- My kids would rather go to the beach
Of course they would! So plan with them, not for them. If it is really important to them, include one or two beach days. Make them part of the decision making. Share pictures of what you are going to see, rent movies filmed in those locations and before you go, find the best ice cream place! Travel is about having fun and experiencing the world, not just about museums and famous monuments. Kids who have never traveled before don't know what they are missing. So make the decision for them and get up and go!