Is traveling good for your kids? A year ago, this question would’ve brought me dual feeling and a lot of confusions. On one hand, I was convinced that the kids greatly benefit from traveling and seeing the world. On the other hand, guilty feelings overwhelmed me. What if I use my baby as an excuse to travel more often? And what age should be your kids before you take them to travel the world? Is traveling only good for your older kids, and you should leave your infants and toddlers at home?
My husband who is quite a traveler himself insisted on a proper routine for our kid. According to him, the kids need to eat and sleep on time. Travel greatly interferes with such schedules. He was right in a way. And yet, I wholeheartedly believed that traveling is very important for kid’s development.
Is Traveling Safe for your Kids?
Question about kid’s safety on the road didn’t bother me when we just started traveling with our son, Dylan. I knew we were responsible travelers who took all necessary precautions before every trip. We made sure that Dylan received all his vaccinations on time and always carried his immunization record with us.
This topic, however, hit me unacceptably. I always wanted to visit Morocco. Based on my research and other travelers’ experiences, it was a safe country to visit. Moreover, over million people visited Marrakech, one of the most popular Moroccan cities, every year. So, I booked our Paris – Marrakech round trip without any fear or hesitation.
The flight from Paris to Marrakech took approximately three hours. Everything seemed safe and good for traveling with the kids. We were landing in one of the most visited Moroccan city early in the morning. And right there sitting on the plain and looking through the window, I freaked out. I hadn’t seen an airport so quit before. Besides two military men with guns, there were no people at all.
And as they say, fears have big eyes. Moreover, the fears creeped into my head. Was it safe to bring my family, especially my kid to this part of the world? For the first time, it actually occurred to me that Morocco was a Muslim country. And if you are from the US, you know what mass media says about the Muslim world.
It took me less than an hour to realize that Marrakech was safe for traveling with the kids. Furthermore, it turned out such a great cultural experience not only for the baby, but also for us.
Is One Country Safer that the Other for Traveling with Kids?
Only after we landed back in Paris, I all of a sudden noticed that Paris international airport was full with military men. But on top of holding their guns like Moroccan soldiers, the Parisians had their fingers on the triggers and were ready to shoot any time. Any common sense would say that you should be even more afraid of traveling with your kids to Paris. Yes, we are not scared to bring our children to the French capital.
And what about Spain where you see solders with the guns not only at the airport, but even in random metro stations? I don’t think many people worry too much about kids’ safety when they travel to Europe, North America, or Australia. But that doesn’t mean that the rest of the world is not good for traveling with your youngsters. It all comes to that common sense and good planning.
How far away is Good to Travel with Kids?
However, I have to admit, after our Marrakech trip I was not ready to venture far away. For the rest of the year, we traveled only in the US and Canada. Additionally, somewhere deep down, I started questioning if traveling was good for our kid.
But all these doubts played games with my mind only until I came across Cindy Ross’ book “The World is Our Classroom” and “Scraping Heaven: A Family’s Journey along the Continental Divide Trail”. In her books, Cindy told the world how she and her husband had raised their kids on the road. The family didn’t travel to far away places with their kids. Continental Divide Trail, United States National Scenic Trail running 3100 miles between Mexico and Canada, was their primarily travel rout for five years.
Cindy, her husband, and kids hiked this trail for months in a row, walking in the rain and heat and sleeping in tents. The first summer they hiked their son was one and their daughter was three years old. Thus, this adventurous family showed that there no age limit for your kids to start traveling.
Is Travel Good for Your Kids?
But the question still remains. Is travel good for your kids? I typed this sentence into Google search bar and found an overwhelming amount of articles talking about benefits of traveling for the kids.
They say traveling is good for kid’s development and socialization. Some articles talk about positive effects of travel on kid’s self-esteem, patience, and communication skills. Additionally, traveling teaches the kids to be adaptable. Travel brings the children closer to nature and broadens their horizon. Moreover, thanks to traveling the kids see the world and learn something new every day.
My favorite answer, however, came from Cindy Ross. “This is when it hit me: how much we were teaching our children just by placing the world of nature in their path. Experiential learning is better than a book, better than a school building, better than a computer program. This kind of learning was creating a life for our children filled with abundance, passion, purpose and gratitude, and it would stay with them for the rest of their lives, because they had lived it.”
Do You Need to Travel with Your Kids?
Despite of the great benefits, traveling with the kids is not easy. It involved extra weight in form of clothes, food, diapers, bottles, formula, and always, always something extra just in case. Do you really need to go through all these troubles when traveling with the kids? Isn’t it easier to ask their grandparents or aunts and uncles to take care of them for a week or so?
It works well for some travelers. But the majority of families travel together with their kids. They do it not because the hassle of having their young travelers by their sides brings them pleasure. No, they travel together for the sake of doing something together as a family.
So for example, Dani and Graig James of thewidewideworld.com traveled with their two kids around the world for eleven months. As Dani said, their children were growing up and almost ready to enter their adult life. “We were rapidly approaching our last chance to do something really special together as a family – to do something that would impact the way we thought of ourselves, individually and as a family.” And thus, traveling the world with their kids was a perfect chance and activity for the James family.
And so traveling might be good for you and your kids. You don’t have to take your kid on a trip around the world. Traveling to nearby areas will suffice, and this will benefit not only you, but, first of all, your kids.