We love to travel both with and without our kids. And, sure, our kids are a bit older now, but we have family out of state and we have been traveling since our twins were 6 weeks old! People often ask when traveling with kids gets fun. Or, they say the usual — a travel experience with kids is not a vacation — it’s a trip! The thing is, we don’t look at our travel as a time without noise or action. We look at our travel experiences, both with and without our kids, as a time to reflect, to connect, to be present (without everyday life stuff getting in the way), to experience a new culture, to explore, to expand. Doing these things with our kids helps make every moment even more special.
Don’t get me wrong, my husband and I completely prioritize our relationship and consider it the foundation of our family. So, having time away just the two of us has been one of the most incredible aspects of our married life. We talk about our future goals and vision for our life together, as a family, we get to be the two of us without work and soccer schedules. It’s truly amazing! However, traveling with our kids to a new city or country with us is exciting in an entirely different way. We know the science behind travel and its many health benefits. As parents, it is one of the best gifts we can give our children. We may not see its complete impact now, but we hope it’s an investment for their future and the kind of people we are raising. The kind that understand that life is much bigger than your bubble. The kind that know how to put things in perspective. Who think expansively and have kindness and compassion for other human beings. Traveling with kids also means they experience us as parents in different ways. We aren’t nagging them to finish their homework or clean their rooms. We don’t have work or laundry or dishes weighing on our minds. We are just there. We are open and we laugh and we play. It’s the best, really.
Do they complain? Absolutely! In all honesty, who doesn’t complain? Even adults! But, they would complain at home too. We went on a 6+ mile hike in Alaska and for the first 20 minutes our eight year old complained and cried. We found some music for him on our iPhone and that calmed him down, and it ended up being the best hike we all took on the entire trip! So, just like anything, you have to stick with it. You have to get creative. And, you definitely have to think about all of the magic that is really going on. Is the whining annoying? Of course. Do you want to stop the car and kick them out at times? For sure. But, it is much more manageable when you know that the travel experience is impacting the way they think and creating memories that will last them a lifetime, and most likely, they will thank you for … one day.