Travelling with kids can be such a hassle, right? The public meltdowns, the constant refrain of “Are we there yet?” What parent hasn’t wondered, as they hold the travel sickness bag open for their child, whether it is worth it at all! Thankfully these moments of doubt pass when you see their eyes open in wonder at that spectacular view; their shouts of delight as they ride a rollercoaster for the first time; the sense of achievement they experience as they scale a mountain. In that second, all the difficulties you went through to get there melt away. The best travel experiences live long in the memory and are why we travel with our kids.
Memories that last
One of my earliest memories as a child was a family trip to Brittany with my parents. I could only have been three or four years old, but I have the clearest memory of playing with the children of the farmer who owned the chalet. I didn’t speak French and they didn’t speak English. However, language was no barrier to our play. It is fair to say I have very few other memories of being that age, but this experience stayed with me. I believe it was at that moment my lifelong obsession with travel and exploring other cultures was born.
Now I have children of my own, I am determined that they have the same chance to travel to new places and meet new people. Both of my kids had their first passport within a month of being born. They had travelled abroad before they were five months old. I realise they won’t remember these trips but my husband and I have some fantastic memories (and photographs!). Obviously, travelling with such small children is not without its difficulties but, with a little preparation, it is easily achievable.
My children are no longer babies. They are both now school-aged, which brings with it a whole new set of problems. Most frustrating is their insistence of bickering with each other over the slightest thing! But their quarrels are soon forgotten as they paddle together in the sea, splashing each other (and mum and dad!). I have found that shared travel experiences are the best ways of bringing families together. There is nothing better than settling down at the end of a long day of travel and chatting about all the amazing things we have seen and done.
Another benefit of travel is the opportunity to educate your children about the world around them and its multitude of different cultures. In many instances you don’t need to travel vast distances to do so. Most of the world’s major cities showcase global culture in their diverse populations, international restaurants and unique entertainment. An educational philosophy I recently discovered is ‘worldschooling’. This basically equates to learning through the medium of travel. Many worldschoolers are in a position where they are able to constantly travel the world educating their children as they go. This approach would not work for us, but I believe that is possible to worldschool your child while they remain within the traditional school system. I take every opportunity when my kids are not at school to either visit new places or to enjoy books, films and activities with them at home which celebrate the joy of travel.
Travelling and learning about the world are two of the greatest adventures you can experience in this life and it is even better if you are able to share these adventures with your kids. Let me know about your adventures in the comments below and why you think it is important to travel with your kids.