Why Travel Time Is Important for Families

Before you had kids, it was easy to pick up and go.

Spontaneous weekend in the Big Apple? Yes, please.

But when you have kids, things get a bit more complicated. There seems to be an endless supply of gear, toys, and clothes. You have to worry about snacks and have heard "are we there yet?" more times than you can count.

It’s easy to resign yourself to home life while your kids are young. But you might be missing out.

Travel time is important for families – and if you need more convincing to book the trip, here’s are a few reasons why you should travel with your family while the kids are young.

Travel creates irreplaceable memories

If you went on any family vacations as a child, you know the importance of travel memories. Road trips or vacations to a faraway land are likely the memories that will stand out as you get older.

Now, it’s not exactly going to hurt your children if they grow up without travel memories, but these moments can serve to enhance your family bond.

Shared experiences bring you closer

When you travel as a family, you’re getting out of your comfort zone together. And that’s an amazing thing. We’re all more likely to be present in the moment when we’re out of our comfort zones, so this makes travel time together more valuable than time spent on the couch.

Travel creates learning opportunities

When you travel often, your kids will have the opportunity to learn about things like history and culture. They’re more likely to grow up with a well-rounded view of the world and less likely to exhibit xenophobic tendencies.

Tips for traveling with your family

So now that we've covered all the reasons why you should travel with your family let's address some of your potential hesitations.

Traveling with kids doesn’t always go smoothly. Even with all the advanced planning, something will undoubtedly throw you off course.

So here are some tips for traveling with the family that may help make it a more enjoyable experience.

·         Make checklists – Whether or not you’re a planner by nature, you’re going to want to be as prepared as possible for this trip. And for many people, checklists help. You’ll want to create the list, pack up the car and luggage, and double check that list later to ensure you have everything.

·         Bring lots of snacks – You’ll probably want to be prepared for those moments when your kids are at their unruliest. And while you definitely don’t want to reward bad behavior, you may be able to thwart their bad behavior with some well-timed snacks. Snacks can help appease boredom (if only for a moment), and so they can serve as a distraction. Not to mention that they’ll also help keep everyone from getting hangry.

·         Prepare the car – Especially if you’re embarking on a road trip, you’ll want to take measures to ensure everything goes smoothly. This means you’ll want to schedule service prior to your trip. Don't get so focused on entertainment that you forget to take care of the essentials. If you were to break down on the road, you could almost guarantee that tensions will be high and things will go downhill from there. 

·         Get the kids involved – There are various areas of planning where you can involve your children. And doing so will keep them engaged and invested in the trip’s outcome. They aren’t just along for the ride. They’re willing participants in the journey. Depending on their age, you may involve your kids in things like planning pitstops, snacks or choosing the daily itinerary. If your kids are a bit older, you may even let them choose your destination and/or method of travel.

·         Play travel games – Games like I-Spy may seem silly or trivial, but they serve to keep everyone busy and interacting. So whenever you find that conversation is at a standstill, rely on one of your fallback travel games. You may quickly abandon the game for real conversations, and that’s okay. As long as the game serves as an icebreaker, its job is done.

You may have some hesitations to travel while your kids are young, but let's look at it this way: When you think back on this moment years from now, will you be glad you took the trip? For most people, the answer is a resounding yes.