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I had the privilege of traveling with my daughter recently. We flew to visit my mom, and because of the distance and our own time constraints, found it necessary to take a 2-hour plane ride.
Ah, the pleasure of traveling with kids! If you ever have had the opportunity to do so, you may be assuming I say that with rolling eyes and dripping sarcasm.
But you’d be wrong.
My husband and I traveled quite a bit when our two oldest children were preschoolers, and they were some of the richest and most exciting times we had as parents. (The secret is in the preparation and communication that we parents need to master. Of course, a healthy dose of patience and creativity doesn’t hurt, either!)
And while that’s all well and good, however, what I want to talk about today is something entirely different. It’s the effect of traveling with kids…and how you can use that to help your child prepare for their future!
The benefits of traveling with kids
Of course, there are a ton of benefits to exposing your children to the world at large!
Anytime we can experience other cultures, or languages, or ways of doing things, or geographical variation, skin colors, methods of transportation…the list goes on and on, we are helping our children learn about and appreciate the variety present in life and the creativity of our Creator.
Travel helps kids become resilient, flexible, open to new ideas and people. It helps them to see their own culture in a different light and value the variety of people and ways of doing things in the world.
We may also, however, be planting a seed in them: a desire and thirst to explore those things (and more) that will grow as they do, and influences who they become as adults, and what they choose to do in their careers.
And these would be more future-reaching benefits…
How traveling with kids can affect their future
Our two oldest children are nearing their thirties (which is quite impossible for me to believe…) but it’s only been quite recently that I’ve made any kind of connection between what they do now and this aspect of their childhood.
As I mentioned above, we did a fair amount of travel while they were young. We moved from the North to the South within the US, then visited or lived in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, before returning to the States and then completing a road trip cross country to visit my sister and her family. We traveled by car and train and plane, and also local taxis, guaguas (small buses in Guatemala and the DR), and our family motorcycle. (Wish I could dig up the photo of our family of 4 on the back of that bike…)
I’m certain I can’t make a direct connection, and it might not even be a conscious one in their own minds, but today, our two oldest are totally bitten by the travel bug. Our daughter’s college and graduate school years were spent on almost equal amounts of US and foreign soil, and our son travels extensively in his videography career, capturing the human stories behind everything from NASCAR and the NFL to local niche businesses.
So just for the heck of it, I sat down and came up with a list of possible careers that your own son or daughter might develop as a result of family travels.
Possible future career opportunities influenced by traveling with kids
- ESL teacher
- Tour guide
- Airline pilot or steward/stewardess
With even a bit more thought, I bet I could come up with even more ideas. And if you’re a “family traveler”, I’ll bet there are more you could add, too! ‘Cause the neat thing is you that you NEVER know what discoveries and connections will be made while you’re “out and about”!
Traveling as a family also introduces the idea and excitement of travel during a potential gap year. There are oh-so-many things to learn out-and-about this wonderful world of ours. Skills and attitudes that your teen will be able to use throughout her life in whatever career or life-stage she finds herself. As I mentioned above, my daughter spent years traveling while in college and grad school, visiting places like Cambodia, Morocco and living a year in South Korea. Sometimes she was with a group, other trips were taken solo. Those were rich years for her and have made a lasting impression on who she is today and what she does.
It’s worth mentioning here that it’s not only fun to keep track of your own travels but get visitors to your home into the act. Or how ’bout pinning (in real life!) the location of mission organizations to which you tithe or donate? Our family has both a U.S. and world map on the wall for just that use! Our map source is Bright Ideas Press.
Here’s the takeaway… traveling with your kids is a gift that graces not only their own future but benefits those with whom they’ll interact. It goes beyond raising kids devoid of ethnocentrism. It helps them develop a love for God’s greatness and creativity, and a desire to be a part of it all.
So whether you’re traveling as a family on a quick weekend trip or enjoying an extended stay during the holidays, or if and when you’re looking for new and interesting experiences to add to your studies, don’t minimize the importance and value of travel.Traveling with your kids is a gift that graces their own future AND those around them. Click To Tweet
Across your city…across your State…across the country…or beyond – it’s a great and beautiful world that God created. He loves to share it with us, and there’s so much we can learn in it!
Family Travel Resources:
I wouldn’t want to get you all stoked about travel and then leave you hangin’! Here are some resources to check out if you’ve gotten bitten by the travel bug 😉 (Note: inclusion in this list does not necessarily signify my endorsement. These are sites that I’ve come across during my own “digital travels.” I’m not being paid for sharing them, but merely offer them as a resource to give you a quick start for your own research.)
Family Travel Association – Get their newsletter and get inspired!
WordFamilyTravel – Founder Jen Reyneri is a homeschool mom of two boys and her blog has so much to offer about incorporating travel with homeschooling.
Nomadic Homeschoolers – Membership site, self-described as “the premier online magazine and Christian network for homeschoolers who love to travel.”
And check out these beautiful and inspiring Instagram accounts!