Traveling is great. It helps us understand the world better and allows us to be exposed to new cultures. Many experts say that this experience is beneficial for everyone, regardless of their age. In the meantime, others argue that traveling with kids is wrong for a number of reasons. So should children go on a trip with their parent or is it better to leave them at home? There's plenty of debate on this question.
On the one hand, most parents think that traveling with kids is too stressful. According to statistics, Forbes notes only 26% of parents take their kids on domestic trips in the USA and the number of parents taking children on international travels is even lower. Besides, it seems to be much easier to leave little ones at home, in safety and comfort.
But on the other hand, traveling with kids isn't that bad. In fact, it's really good both for kids and their parents. All the experiences they have together on a trip will enrich them as individuals and help them understand many important things. For this reason, taking a kid out of their comfort zone can bring numerous advantages.
So who's right? Should our kids travel with us? Or should we better leave them at home? Let's see the main pros and cons of traveling with children and try to find a definitive answer to this question.
25 Take Them With You: Traveling Is Good For Children's Development
Traveling is a way of learning for everyone, and it especially is for little kids. The Huffington Post notes kids learn every day, every minute, and even every second they live. For this reason, traveling will be a great experience for them. Just think about it: they're going to be exposed to a whole new world of smells and tastes they've never tried, to a new culture they've never seen, and to a new language they've never heard. It's so exciting!
Besides, kids will step out of their comfort zone on a trip, which will also help them learn many new things.
24 Leave Them At Home: They Won't Even Remember The Trip
Answer this question honestly: do you remember your life when you were, say, 5 years of age? Most likely, you don't. That being said, you can guess that your kids also won't remember the trips you're organizing for them. And, when they grow up, if someone asks them, "Hey, have you been to Italy? Did you like it?" They won't be able to give an answer. "Umm, yes, I've been to Italy when I was five, but I have no idea if I liked it or not."
If they won't remember their trip, why should parents bother taking them on it and apply so much effort to make this trip happen?
23 Take Them With You: Kids Love Adventures
Most kids are adventurous. They like exploring the world and learning new things. And traveling can help them develop their adventurous spirit even more. It also boosts their imagination and creativity skills.
Wherever kids go, most of them want to play or imagine. If they go to an ancient city, they imagine that they're explorers who are going to open up something new. If they go to a tropical island, they turn into pirates. Traveling is always an adventure for them, so why would you deprive them of it?
22 Leave Them At Home: Kids Are Noisy
Have you ever been on an airplane next to a little kid? Even if you haven't, you can imagine that this situation means constant screaming, crying, and whining. Being just a co-passenger, you can turn away, put on your earplugs, and try to read a book. But if you're a parent of this kid, you can't ignore them. You have to look after them and calm them down.
Besides, if your kid gets too noisy, you're going to be the parent everyone looks at thinking, "What kind of mother is she? She can't even calm her own kid down!" And even if no one actually has these thoughts, you're going to think that they do.
21 Take Them With You: Seeing Other Countries Makes Kids More Adaptable
When a child lives in the same environment, it might make them think that it's all there is. Their environment is the norm. There are people who look in a particular way, behave in a certain fashion, and have specific everyday rituals. After living in this "shell," the kid is still going to face the world and see all the different things that exist in it. It might become a surprise!
But if a kid is traveling, they'll become much more adaptable. From the very beginning of their life, they'll know that people can look differently, behave differently, and have different traditions.
20 Take Them With You: Encourage Them To Learn Something New
Whenever a person (even an adult) goes to another country, they most likely learn something new. They taste a new dish, see a new animal, hear a new language, and so much more. How cool is it to experience all these things as a child? Kids love new experiences, whether it is riding an elephant, camping, or swimming in the ocean.
Besides, since most kids ask tons of questions every minute, they're going to want to learn as much as possible about the place you're visiting and expand their knowledge base significantly.
19 Take Them With You: Kids Learn That They Can Have Friends Anywhere In The World
Racial intolerance has always been an issue. It still is, even today. But if everyone teaches their kids that all people are equal, regardless of their nationality and color of their skin, it'll stop being a problem. And the best way to help a kid understand that, even though we look different, we're all the same, is through traveling.
On a trip, a child is most likely going to meet other kids and make friends with them. These potential friends may even be kids of different nationalities. Playing with them, kids learn that a person from any other country can become their friend.
18 Leave Them At Home: It'll Be Hard (Read - Impossible) To Take Long Walks
Some people like to go on long walks while they're traveling. It helps them see a lot of new sights and experience new things (not to mention, it's great exercise). But those who are traveling with kids should forget about that. It's nearly impossible to have long walks having a kid around. They get tired very quickly, they want to eat or drink, and they get bored by just walking around.
So if you want to just have a slow-mo walk in the mountains, forget about it. If you take a child with you, prepare to deal with them. Or just leave them at home.
17 Take Them With You: Traveling Can Uncover Kids' Hidden Talents
A lot of kids learn about their hidden interests when they go to a new place. For example, they can start learning new languages and become a language expert in the future, or they can attend art galleries and decide to be an artist.
Whatever new experience kids have, it can uncover their hidden talent and help them find their true calling in life. Just think about it. It could be a life-changing experience for them at a young age.
16 Leave Them At Home: Give Yourself And Your Kids A Break From Each Other
When you're at home, you spend every day with your child. Why shouldn't you use your vacation as a time when you can take a break from each other?
When you think about it, it has a lot of advantages. First of all, you'll get a break from fulfilling your responsibilities. Secondly, it'll teach your kids that being away from you once in a while is totally fine — you'll always come home. And thirdly, it'll help you boost your feeling of love and appreciation towards each other. Just imagine how happy you're going to be to finally see each other after a couple of weeks of your vacation!
15 Take Them With You: Your Kids Will Notice The Details You Tend To Miss
Kids are very observant by nature. They notice everything and everyone around them, whether it's a person who looks funny, an animal they've never seen before or just a beautiful landscape. We, adults, stop paying attention to these details at some point in our lives, and when we have kids, we become surprised at how observant a human being can be!
When traveling with your kids, you're going to have to slow down a bit and move at their pace, observing the details they point out to you and enriching your own experience.
14 Leave Them At Home: Long Hours And Flight Transfers Will Be Tiresome
The long hours you have to spend at the airport and on a plane when you're traveling are tiring even for you. So can you imagine how bad your kids might feel? Adults at least have a grasp on timing and scheduling; kids don't always have that.
Well, at least you know why you're doing this, imagining how great your vacation is going to be. But when it comes to a little kid, they even fail to understand why they have to endure all these long hours in a weird place full of strangers. Why can't they just lie down in their bed and take a nap? It's really hard to explain it to a kid.
13 Take Them With You: They'll Learn More About The World
Seeing how life is happening in another country, kids become interested in how the world functions in general. They take interest in learning geography and other sciences in different parts of the globe.
Let's say, you took them on a trip to Thailand. When you come back home, you show them where it is on the map. Of course, the kid will become interested in all the countries around it, too. "And what's this country? Do people look differently there, too? What language are they speaking? What nature do they have there? Will we travel there, too?"
12 Leave Them At Home: You'll Have Less Freedom
If you've been traveling with other adults and now you're thinking of traveling with your kids, think about how many activities you're going to skip out on. Instead of just taking a walk around the new city, sipping on wine, you'll have to go to an amusement park. Instead of visiting a science center or just reading a book on the beach, you're going to spend time in a kids' playground or building sand castles for hours.
Not everyone is ready to deal with these changes of habits, so if you're not ready to find something that'll interest both you and your kid, it's better to leave them at home.
11 Take Them With You: Kids Will Learn To Become Compassionate
Kids who are traveling with their parents learn to be more compassionate towards people of all kinds. Seeing that the lives of others are different, and sometimes not as good as the life in their homes, they become thankful for all the blessings they have and learn not to take their comfort for granted. Seeing with their own eyes how some people live will help kids develop a connection with the world and make them much more compassionate.
Of course, it doesn't mean that you should be visiting slums in another country to help your kids see how poor people live – in fact, this type of tourism is extremely offensive to the people living there. These people are not there for a tourist's entertainment or viewing pleasure.
10 Leave Them At Home: It's Too Expensive
Taking your kids on a trip means lot of extra expenses. Yes, kids will have a right of free entrance to most places, but at the same time, they'll make you spend much more money on other stuff, such as new toys and snacks.
Besides, you'll certainly visit different kinds of amusement parks with them, and in most of these places, you'll have to spend a lot of money. Even a simple lunch in an amusement park is likely to cost much more than the one you'd take in a city cafe.
9 Take Them With You: Teach Them New Responsibilities
When you're traveling with your kids, think about giving them some simple responsibilities. For example, if they have a younger brother or sister, you can ask your kid to look after them. Or you can make them responsible for carrying a city map with them every day so you can use it anytime you need or allow them to pack and carry their own luggage. Giving these simple tasks to kids, you build up your mutual trust and help them see how it feels to be in a leadership position.
8 Leave Them At Home: Traveling Can Be Dangerous
Some places can seem to be dangerous for kids. In a tropical country, they can get bitten by a mosquito and develop a rare disease. If you take them skiing to the Alps, they can get hurt from falling. Or they can become sick from the food or water. I'm not even going to tell you about all other bad things that can happen on a trip! The world we live in is full of dangers, isn't it? Taking your kids on a trip requires you to be their protector — so keep that in mind. If these things scare you, better don't take your kid with you.
7 Take Them With You: Traveling Makes You And Your Kids Equal
When you are on a trip, you are becoming more equal to your kids. All of you get to experience something new together and explore the part of the world you've never seen before. Being in this kind of situation with your children helps build a great deal of trust in your family. And besides, you're going to learn so many new things yourself, if you travel with kids and try to become their equal. Just imagine yourself chasing a crab on a beach with your child or standing on your hands and knees and exploring mosaics on a floor.
6 Leave Them At Home: It's Too Stressful
Traveling is stressful for everyone, even for adults. Long hours of flight, time zone changes, and new environments can drive anyone crazy. And kids who still don't know how to adapt to all the challenges traveling brings are likely to become overwhelmed with all these things.
Just think about it: they'll get into a completely new culture and even some of their behavioral norms can turn out to be rude or unacceptable there. Won't it be too stressful for both you and them to deal with it and explain every single thing they need to understand while on a trip?
5 Take Them With You: They'll Learn To Accept Changes
On the other hand, dealing with changes can be beneficial. I mean, things rarely go according to your plan. Something may go wrong at any moment, and the most unexpected things can happen. And if kids learn early in their life that it can happen, it helps them deal with changes better.
They realize that if something goes unplanned, it doesn't mean that everything's bad. If your flight is delayed and you have to spend an extra hour in the airport, or if the weather suddenly doesn't cooperate, or if you can't eat the foods you're used to, you can deal with it.
4 Take Them With You: It's A Great Bonding Opportunity
Families that travel together have so many more opportunities to learn more about each other and create a special bond. Just imagine all of you living in one hotel room and walking around the city every day. You will share so many experiences and explore so many things together.
Will you have a better chance to connect with your kids, while you're at home? It's unlikely because to really bond with them, sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone, and traveling is the best chance to do it.
3 Leave Them At Home: There Will Be Too Much Luggage
Kids will want to take so many things with them, including their favorite toys (meaning, they'll want to take all of their toys, because, hey, "How can I sleep without my teddy bear?"). And you will want to pack all kinds of clothes they might need in case weather changes. When you just think about how many things you'll have to take when you travel with your kids, you can go crazy.
If you think that you can't argue with your child over every toy they want to take with them on a trip, it's a bad idea to travel with them.
2 Take Them With You: You Kids Will Become Perfect Traveling Companions
If your kids begin traveling at a young age, they are likely to become perfect traveling companions pretty soon. They'll learn all the rules of behavior on the road after some time and will better understand different standards that they face in the countries they're traveling to. They will see all the benefits of traveling and will be looking forward to every new trip. They will even learn to pack and carry their own luggage.
It all will make them more responsible travelers, who know what they're doing on a trip. And when they grow up, they'll become perfect companions for their fellow travelers.
1 Take Them With You: You'll Create Life-Lasting Memories
Imagine that you took several trips together with your kids. What will you remember? Will it be the times when they were whining and driving you crazy or the times when you climbed the mountain together and took a dip in a river? Probably, the latter; the more beneficial of the bunch.
Both you and your child will cherish the memories from your trip for a lifetime. Just imagine you and your kids recalling your travels when years go by. Most likely, they'll say that those were their favorite times in childhood, so don't hesitate to help them create these memories!