3 Key Reasons Family Travel Matters

3 Key Reasons Family Travel Matters


“Traveling as a family is as critical to success as any other life skill.  

You vacation as you live. Sure, you're in a different location, but if you like to go 90 mph at home, chances are you're not going to be able to do 10 mph on vacay. It'll confuse the kids. Your family's life rhythm, your choices to get the work done first or to procrastinate, the priorities you show – whether you're reading a bedtime story to your child or getting one more thing done for work – continue on vacation. 

1.    Travel allows for new perspectives

Did you know that when your child starts refusing things at age 2, screaming "No" at the top of her voice, it's because she's beginning to understand there's a separation between you and her? Before then, everything she thought, she thought you thought. Now there's a discrepancy, and she fights to get her way. 

Travel can be similar. But more cooperative. You go for new experiences. You enter someone else's world and, especially overseas,  adjust to a new mentality. You've taught your child the appropriate way to behave at home. Now, you have the chance to watch her interact with people further afield, learning from their approach to life.

Willingness to meet new people with respect, treating them the way you wish to be treated based on their cultural sensitivities, provides higher-level diplomatic training to your child.

2.    If you're open to new experiences, your kids will be too.

Having a generous spirit and thought process, rather than a fixed mindset, is critical in fostering resiliency in our kids. 

Learning from personal experience is most valuable in childhood when parents are still present to protect them. 

Have the gumption to go off the beaten path and pursue an unusual interest. Like leprosy? Go to the museum. Check out AtlasObscura.com for local options.

Start easy. Get out an old -fashioned map, lay it on the table, and use a compass (or string) to mark a 200-mile circumference from your home. Each weekend, let a different family member choose a direction and find an interesting location to visit. Check google, TripAdvisor, lifewire, and the town's website for local events.  Go and explore. Have the kids write stories about what they've seen and what they've learned. Maybe they can even repurpose the info for a school essay. Teach them that learning is fun!

3.    Foster curiosity about the world, expand their minds.

Travelers have a limited attention span, usually 90 to 120 minutes. Children's attention span is even shorter. Make art (or any activity) meaningful while they're still attentive. Plan activities around appropriate times for meals and rest. 

Get the kids involved to choose activities to increase their attentiveness. Go the extra step to assign them each a place – and have them teach you about it on the trip. 

Cultivate these invaluable skills, and you'll raise better citizens while creating priceless memories. 

Gail L Clifford, MD

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Gail's love of travel began with crazy road trips with her parents and 6 siblings. With a couple packs of comic books, her parents happily drove 5 hours each way for lunch with the grandparents. Weekend trips to Gettysburg or Williamsburg and day trips to Washington, DC led to more extended getaways to foreign lands, always looking for more perspective and tips for how to live one's best life.