Why Travel With Kids Is Amazing

If you’ve considered traveling with your kids, you’ve probably run into the common belief that traveling with kids can be a nightmarish experience.

Before we had children, countless friends and relatives told us to enjoy travel while we could, assuming we’d stop traveling when our kids arrived. But we persevered, and as a family, we’ve visited Cuba, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Nevada, Mexico, Canada, the Philippines and Costa Rica.

We’ve traveled through diapers, the terrible twos, toilet training and all the way to first grade.

After all that, I’m here to announce loud and clear:  It is possible to travel with children and have a wonderful time.

Why travel with kids is amazing

A deeper connection to the people and places you visit. Many cultures are child friendly and family focused. We found, especially in Mexico and the Philippines, that our children were warmly welcomed everywhere from restaurants to stores. Little old ladies gave them candies, and people walked up to us on the street to strike up a conversation. With kids, we were approachable. When we traveled alone, we were just tourists passing through.

Quality and quantity time with your family. Time together is one thing that’s missing from most of our daily lives. When you travel, you’ll share unique experiences that will bond your family. Sure, it can sometimes be a bit tough, but there are some moments so magical that you’ll never want to go back home. You’ll always have those special memories that bond your family together.

Travel With Kids is Amazing Quality Time in Tree

Just Hanging Out Together

Kids slow you down. And yes, this is a good thing. As adults, we’re often tempted to try to see it all, and in doing so, we miss a lot. Having kids forces you to slow down and really enjoy where you are, and what you’re doing.

Kids help you grow. Kids constantly challenge your assumptions, and make you face some tough realities. Kids see so many things that parents miss. Ever tried explaining to a three year old why there’s a family sleeping on a cardboard sheet in front of a convenience store in the Philippines? I have, and it made me realize I hadn’t faced some ugly facts about poverty and inequality in a while.

You’re more prepared. Hitting the road with kids forces you to be more prepared. We now hit the road with a traveling pharmacy, stocked with a first aid kit, kids’ Tylenol, Gravol, Pepto Bismal, rehydration salts, cough drops, and on and on. Not only is it essential for the kiddos, but it’s sure nice to have the supplies for us adults.

Creature comforts. As single backpackers, Charles and I stayed in some truly skeevy hostels in the name of saving money. As a family, we want more space (and sanitation), so we’ve started renting houses and apartments for a month or so at at time. While this costs us a bit more money, it’s wonderful to stay in places that are roomier and cleaner. On top of this, we tend to eat better and more regularly with the kiddos around.

You might just become a better parent. Being on the road has forced us to rely less on toys and electronics for amusement. Instead, we’ve had to make our own toys as we go (not surprisingly, sticks and rocks are always a hit) and (the horror!) play with our kids.

Joy! Unlike most adults, kids wholeheartedly embrace the fun in life. Kids make you do goofy things that you never would have tried as an adult. It’s fun to let our hair down once in a while, and having kids is the perfect excuse. I’ve played on playgrounds across the world, thanks to my kids. When’s the last time you played on a swing?

Travel With Kids Playground

Looking at Life A Little Differently

You’ll give your kids some amazing gifts, too.

Life becomes an amazing field trip. Instead of learning about the world in textbooks and through lectures, they’ll be learning live and in person. The whole world will be their classroom, and you’ll be learning with them. We could have taught our kids about endangered leatherback turtles. Instead, they watched a leatherback lay her eggs and make her way back to the ocean. To this day, Cole talks about how people shouldn’t throw garbage into the ocean because it hurts the turtles. He never would have learned such a deep and lasting lesson in school.

Travel with Kids is Amazing Tree

Checking Out the Spiky Tree in Costa Rica

The big picture. You’re giving your kids a great gift by letting them develop a perspective that the world extends beyond their own friends, family and neighborhood. Our kids know that children who speak a different language can make great playmates, and that the strange looking food can be surprisingly good!

You’ll open up a world of possibilities. Your children will see and try things they’ve never done before. Cole, then five, learned to boogie board and zip line Costa Rica. I’m not sure I’ll ever get a better gift than the look of accomplishment and pride in his eyes.

Far from being the terrible experience that we were warned about, traveling with our kids has been a wonderful way to explore our world.

What do you think about traveling with kids? Let us know – we’d love to hear from you!

We’re participating in SixSuitcaseTravel’s Family Travel Friday Blog Hop. Follow the hop to discover more great family travel writers!

14 Responses

  1. Theresa @ SixSuitcaseTravel

    If traveling with a buddy a spouse doubles the fun then traveling with children multiplies the pleasure immensely. Totally worth it!

    Thanks for joining our Family Travel Friday blog hop. I look forward to reading more from you!

    Reply
  2. Charles Kosman

    The biggest benefit of travelling with kids is the opportunity of seeing everything from a different point of view. After years of travelling with just the two of us, we had noticed that we were starting to become somewhat jaded in our view of places.

    “Been there, done that, love that deserted beach, hate that park, love the place we stayed at with the two hammocks by the ocean and not much else, etc…” All thoughts we believe were ingrained into our psyche until we started heading out with our little ones in tow. Isolated places that once enthralled us now get boring when we have to constantly keep the kids amused. That park that we would have quickly ran through and declared finished ends up taking us the afternoon to peruse and discover the thousand of little things that we never would have noticed.

    Sure, in general it’s harder to travel with kids and you need to make some concessions however there’s no reason you can’t continue to travel when you have them and if you feel you’ve been around the block a few too many times before you have them, kids can revitalize your love of travel all over again.
    Charles Kosman recently posted..Why Travel With Kids Is AmazingMy Profile

    Reply
  3. Crystal @ TouringTots

    Wonderful! I found you blog on the Family Travel Friday Blog Hop and it’s great! It reminds me a lot of myself and my husband pre/post kids. And I most certainly agree with this post. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Micki Kosman

      Hi Crystal! Thanks for the kind words. There’s a lot of hard work taking care of little ones, but it’s nice to focus on the positives every once in a while :)

      Reply
  4. Lisa Goodmurphy

    I agree with all your reasons why traveling with kids is amazing plus I have one more. When we are traveling, my kids push me to do things that I would be hesitant to do on my own. I don’t ever want to tell them that I’m afraid to try something so, as a result, I have conquered some of my own fears in the process.
    Lisa Goodmurphy recently posted..Canadian Summer VacationsMy Profile

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    • Micki Kosman

      That’s such a good point, Lisa. Our little ones can be pretty fearless, too. With me, it’s more like my kids get me off my butt :) to try something new.

      Reply
  5. JPM

    Encouraging and reassuring post for those of us who wonder/worry how kids would affect our serious travel habits. I grew up in a family of 6 and we did a LOT of travel — some of it fairly adventurous (Micronesia!) and involved living abroad and moving around a lot. Interestingly, it set a pattern and passion for my adult life, but my younger brothers really wanted to settle down once they got older. I saw this either/or with many of my friends who grew up in similarly mobile and traveling families. Anyway, I really think that there aren’t enough people talking about the possibilities and benefits of traveling with kids and exposing little ones to the wide world of cultures. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Micki Kosman

      JPM, It’s so interesting to hear from someone who traveled a lot as a kid. Sounds like your family had some great adventures (and I’m in awe of your folks, who brought six kids along!).

      I grew up in a small prairie town in the middle of Canada, and travel wasn’t part of my childhood. For me, travel is still fascinating, new and exciting. It’s so interesting for me to see my six and three year old see travel as such a normal, natural thing. To them, hopping on a plane to go across the world is just part of life. I sometimes wonder if I’m creating future jet-setters, or if they’ll go completely the other way and just want to settle in one place like your younger brothers.

      Reply
  6. julie g

    Glad to have found your blog! Unlike our friends, we always traveled with our kids. Our favourite trips were in Greece, particularly our road trip through Northern Greece (Parga, Metsovo, Meteora) and then the islands, with our favourite being Naxos. We loved the family atmosphere there. They do grow up so quickly and those memories will always be precious to me.

    Reply

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