Why It’s Important to Travel as a Family
Just because you’ve settled down and have a family in tow doesn’t mean your travel days are over. In fact, having your family along for the adventure may actually mean a more valuable and meaningful travel experience – for both you and your children!
Family memories last a lifetime
“Family travels are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their memory,” according to psychologist Oliver James. Travel experiences become “happiness anchors” for children, who then use the memories created as reminders of more positive life-moments.
While people are traveling with family they are likely less focused on work and more so on play, resulting in them being able to give their children time and attention. Things like cruises and tours are a great way to ensure this as they take the guesswork out of choosing the day’s activities and setting schedules, leaving more time to create valuable memories as a family.
Activities, like building sandcastles, hiking and playing beach volleyball, are all examples of “attachment play” which, according to Aletha J. Solter’s book Attachment Play, “is vital for family bonding.” Travel is a great way to facilitate this between parents and children, and by using family travel as the vehicle in which attachment play is experienced, it’s also said to enhance long-term self-esteem within children by subconsciously telling them they have your full attention.
Experience & education through travel make the best presents
When we travel our goal (in addition to escapism) is typically to gain a deeper understanding of the destination by connecting with the culture and people. Now think of the positive impact those experiences could have on your children!
Giving your children the gift of experience instead of something materialistic creates stronger bonds between you and them. “The reason experiential gifts are more socially connecting is that they tend to be more emotionally evocative,” states psychologist Cindy Chan. “An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it—like the fear and awe of a safari adventure or the excitement of a rock concert—and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.”
Another gift you give to your children through travel is the opportunity of education. Through family trips, children can be introduced to new cultures, languages, and environments, which is the perfect way to open their minds to the world around them. It’s this exposure to new experiences that lead to children being more susceptible to long-lasting education. For example, let’s say you’re in a country where they don’t speak English. Even if your children aren’t traveling long enough to pick up the language, being exposed to it means their brains will be more sensitive to sounds and rhythms, meaning they can communicate more easily later in life.
Quality time creates quality lives for kids
While traveling with your family undoubtedly creates future memories to share, it also facilitates quality time in the present. This quality time allows you to connect with your kids on a level not normally reached during our day-to-day. Discussing chores and school is left at home, and we can instead talk to our children about their goals and dreams. It’s these shared experiences and quality time that brings (and keeps) families together.
Travel is a great way to break comfort zones together as well. It teaches children that they have to be resourceful and facilitates their growth as fully-engaged individuals. Experiencing the challenges that come with travel also shows them strength and problem-solving skills they may have otherwise been unaware of, resulting in better decision-making in their futures. Travel is a space in which you can let them fail, make choices, think critically, and show them what life is truly about.
There is a new age of a family travel upon us, with more variety than ever! Things like tours and cruises, once thought to be over-planned and underwhelming, are now emerging as popular choices for parents looking to take the work out of their holiday. It’s these types of shifts in the travel industry that is making it even easier to instill these important lessons in our children and establish a more well-rounded family.