My little family of five just returned from a whirlwind trip to Baltimore and Washington, D.C. My brother got married, so we decided to turn the trip into a family vacation. And it was the most exhausting vacation I’ve ever been on. Last year, my husband chose to travel with our kids (ages 5, 4, and 2 at the time) on a week-long trip to Jamaica. Some may say that an international trip with three kids ages five and younger was a bit ambitious (…or stupid…or crazy). They would be right. In fact, both these trips were all of that. And wonderful as well.
This year, we crammed our three kiddos into the minivan armed with coloring books, toys, DVDs, and snacks and made the 11+ hour trek to Baltimore. And since we were within an hour of our Nation’s Capitol, we thought it would be a disservice if we didn’t show our kids some of the amazing sights of Washington D.C. Between wedding obligations and trying to cram in as much as we could in one week, it was a whirlwind trip that left us absolutely drained and overwhelmed. But it was also completely worth it.
Why do we choose to travel with our 3 young kids? Because I whole-heartedly believe that a lifetime of experiences can be learned through traveling. I have a bad case of wanderlust, and I kinda want to pass it onto my kids. Traveling can teach kids so much, and I, for one, believe it’s worth all the work and exhaustion to make it happen.
When we travel with our kids, we offer them some great learning opportunities.
They learn about other cultures.
Even if we don’t leave our state, there are plenty of cultures within our own city that our kids can rub shoulders with. We have met some of the kindest, most interesting people on our travels. And we’ve talked to our kids about why these people are “different” from us. Additionally, we discuss why it’s so important to learn about and respect other cultures.
They get out of their bubble.
Let’s be honest. We all get caught up in our own little bubbles of life. And we inadvertently spread that bubble to our kids. Despite good intentions, life is easier when we stick within our bubble. But when we get out of our bubble, my kids get some great opportunities to be less selfish, more giving, more considerate, and practice meeting and interacting with people we don’t know.
We make great memories.
Some of my best memories from growing up come from when I traveled with my family. My parents did a fantastic job of making each trip memorable and a learning experience. And I intend to pass along that experience to my kids. My two older kids still talk about our Jamaica trip. There’s something about being squished into one hotel room with four other people that really makes the memories more vivid and special.
No matter what type of vacation you plan for your family, the important thing is to plan one. Grab a tent and some sleeping bags and go camping. Or hit up a local theme park. Rent a cabin in the mountains and go hiking and fishing with your kids. Buy those flight tickets and take your kids to a fun little island where they will explore underwater fun and have island adventures.
The point is to do it. We need to travel with our kids.
Don’t worry about the details of the trip — just go. Make a memory with your children!