"Travel now before you have kids."
I'm pretty sure we've all heard that overused and outdated saying. I know we did, dozens of times after we were married. My husband and I are self-proclaimed traveler enthusiasts and we have our hearts set on seeing the world. In our early 20s, we received a lot of "advice" from friends, family and strangers that we should enjoy traveling now, because once we start our family, it will be over.
They couldn't have been more wrong.
There is a misconception that traveling has to end once you have children. As soon as your title changes to mom or dad, you have to set your passport aside and come to the realization your days of jetting across the globe are through.
When Milena was born in 2016, not only did we continue to travel, we have been traveling more! The day Milena was placed in my arms, my most important role of my entire life began. As her mother, I know it is my role to my daughter to show her the world and introduce her to its' cultures and beauty. My duty to her is to educate her on the diversity of the globe and how amazing it is to meet people from different backgrounds. I want to show her a world where she can be anything, go anywhere and have a life fueled by passion and happiness.
Our family's biggest hobby is to travel, and now that we have a child it doesn't have to stop. We now get to create new memories with Milena. Sharing our passion of traveling with my daughter is priceless and has brought me so much joy in seeing the world through her eager eyes.
Kids learn patience
Patience and traveling go hand in hand. There is a lot of waiting involved when you travel and it doesn't go away once you have kids. Whether its waiting in line at customs, driving for hours on a road trip, or waiting for a taxi, you quickly learn to get used to waiting.
Your children will be by your side as you patiently sit in the airport waiting for your luggage to arrive. Kiddos are like sponges and they will watch as you accept these uncontrollable circumstances and take everything in stride. Often times when we have to wait while we travel, creativity will take over and we occupy ourselves with our imaginations. This skill will be valuable for your children as they take this over into other parts of their lives.
Please raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimized by an airline company? Mean Girls aside, we've all had our luggage lost, flights delayed/canceled or missed a connection. Obstacles happen when we travel. It rains when you are at Disneyland, your daughter gets sick all over her carseat, or the hotel loses your reservation.
Burg Eltz, Germany
As you travel with children, they will learn to roll with the punches and not take every road-block like its the end of the world. It helps them be able to eat anything, sleep anywhere and adapt to unforeseen situations. Being flexible will allow them to learn to find new opportunities and not let one bad incident ruin a good day. There is excitement in the unexpected and children who travel will learn that when one option is canceled, dozens more are waiting to be experienced.
Build a life of adventure
We all know how we feel when we explore a new country or hike a new trail. It sparks a sense of excitement in us all as we discover new places and discover new things about ourselves. So why would that be any different for children?
Taking your kids outside of their normal routines gives them time to seek new adventures outside of their comfort zones. Children naturally have a sense of wonder and they love to explore their surroundings. Traveling from an early age allows your children to build a life that is based on adventure as they soak up their new experiences across the globe.
Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica
Create a love of traveling
Its only natural that if your children grow up traveling, they will build a life for themselves with travel at its core. At a young age, they will see how big the world is and that it is waiting for them to go and explore. Their childhood will be surrounded by walking through new cities, hiking foreign trails, and staring out the airplane window excited to discover a new place.
In the future, your kids will see the benefit and excitement of traveling the world. As they grow into adults, you will share a bond with one another and may just have a travel buddy for life. As we continue to jet across the globe with Milena, I am excited for the day she and I can take a mother/daughter trip together as friends. Sharing a love of travel will only strengthen our bond and provide us years upon years of memories together.
Learn about other cultures
As a parent, it is important for Ryan and I to raise Milena to be a globally-minded adult. We want her to appreciate and respect cultures from all over the world and understand how beautiful our differences are.
Being exposed to different countries early on allows children to embrace the uniqueness of the human race. The more children travel and are exposed to other cultures, the more they are introduced to new foods, languages, music, attire and personalities. Traveling promotes a global mindset and will only provide your children with an open and accepting nature. This in turn teaches them kindness, acceptance, and even generosity.
Milena is growing up in a bilingual household as Ryan is from Germany and I'm from the States. So on a daily basis she is surrounded by German and English, and now that we live in Costa Rica she is being introduced to Spanish. We constantly emphasize the importance of Milena learning one or two more languages. While to some this may seem like a recipe for confusion for our daughter, she has taken it all with stride and knows how to say several words in German and Spanish while excelling in her English.
When children or adults are exposed to another language, it gives them a better understanding of their own background. Your children will be able to see how different languages are in other cultures and makes them more aware of the grammar in their first-language.
"When children or adults are exposed to another language, it gives them a better understanding of their own background. "
In addition, its proven that creativity is increased when you study a foreign language. This gives your children an added bonus to travel as they will hear other languages and accents constantly. If your child is able to pick up another language while they travel, it will only excel them even further. Their memories and ability to multitask are often improved and they become more perceptive to their surroundings. All of these skills will make them better listeners and more confident in their travels.
Friends from all over the world
For children, language is not an issue when it comes to building a sand castle together, or taking turns on the slide or swimming together in a pool. As we've traveled the world with Milena, she has come to have several friends from other countries, all who speak another language. It gives her a chance to learn to interact with other kids from different backgrounds and ages.
Traveling teaches your children to be more social. Children are completely innocent to any of the world's prejudice and learn that kids from all over the world can be their friend.
Building a stronger family
Arenal National Park, Costa Rica
This is the biggest reason why I love to travel with my daughter. When my family and I take a vacation together no matter how far or long the trip is, it gives us a needed break from work, school and stress to simply be together. We are solely focused on each other as we explore our new destination as a family.
Traveling can force you out of your comfort zone and being with family makes you rely on each other for support. It helps you build positive memories with your children and is the best time to connect with another. While your children may not remember all of the memories from their early travels, it allows you to create a strong bond with each other from the start.
And the memories they do remember, will last a lifetime as they will cherish the time they spent with you exploring the world.
No one ever said traveling with kids is easy. It comes with its own set of challenges and a major learning curve. However, the joys of seeing the world through your children's eyes is the most rewarding memory you'll ever have. The learning opportunities and confidence your children will gain will be more of an education than a classroom will ever be.