My guest travel blogger today is Lisa, from Gone With The Family. I love the interesting and intellectual details she shares in her travel posts chronicling her family’s adventures.
Voted Circle of Moms – Top 25 Travel Blogs by Parents in 2011, today Lisa is sharing some excellent advice with us on the “Why’s, How’s, and Where’s” of traveling with your kids.
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For as long as I can remember I have had an insatiable wanderlust driving me to explore the world. I was an avid reader from a young age and I suspect that reading about faraway places is what fueled my desire to travel the world and see it all for myself.
I didn’t have the opportunity to travel until I was an adult but once I had a taste of it I couldn’t stop – not even after I became a mother. I have itchy feet and I am simply incapable of staying home.
When we return from a trip, I’m generally online planning another before the suitcases are unpacked, and definitely before the laundry is caught up.
We went on our first family vacation early in 1997 when my older daughter, Katie, was 4 months old. It was only a short flight to Florida where we rented a condo for two weeks but getting that first trip out of the way gave me the confidence to plan the next one.
I played it fairly safe when Katie was younger – preferring to travel in Canada and the United States and keeping our flights to a maximum of three hours or so. Then just when I was ready to start venturing on more exotic trips with her – Emma was born.
I was now experienced enough to know that we could travel with kids though, so we just continued on planning trips that were farther from home and Emma adapted quite easily.
WHY Travel with Kids Is Worth It:
Travel feeds my soul and I want to ignite the same passion in my kids by showing them that there is a huge world out there just waiting to be experienced. Traveling with kids may seem like a daunting proposition at first but the benefits far outweigh any logistical issues. Sure things go wrong some days but the good far outweighs the bad.
Travel teaches flexibility because being away from home necessitates adjusting to a way of life that is different – including adapting to new customs and new foods. Kids also learn to deal with the unexpected as plans often go awry when traveling and the only option is to just roll with it.
Exposure to other cultures and ways of life teaches acceptance of diversity as the more we are all exposed to people around the world the more we realize that essentially everyone is the same.
The educational aspect of travel is undeniable as seeing and experiencing a place for oneself makes a far greater impression than reading a text book. I was reminded of this again a few months ago on a visit to Normandy. Katie had been studying World War II in her grade 10 history class and was quite moved by our D-Day tour. Afterward she told me that she had learned more that day than she had during the year in the classroom and she gained a whole new understanding of what it had been like for the Allied soldiers as they landed on the beaches of Normandy.
There’s also a benefit derived from enjoying unscheduled family time without the daily stress of rushed meals, after school activities and homework assignments.
We still have squabbles when we are traveling, but I feel much calmer and able to deal with emotional outbursts when I’m not also nagging about unfinished homework, and spending what seems like hours in the car driving kids to and fro.
HOW Travel with Kids Is Worth It:
Planning is the key to ensuring a successful trip with kids. Spontaneous doesn’t work so well with little ones so the basics like transportation and accommodations should be covered upfront. Research about the destination will provide information about the activities that a family might enjoy and a flexible, not too ambitious, itinerary will ensure that time is well spent. Remember that little legs can’t move as fast as everyone else and recognize that slowing down and seeing your destination through the eyes of a child may result in a more meaningful experience. You might not make it to all the must-sees but you will likely enjoy what you do see much more.
Take your kids anywhere you want to explore – whether it be close to home or on the other side of the globe. Nearly any destination in the world can be family-friendly – after all, families live in those communities too.
WHERE Travel with Kids Is Worth It:
We have had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places with our kids, share incredible experiences and make wonderful memories since that very first trip with a four month old nearly 16 years ago.
We have traveled in 7 of the Canadian provinces, Alaska, Hawaii and several other states and we have been to Europe 5 times including London, Paris and Rome.
We have visited theme parks and we have been on cruises. About the only thing that we haven’t done is camping – and that’s just not going to happen!
“Traveler” is the word that I use to describe myself and I hope that my children will someday identify themselves in the same way. If I can mould them into young adults who want to explore the planet then I will be satisfied that I have done my job well.
My favorite quote is St. Augustine’s – “the world is a book, and those that do not travel read only a page” and I intend to read as many pages as possible for as long as I am able.
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About the author:
Lisa Goodmurphy is a lawyer living near Toronto, Canada who left the corporate world to stay home with her two daughters, Katie and Emma (now aged 16 and 9). Badly bitten by the travel bug years ago, Lisa considers herself fortunate that her family is equally enthusiastic about exploring the world. You can read about her family’s travel adventures on her blog at www.gonewiththefamily.com
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This guest post is part of my Travel Week Extravaganza. There will be great travel related articles and travel gear reviews and giveaways all week… so be sure to check out the fun!