Many people believe that traveling with children is something they should not try until they grow up to become teenagers. There’s this myth that traveling with children won’t allow you to enjoy the new places you see, let alone make the best of it. Others have this idea that traveling is bad for children, as children are incapable of enjoying trips, and it only makes them exhausted and noisy.
While children can be annoying, whiny and cry for unreasonable things, (because they are children), traveling with then is in fact, one of the best things parents can do for their little ones. There are several reasons why traveling with children is better for both parents and their precious ones is like no other.
9 Reasons Why Parents Should Travel With Their Children
Since no human alive is identical in character, including children, you cannot say that all parents and children have the same benefits of traveling together. Making the best out of a trip, depends a lot on parents, their behaviors and patience.
Yet, some of the main reasons and benefits of children and parents traveling together are listed and explained below:
Traveling Together Helps Children Bond With Parents
During a trip, either if it is just another city away from your home, your children will get to spend more time with you. There will be less chores and obligations than in usual days at home, so you will all have more time to spend and enjoy with each other.
Even in case of a misunderstanding or a fight between you and your little one, there will be no personal room to go away and hide, so you will soon make up and act as if nothing happened.
You will also share new experiences together, you will get to tell your child how smart you are, and what you know about the new places you are visiting.
It Teaches Children New Things
A child will never learn geography, history and architecture better than by traveling. While learning in a classroom is one thing, seeing those things in person is a whole other level. Your child will be even more interested in learning, and will not easily forget those lessons.
They will also learn more about other languages, race, and how not all people may look or speak or dress or act the same, and the world has different ways, but we are all human at the end of the day.
It Makes Parents More Patient
While at home, when tired from work you can easily lose patience with your children, during a trip you will be more relaxed. You will also try to make the best out of your trip so you will push yourself to be more easygoing, whatever your child does.
This will soon be affixed into your character, so you will be more patient even back at home, at least for a while.
Children Become More Compassionate and Understanding
Traveling will let your children see people of different races, nationalities, speaking different languages and with different lifestyles and conditions. This will enable them to naturally understand and accept differences, and thus make them more compassionate in life.
Helps Children Become More Adaptable
When you start traveling, you may not notice, but your children will become more adaptable with new environments, around new people, different food and lifestyle. This will help them become more adaptable, so in the future when they leave home for college or elsewhere, you’ll have less things to worry about.
Traveling Brings Children Closer to Nature
If you will be traveling to greener spots, mountains, seas, livers, lakes, safaris, and anywhere else to see more of nature, your children will soon feel nature closer to them and know its importance.
As they grow up you will notice how they become environmental and caring about animals and plants, and nature in general.
It Makes Children More Creative
Seeing places different from the environment they are used to lets your children explore and express themselves better. While they grow up, one trip at a time, they will become more creative.
Helps Parents to Understand and Know their Children Better
A trip will enable you to know your children better, learn about their needs, their wishes and their dreams, in ways you wouldn’t have possibly learned while at home.
Extraordinary environments bring extraordinary topics up, in particular during long car trips or flights, so you’ll have plenty to talk with your child. If you are patient, you will learn much more about your child than you would ever think you could.
Creating Lifelong Memories
Of course, birthdays, anniversaries, first words, first steps and first day at kindergarten or school will be the most memorable moments of you with your children. However, by traveling together you will create memories of a whole other level, you will experience as you never believed you could, and what is more important, these memories will never face away. They will stay with even when the day comes from your children to move away.
11 Things to Do Before You Go on a Trip With Your Children
Check If Your Destination Is Rated as Safe
First things first, you may be as adventurous as one can be and love living in the edge, but when traveling with children try some safer adventures, if you can call them so.
Before you start planning everything, check if that country is listed as safe. Do not be scared of pick pocketing or mugging, but rather check the level of terrorist threats or civil unrests. Of course finding a place with zero danger is difficult, and will always be. You should just try to avoid countries that are rated as highly dangerous when traveling with children.
Explain the Trip to Your Children
After you decide where you want to go, sit with your children and explain it to your children. Tell them where you are going, how long will you stay, and what will you do. Tell them why this trip is important for both of you.
Try speaking to them in their level of understanding. I.e. if they are six, instead of saying “We are going to the Swiss Alps!” tell them “We are going to a place where there are a lot of high mountains with snow at the top, small houses, and blue lakes, which is called the Swiss Alps.”
Tell them about the activities you will be doing there, so they can get excited with you.
Check If Your Destination Country Is Rated as Safe
Check with the embassy of the country that you are planning to visit, whether you and your children need visas to go there. If yes, make sure you apply on time, by following all of the required procedures.
- If your destination country is located in Europe, check the application procedures here!
- If your destination country is located in Africa, check the application procedures here!
- If your destination country is located in Asia, check the application procedures here!
- If your destination country is located in South America, check the application procedures here!
- If your destination country is located in North America or the Caribbean, check the application procedures here!
- If your destination country is located in the Oceania, check the application procedures here!
Get Ready the Documents You Need to Enter Your Destination Country
Every country has its own specific entry requirements. Most of them ask only for a passport and the visa, if applicable. However, others will also ask for some or all of the following:
- Identification Documentation for parents.
- Birth certificates for every child.
- Copies of birth certificates.
- Authorization from the parent not traveling (if applicable).
- Notes from the child’s non-present parents.
- Proof of travel insurance for every family member.
- Proof of financial means for the whole trip.
You should contact the embassy or representative mission of the country you want to visit, in your country of residence for further information in this regard.
Get Traveler’s Health Insurance for Your Whole Family
Though in some countries Health Insurance may not be mandatory for visitors, you should always purchase it for every family member for the whole period of your trip.
Food poisoning, a broken limb, sickness from sun, or even a simple flu, may cost you unimaginable amounts of money in many countries, if you do not have travel insurance. Getting travel insurance is more important than anything else when traveling with your children. This way you are sure that even if something happens, you will be able to afford medical treatment.
Pack Basic Medicines and Medical Documentation
When traveling with children, make sure you pack some basic medicines, as headache medicines, allergy medicines if your children have any, medicine for upset stomachs, motion sickness prevention medication and other medication that may apply to the condition of your child.
If your child suffers from any condition, make sure you take with you the documentation that proves it and the need for regular medication intake.
Make Sure You Pre-Book Everything You Can
Tourist destinations can be packed with people waiting, sometimes even a whole day, to enter and see. And waiting is not something children like to do.
Fortunately, today there are options to pre-book entry to most of the to0urist destinations in the world. When possible, make sure you pre-book so you won’t spend time waiting in line and make your kids get bored of the trip so quickly.
Learn How to Tell Special Needs in Local Languages
If your child has any special needs, particularly food-related and allergies, learn how to tell others in the local language. You can learn such phrases online within a few minutes. It will be very helpful once you are there.
Try teaching your children to say it too, if possible.
Check the Weather and Pack Accordingly
Weather has never been more predictable than now. You can just go online and learn what the weather will be in any corner of the world. Check the weather and pack according to the temperatures.
Make sure you always pack a thing or two for warmer and colder weather just in case.
Check If You Can Rent Baby Furniture at Your Destination Country
Carrying abroad baby furniture items, such as a pram, stroller, cot and highchair, can be a real burden. Before you travel, check if it is possible to rent such items at your destination country, either from the hotel/hostel where you will be staying or a company that offers such services.
Let Your Children Pack their Own Stuff
Of course, they will make a mess out of it, in particular if they are younger than eight. Yet, packing their own stuff will let them to become more responsible by giving them the feeling of being in charge of their own stuff.
You can make a checklist for them, so they can tick off everything they put in their bag. If they cannot read, draw each item in a piece of paper and tell them to cross over everything they put in their bag.
8 Things You Must Do During a Trip with Children
Have Your Kids Carry Their Bags
After letting them pack their own bag, let them carry it on their own. This doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) be the bag in which they have everything they need for the trip. Just some particular things that they would need to take out during their trip.
This would help your kid to become more responsible throughout the whole trip.
Seat kids away from the aisle
Whether you are traveling by bus or by plane, you should always try to seat your children by the window, or at least not by the aisle. They may get bored or start mocking other people, especially if the trip is long.
Tell Your Child to Take Pictures
It does not have to be a camera. That could even be an older smartphone that has a working camera. Tell them to take pictures of the things they like. This will keep them busy and allow them to express their creativity.
Who knows, this could even inspire them to become photographs of the future.
Always Have Snacks and Water with You
They are kids, so they may ask to eat even after a big meal. Always have snacks with you, even if your child is not a foodie. You never know when they get angry.
Water is necessary too. Make them drink even if they do not want too, in order to avoid dehydration.
Ask for Child Discounts
Airplanes, tourist attractions, restaurants and even public transport may offer children discount. Never forget to check out for them. Saving some money is never a bad idea.
Give Kids Your Contact Information
If they are older, make them memorize your full name and surname, phone number and the hotel where you are staying. Write a letter with all this information and further, and put it into their pocket. Tell them not to lose it.
If they are younger, write this information in a paper and put it inside their pocket. Tell them not to lose it, and if they get lost, tell them to show it to a policeperson.
Try Using Public Transport
Back at home, using public transport with children may be a real horror for you. Yet, when in a foreign country, tell your kids you will use public transport only this time, and if they like it, you will use it again.
Public transport may not only be an interesting experience for them, but will also help you save quite some money.
Avoid Risky Foods
When traveling alone, using street food may be something very acceptable. However, do not risk to feed that to your children to avoid any possible food poisoning. Avoid eating seafood, undercooked meats, peeled and raw fruits and vegetables, as well as unpasteurized dairy products.
BONUS: Don’t Stress Out If Things Go Wrong
It is always good to plan everything beforehand, and to be prepared for anything that may be coming. However, there is always a chance something will go wrong.
Do not stress out if something unforeseen comes along during your trip. Try to keep calm and find a way out in the best way possible. Even back at home, anything unpleasant could happen. Do not let a little thing ruing your trip. You are with your children, and whatever happens you may manage to find joy!
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