“Once the kids are older (or out of the house), then we’ll explore the world.”
Is this you?
We’ve been conditioned to believe that travel is for twenty-somethings, couples, and retirees.
People throw out many different reasons why long-term travel isn’t for kids, or that parents who do take their kids out of school or away from their homes, families, and friends are only doing it for their own selfish reasons.
We want to explain why travel is for kids, and debunk some of the ridiculous myths surrounding long-term family travel.
They won’t remember it
Some believe they’re too young, and they won’t remember it.
Do we really believe that?
Do we really think our children won’t remember coming face to face with a live giraffe and feeding it from a stick they hold in their hand, watching it’s long, purple tongue curl around the leaves before yanking them back into it’s mouth?
Do we really think they won’t remember climbing onto the back of a ginormous elephant, as it’s prickly hairs as sharp as needles poke into their legs, and it’s gigantic trunk reaches up to tap them on the head?
Maybe you’re right. Everyday life is much more exciting. They have a better chance of remembering what happens at school everyday or that next episode of whatever is on TV. While we’re at it, we might as well not read to them – they probably won’t remember it anyway, right?
Probably better to keep them home instead.
It’s too expensive, and they won’t appreciate it
Some believe that travel is too expensive, and there’s no point in taking the kids.
It simply costs too much to create lifelong memories of swimming beneath a tropical waterfall, or collecting seashells and chasing hermit crabs on a remote beach.
the ultimate field trip?
Travel is just too high-priced. We simply can’t afford to learn about history and culture first-hand, walking among the ruins of ancient temples, exploring rice paddies, and observing ethnic festivals in an up-close-and-personal way.
Our children don’t really need those experiences anyway.
Let’s keep them home instead, and spend money on what really matters – like a bigger and better home, making sure they have their own room, their own iPhones and iPads, with plenty of texting and Facebook time.
It just can’t be done, and they’re better off in school anyway
Many believe they’re better off in school, and taking them out for a month, or a semester, or a year, will destroy any chance they have in getting into that Ivy League school you know they’re bound for.
They need their education. You can’t take them away to trek to far off lands and learn about what happens there. That’s too far outside their comfort zone. That’s beyond the limits of their corner of the world. They won’t handle it well. There will be too many challenges, too many obstacles, language barriers, and strange foods.
It’s much better to keep them in the confines of the familiar, and within the comfy four walls of their home, school, and neighborhood.
It will be easier on both you and them, and that’s what life’s all about – making things as easy as possible.
Maybe these people who think this way are right?
Travel is not for kids. The awe of mind-blowing experiences should be reserved for twenty-somethings without responsibility. What do children need with a worldview that extends beyond themselves?
The interaction with other nationalities and cultures should be kept for couples without kids. What do our children need with friends of other lands and races?
Breathtaking beauty, world-famous museums, and ancient ruins are only for retirees anyway. Children can learn about all those things from textbooks at school.
After they’ve paid their dues, then they can travel the world.
And once they kids are gone, so can you.
Maybe instead of believing those myths or questioning what kids would gain from long-term travel, we should instead ask, “Why have children been excluded from an activity that is so obviously engaging, educational, and impactful?”
If you don’t believe the myths and want to learn more about long-term family travel, check out these articles:
- Sharing Travel with a New Generation
- 21 Reasons to Travel Around the World with Kids…From Those Who Have Done It
- Why You Should Forgo the American Dream and Let Travel Transform Your Life
- Getting Outside the Box: One Family’s Journey to Full Time Travel
- Why You Should Hostel with Your Family
- RTW Family Budget Planning