Why I Believe in Traveling with Kids. . .And You Should Too!

I have to admit, I tend to get one of two reactions from people when it comes to our family travel plans.  "Oh, you're going somewhere again? Don't you ever get tired of being on the go?" or "Oh, you're going somewhere again! How exciting!" There seems to be 2 definitive camps when it comes to family travel - either people get it or they don't.  I've often had to answer critics who like to say that the kids are too little to remember this or those that feel they'd have just as much fun relaxing on a beach somewhere, but I take a different view.  I 100%, wholeheartedly believe in family travel for so many reasons and this just seemed like a good time to share them.  While I don't use this as a space to get political, I will say that the new ban on travel to Cuba stirred up some strong emotions for me over the past week.  Our family cruised to Cuba on a 5 night Carnival Cruise out of Tampa in 2017 and it was a fabulous trip.  Hearing news of this travel ban really hit home for me and reminded me of why I'm so passionate about family travel.

Before we get too far into this conversation, I'd like to point out an important distinction - I'm calling this family "travel," not family "vacation."  I think there is a difference in the two.  Vacation is something we do to relax, unwind, and forget about the worries of the world.  This is really important and there are plenty of places to do this.  Vacation and travel can intersect and you can travel to new and exotic places while also experiencing a true "vacation." However, the family travel plans that we tend to make don't often resemble "vacations" by most definitions.  We are usually busy going from place to place, exploring all there is to see and do.  Family travel isn't always easy - especially with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers in tow - but there are certainly some undeniable perks that make it all worth it.

As a former social studies teacher, current school administrator, and a lifelong educator, I believe very passionately in developing citizens of the world.  Kids need to be exposed more than just their local community and understand that they fit into a much bigger picture of global society.  So far our family has traveled to Cuba, the Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, and we're heading to Canada in just a few short weeks.  With young kids, we often don't spend our time in museums, but instead exploring the beauty of nature and interacting with the culture that surrounds us.  One of their favorite memories in Cuba was spending the day hanging out with our tour guide.  As the youngest guests on the 11 hour bus tour - and by youngest I mean youngest by at least a decade - we were nervous about how the day was going to go.  But she welcomed the boys, made them feel a part of the group, and even gave them handmade toys from one of the local artisans.  Our oldest talked frequently to the farmers and others that we met on our tour as he explored their culture.  It was actually a very ironic moment for me this past weekend when Brody asked me when we could go back to Cuba.  I found myself at a loss of how to explain a travel ban to a country that had such an impact on him seems fair or makes sense.

As we prepare for our upcoming trip to Canada, we once again find ourselves planning an itinerary that will be entertaining as well as enriching to our children.  We've decided to mix in a healthy dose of natural wonder and beauty with several tours planned of Niagara Falls - including boat tours, behind the scene tours, and hiking trails to take it all in.  In addition, we'll be visiting Great Wolf Lodge for 2 days while there.  The boys are so excited to check another country off their world traveller list and we've been mapping our road trip on US maps at least weekly to study geography so they can learn the states we'll be traveling through while on the road.


There are so many ways to turn family travel into learning experiences.  Even simple getaways to relaxing destinations can become enriched with a visit to a museum, aquarium, or cultural heritage site.  Remember that travel with little ones doesn't have to be over the top - in fact, it's often true the less is more.  Take the trip rather than buying the stuff when it comes to spending money on your family and enjoy all the world around you has to offer!  I am a strong believer that we have a duty to create citizens of the world who feel a need to take care of each other.  Expanding the mind with travel and exposing kids to new cultures is a great way to introduce them to people and places around the world - all while making family memories that will last a lifetime!


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