Life lessons are all around us, with every experience we encounter. There is always a wonderful teaching moment for kids to learn from and grow—however, nothing as special as the experience of traveling and exploring the world around us. I really believe that Traveling with your kids is not only a fantastic experience for the entire family, but it is educational too. There are many valuable lessons children picked up through travels that contribute to their growth. Here are some of the lessons:
1. They learn how to travel
You don't find yourself magically at your destination. There is a process that gets you there. Your kids learn the entire process by watching you (the parents) prep for the vacation ahead of time, getting ready for the trip. They learn it takes research, planning, and time to select the most affordable tickets, convenient accommodations to stay for the family, currencies, budgeting, and so much more. During that process, they learn how to behave at the airport, board a plane, what happens at customs, and using the cab or train to get to their final destination. Kids learn how to travel from their parents. They learn immensely from observing and be around their parents when prepping for the trip. They can't know all these things when you leave them behind and travel alone. They need to experience it practically.
2. How to pack
The more the kids travel, the better they get at packing the essentials. They get to learn the tricks of packing. Tricks such as being able to know they can't pack all their belongings whenever they are traveling. They only have to pick the most important and most needed things. Also, your kids will learn how to pack their clothes to manage space in their suitcases. Some of these tips include rolling their clothes in a specific way in their luggage to manage space and also minimize wrinkles, as well as deciding which clothes or shoes to bring for a specific adventure. They will know these things when they travel with you.
3. Decision making
Decision-making is one of the skills they will learn while prepping for the trips with parents and arriving at their travel destination. They will fast learn that things usually don't happen as planned and that it's necessary to improvise or change plans and decide what is best to continue the trip. It might be a flight that has been canceled, or planned activities that are now closed, or a missed train, or taking the wrong bus. They get to learn about railway schedules using a map. Also, they get to know the repercussion of making wrong decisions, like taking the wrong bus and finding themselves in the wrong location. All these life experiences help them be better at making decisions and prioritize better. They practically get used to a life outside their comfort zones.
4. How to adapt
Adaptation is another excellent skill your kids learn when they travel. They become aware of themselves and the reality surrounding them. They realize they are no longer in their usual environment, so they need to quickly adapt to the new domain to enjoy the moment.
5. Thinking as a global citizen
Traveling the world builds your kids and empowers them on how to think as a global citizen. Gustave Flaubert said, "Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world." When your kids travel with you, they will have their own understanding of how the world is. They will also learn many things from other places they visit and realize how similar we all are over the world. It will steer the spirit of a global citizen thinker -- a global citizen that thinks more about what benefits the world on a global scale. They will be able to air their opinions anywhere they are based on their experiences. They will see the world beyond their own belief, religion, and culture.
Before we can save the world, we must put aside our differences. We’re all on the same Rock! – Michael Cawood
6. Building confidence
When kids participate in the planning of the trip and are allowed to order food, purchase their souvenirs, be the leader of the day during a family adventure by choosing the activity of the day or being responsible for reminding everyone of the schedule of the day, for example, all contribute in boosting their confidence.
I’m sure you will be a proud parent when you see your child confidently talking to the steward, making orders in a restaurant, or choosing the activity for the day. When they travel the world, it helps them build confidence.
7. Being responsible
They are getting used to so many things, and they are making decisions on their own now. So they are gradually becoming responsible kids. This knowledge alone makes them know they are accountable for the outcome of any decision they make. It's no longer a world where you do everything for them. For example, you can place the responsibility of ordering foods while on vacation on them. By the time they realize they just placed orders on behalf of the family, they will feel responsible and proud of themselves.
The fact that they can now adapt to new things and new places makes them more flexible. As a parent, you must be happy seeing your child adapting to new cultures and customs, appreciating and respecting others' homelands by being open-minded and flexible.
By traveling the world, kids develop their leadership skills. They get to call the shot and make some decisions on behalf of the family. This awareness alone helps build their leadership skills. They have the real feel of leading and representing a group of people.
10. Being open-minded
Malcolm Forbes said, "Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one." Remember, we earlier agreed that Traveling is part of education? Here is why it is good for your kids to travel the world with you. It helps them to be open-minded. They become aware of the fact that the world doesn't revolve around them alone. So they tend to respect other people's opinions whether they agree with them or not. What better way to be a leader?
When they leave their comfort zones and experience life in a different place, they will learn how to tolerate people more and appreciate and value other types of food, lifestyle, religion, culture, etc. They learn that the world is not about them alone. It comprises of other people and their beliefs. So this gives them the awareness to be more tolerant.
The best way for your kids to groom their communication skills is by traveling and experiencing life differently. It helps them to learn different languages and gestures from other parts of the world. They become bolder in addressing people as they find and think of ingenious ways to communicate, especially when traveling in a country where the language is totally foreign. It also forces them to want to learn that language, as they want to be understood and understand the person they are speaking to. There is no doubt that their communication skills will improve, especially if they want to learn a new language and are immersed in that country.
13. Problem-solving skills
Another thing they learn when they travel is problem-solving skills. As a person who has visited different places and gathered different experiences, they already know how to understand other people's interest with an open mind and evaluate the options before them. This is precisely how they groom their problem-solving skills and how to become leaders in the future.
14. Being in the moment
It is an opportunity for your child to disconnect from their usual world and routine and be in the moment. This is a time for them to learn new things, meet new people, and have unusual fun. Nobody enjoys this kind of moment than kids. As a parent, you would have other things to think about and figure out, but the kids are all in for the moment.
15. Diversity is a strength
When they travel the world, they will discover that the world consists of people of different beliefs, ethnicities, religions, and cultures. They will understand that many people from different parts of the world have their own perspectives. Thus, your children will learn how to look at things from different perspectives. Traveling helps your kids acknowledge other people and respect them and their opinions. It makes them realize that the world is beautiful because of all that diversity. They also learn that incredible diversity worldwide is a strength for the entire humanity that we, as human beings, should cherish and value.
16. Ways of handling things
Traveling gives them exposure and experience. With these, they know that there is more than one way to handle things. They are no longer limited to their own ideas alone. They've explored the world and acquired more skills.
17. It's education
Saint Augustine said, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." Without exploring the world, one's education is not complete. There are several valuable things for your children to learn when they travel to explore a world different from theirs. They get to meet new and interesting people, they get to see new things and different ways of doing things, and they also get to see different cultures and diverse lifestyles that can impact their lives in the future. Exploring the world is a gift. Travel is education itself.