Why Travel With Kids? The 8 Benefits Of Travel On Children

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When I was pregnant with my first daughter, Kalyra, I felt as if those around me were celebrating something other than the life growing inside me.

They would say, “so that’s the end of the travels, hey? You can’t travel with kids now.” I felt as if I was walking a path to the gallows.

Little did they know that we had no intentions of stopping our travels because we had kids. In fact, traveling as a family was something we were looking forward to.

Travel is not just for adults, there are many benefits to travel for kids.

baby and toddler playing on sand in Vanuatu
Exploring Secret Beach, Vanuatu

I was determined to prove the naysayers wrong and prove that travel would do wonders for my children.

I wanted to be like the family I had met on the slow boat from Laos to Thailand, who had an active 3-year-old and a nine-month-old baby carted around prams and backpacks. It looked challenging, but they managed.

And most importantly, they were happy.

Why Travel With Kids? The Benefits Of Travel For Children

Here are some of the benefits of travel on children…

1. Close Family Bonding Time With Happy Parents

family posing in front o Twelve Apostles -
12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

When you go on a family holiday, you leave all the worries of your everyday life behind.

There are no schedules to adhere to, no toys to pick up, no errands to run, no school to attend, no bosses to answer to, and no end of day exhaustion that leaves you barely able to mumble a “Hello, tell me about your day,” to your child.

You can even live a little dangerously, like having an ice cream every day, or staying up past 10pm.

What your children need most is loving, happy parents who spend quality moments with them. When we travel together we strengthen our family bond with shared memories of adventure, carefree living, exploration, laughter and play time.

2. They Learn to Value Memories, Not Just Possessions or Achievements

young girl looking at koala and mum patting it
Koala interaction at Dreamworld Gold Coast

There is nothing wrong with owning things, or achieving; it becomes an issue when we rely on them for meaning or identity.

When children travel from an early age they learn to live in the present.

They learn to get out of their comfort zone, do what scares them and have a childhood that they can look back on one day and appreciate (although they might not appreciate it at the time).

Life is about enjoying experiences and accumulating memories — it’s what shapes who we are and is the only thing that we can take with us to the end.

It also teaches them that they don’t need much stuff, especially if you’re traveling hand luggage only.

3. The World Becomes Their Classroom

watching aboriginal demonstration at Dreamworld, Gold Coast, Australia

Once a child enters school, their innate desire to explore, ask questions, and goof off slowly gets shoved back into a box of rules, regulation, and conformity.

When you travel with your children, all of this is removed.

The world teaches your child based on their curiosities and interests.

It’s a natural absorption of knowledge and inner knowing and experiential based learning schools can never replicate with such enrichment.

The Earth becomes their classroom and all its global citizens and cultures, with varying degrees of skin colour, languages and beliefs become their teachers.

Some would call it, “The village raising the child.” There is so much the locals in your vacation destination can teach your child without even trying.

4. Anyone Can Be Your Friend

two babies embracing
Savannah making friends with Alida in Vanuatu

My children are quickly learning that strangers can easily become friends. All it takes is a smile to break down barriers, a common connection, a few stories to share, games to play, and a laugh thrown in.

They are learning about what truly matters: connecting via laughter, smiles, and spiritual essence not labels, traditions, and beliefs—these differences become something to celebrate, rather than fear or judge.

“It is because of fear that we judge, it’s because of judging that we hate, and it is because of hating that we hurt.”

My daughters haven’t had many opportunities to develop long-term friendships, but they never have any problems making friends wherever they may be.

5. Travel Is Character Building

people looking at dirt
Learning form Aboriginal guide in Flinders Ranges

There is nothing more humbling than travel. By seeing how different cultures and communities live, you learn so much about life and the world we live in.

Not only does travel teach you thinks like compassion, understanding, and empathy, but it also teaches your children about prejudices and stereotypes, and acceptance of the ways other people live.

These are life lessons you cannot learn in schools, and gives you a totally new perspective of the world and our place in it.

6. Travel Teaches Kids To Problem-Solve

Young girl looking at a map of an island
Using a map to get around

There is no greater way to learn to overcome obstacles than by watching mom and dad try and negotiate a taxi fare with someone who speaks a different language and uses a different currency.

As well as meeting new people, traveling to new places, and getting to witness all the amazing attractions and landmarks, kids are also introduced to a variety of challenges that require patience and persistence.

Much of the time when you’re traveling, you need to be a bit hands-on and figure out a new way to do things that you do at home in a different way, such as finding a safe way to keep kids strapped into a tuk tuk when there are no car seats available.

7. They Learn To Try New Foods

food in a bowl
Kalyra eating street food in Bangkok

Most children these days are fussy eaters, but when you travel, it’s unlikely that they can eat chicken nuggets every day.

Children who travel learn to embrace new foods and try different things.

8. They May Find Their Passion

savannah taking photo of the sunset
Savannah’s passion for travel in Cinque Terre

When children become teenagers and they are planning what to do after high school, they may think back to that time they spent on family vacations and learned about different types of careers.

They could become freedivers, wine makers, or choose a career in wildlife conservation.

It’s not just about life now, but in the future as well. Our Savannah, who is now 12 and has spent her whole life traveling, is determined to create a career around travel! First stop – study abroad in Oxford, UK!

Final Thoughts

Family getting a photo at the beach
Priceless quality family time in Staniel Cay

Travel with kids is not an easy decision to make. There are the constant fears of the possible negative impact upon their lives.

Staying at home and choosing a conventional life won’t take these fears away. You’re a parent and that comes with never ending questions and concerns.

You can’t make your decisions based upon an imaginary future.

The challenges aren’t too different on the road than what you would experience if you were living the settled life; it’s just in a different location.

This time you are managing it as a parent who is happy and fulfilled and continuing to do the things you love.

More Family Travel Tips

Need more inspiration about traveling as a family? Here are some other helpful guides…

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Here are the 4 main reasons family travel benefits our kids. Learn about education, friendships and close bonding times

How do you feel travel benefits kids? Let us know in the comments.

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34 thoughts on “Why Travel With Kids? The 8 Benefits Of Travel On Children”

  1. A great post! And just what I needed to read right now. My husband and I have been nomadic for 16 months and we always talk about what we’ll do when we have children. We feel so torn… there’s such a large pull to live a conventional life, but the more we travel the more we realise that that lifestyle’s not for us.
    Thank you for showing that there IS another way to do it, and that it can be just as beneficial for children, if not more.
    My only question is – how do your parents feel about it? I know our parents will be very upset if we’re not around very often…

    1. I think they have come to terms with it now. My parents have always been supportive and have always encouraged me to do what makes me happy.

      It’s upsetting for sure, but I think the wisest decision is to create a lifestyle that is best for you and makes you happiest. What good are you to anyone if you can’t be the best version of yourself?

      If that means you have a lifestyle that’s more nomadic but you are happier then I’m sure your parents will be okay with it. They’ll learn to accept it soon enough.

  2. We have travelled to Northern Ireland, Queensland numerous times and most recently Fiji with our 3 kids who are 3,5 and 9. We love it. As you say it’s a great way to bond together as a family and getaway from the regular stresses of life for a while. Following your travels inspires us to keep travelling with the kids. Many people see travel as a luxury but it just depends on what your priorities are. If travel is one of them you can make it happen but you just have to watch what you spend your dollars on.

    1. Yes for sure Leonie. Travel really doesn’t have to be a luxury, it’s more of a way of thinking. Even if you can’t afford to travel to far-flung destinations, you can certainly travel more in your own home town. IT is all about priorities. I’d rather have the travel then a mortgage and a TV!

  3. We don’t live a life of travel like you but we did see the importance of time away with just family. When our kids were little we didn’t think twice about taking them out of school. We did that as long as we could. We are in our 2nd week as empty nesters. We don’t regret any missed days of school. Our time with our kids is so short. Traveling full time must be amazing. I would have done it had I thought about it. I’m sure it benefits the kids but the family bond you are creating is what will really matter in the end. What you are doing is priceless.

    1. I’m so glad you have those memories to look back on now. And as you’ll say you’ll never regret taking them out of school to have them. It’s priceless. I think any time spent travelling with your family, even if it’s just 2 weeks a year, is so healthy for the bond

  4. Love this article! They also told us once you have a child you cannot travel anymore. Parents, friends and even other travelbloggers. Like you we are showing people that travel is not only possible but just as great as before kids.

    Our daugther has gone to usa, canada, cambodia, thailand,vietnam,curacao, panama and several europian countries all before the age of 2. Sometimes it is not easy like the long 8 hour bus rides but we have so much fun together. And we are happy!
    Will share you video!

    1. Oh those bus rides are killers! But what amazing adventures you have as a result. I think your rewards will always be as great as the sacrifices and the work you have to put into get them. What an experience for your daughter!

  5. Wonderful post! I used to get them comments when I was pregnant with my first. I would respond with, “No, I’ll probably travel more.” I had the motivation to now so my kids the world. I agree with the bonding aspect and I just love when my kids make vacation buddies.

    1. Oh yes. We’ve been travelling with some friends we met on the road for about a month now. It’s been so awesome and the kids have all become so close!

  6. Thank you for sharing! There are so many people who think that kids are somehow not portable but we know better. You can take them anywhere!

    Sometimes we travel with our kids, sometimes we travel without them (and miss them horribly.) We took the kids on our first trip years ago for a wedding in Costa Rica; we only had two then, ages 11 years and 13 months. People told us “You’ll be so sorry you took that baby! You’re going to be miserable.” It was wonderful! Children see things that adults would overlook, giving us a new view of the trip that we would not have had without them. Children also open doors-the locals loved them, and we were welcomed into homes and kitchens.

    In July 2015 we are moving with our 3 girls to Cozumel, Mexico. It will be a base to explore into Mexico and learn what it’s like to live outside of the U.S. and all of us are so excited-especially the kids! They love to travel (because no one has told them they can’t!)

    1. What a fantastic experience for you all, especially the kids!

      Babies are pretty easy to travel with and you are right, they do force you to look at things in new ways.

  7. We have been travelling Australia for the past 19 months and what our son has learnt he would never get in a school system. The closeness that we have become as a family you would not get living in a daily routine. We love this life and don’t want to go back to routine and a rut!
    Well written, I agree with all of it.

    1. 19 months!! How aweseome, such an amazing experience for your son. We started with the intention of being a year, that’s being extended to 18 months now and who knows after that! WE love it

  8. Your and other traveling families are taking the rough, uncleared path, but at the end lies a rewarding secret beach few others make it to (aka the dream life everybody pines after).

    The established path leads to the murky, crowded beach of mediocrity that everyone always complains about, yet never does anything about. Keep going for that ideal beach, even if there’s steep grades, narrow sections with severe cliff side drops, and a smattering on poison ivy threatening on the edges …. it’s worth the trouble!

  9. I agree there are many benefits to travelling with kids. Our lives are pretty conventional in a lot of respects but since we had our third child three years, we have travelled overseas every year and now our three kids are all accomplished travellers, we are looking at going further afield. Many people I know find travelling with kids too stressful – we just kept going and now we are on the other side.

    1. Yes. The more you do it the easier it becomes as you understand the dynamics and how to make it work. We’ve got a great flow going now! We’re are you thinking of going next? Location independence?

  10. I am from Europe and my husband is from South America. We have a baby daughter and I believe traveling will come naturally for her. I want her to learn the culture of both of her countries and my hope and dream is that I will be able to show her even more places from this beautiful planet.

  11. Reading this post was such a relieve!
    You are for me what the couple on the slow boat in Laos was for you.

    If they can do it, why can’t I?
    The be completely honest, I’m not even married or in a relationship at the moment, and I’m (horrified faces)…37 years old!!

    But I’ve been very close to wear the white dress once. Too bad I run away to travel indefinitely 🙂
    I bless the day I decided to do so, and to become a travel blogger. Because of this decision I now know that traveling and creating a family on the road is somehow possible.

    I have a friend who doesn’t travel full time but she jumps on a plane for a few weeks or a month with her husband and her two kids, and they are thinking about moving to Bali one day.

    I will definitely refer them to this article, I’m sure it will give them the final “push” to make the decision…

    And who knows, maybe one day I will follow your steps too. You’re a great example!

    1. Oh thank you Celia! I love being able to show people they can travel with kids. There are so many ways you can do it and if you can’t manage the full-time then definitely at least going away together as often as you can is just as good!

  12. We can see in the video how kids can get people towards themselves 🙂
    They are the little stars to create trips more shiny.

  13. I totally agree with what is written in here. I’m a single mom to a 5yr old boy and 2yr old girl. I’ve always loved travelling, and never did I think of having kids would hinder that passion. When my son was just 11months old, we visited Hong Kong and it wasn’t easy back then, with all these crying in the plane, not enough milk, diaper changes, etc. But I managed. Fast forward to when I have my daughter. She just turned a year old when the three of us (me, my son, and her) went on a 19hr travel from California to the Philippines, and it wasn’t an easy feat either. We’re so used to long drives but long travels by air is different. But I managed as well. Now, taking these two with me wherever I go is a breeze for me. Me and my son just recently went to Korea, and it is so true that having them see the world at an early age, shape them more, it makes them a citizen of the world.

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