By Chris Price, Contributing Writer
When it comes to traveling, many couples would rather leave the kids at home than drag them along for the ride. There are some pretty good reasons to leave children with grandparents or other trusted family members or friends when traveling. These include reduced expenses and some nice alone time with a significant other. On the other hand, there are also some pretty good reasons to take the little tykes along with you. I was recently able to take my whole family on great European vacation that included stops in Madrid and Paris. Here are four reasons why it’s a great idea to bring the kiddos along for the ride. I’d love to hear any additional reasons you have in the comments.
1. It’s A Great Avenue For Education
Most kids tend to do much of their learning while at school. At least we hope they do. However, the classroom or the home school can be pretty boring, depending upon the teacher that your kid might happen to have during any given year. Reading a paragraph or a chapter in a textbook on Renaissance art is one thing. Actually taking your child across the pond to view works by Rembrandt or da Vinci is another thing entirely. With a visit to the Louvre or the British Museum, your child will get to actually see the Mona Lisa or the Rosetta Stone first hand, as well as exhibits on ancient and Classical peoples, and this can really bring life to an education and start your young student on a path that includes a love of lifelong learning.
2. Traveling Abroad Will Broaden Your Child’s Understanding Of Other Cultures
Many Americans live in pretty homogeneous communities. While cities in the US can be pretty cosmopolitan places, outlying areas in what many would call flyover country can have little in the way of diversity. This can become problematic for kids who grow up erroneously thinking that everyone else has pretty much the exact same view of the world that they have. Visiting another country can help children understand at an early age that there are people who speak different languages, wear different clothing and have different folkways and beliefs. While traveling abroad is not likely to radically change a child’s overall belief system, it can lead to a greater understanding and empathy for other people.
3. International Travel Can Help Your Child Appreciate Impressive Architecture And Art
American cities like Boston and Philadelphia have origins that go back nearly 400 years, and there are some pretty impressive sites to see in these iconic locales; however, they don’t come close to comparing with some of the massive cathedrals that date to the Medieval period. It’s hard to leave Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris or St. Vitus Cathedral within the walls of Prague Castle and not feel a sense of awe. Combine a visit to a Gothic or Romanesque cathedral with a trip or two to see some of the impressive art that many European or Asian capitals have on display, and your kids will be sure to begin building an appreciation for the artistic skills of people who lived in different cultures centuries ago.
4. Traveling Builds Bonds With Your Children
In a day in which many parents have trouble spending quality time with their children due to hectic work schedules, a week-long (or even a weekend) vacation to another country can provide a wonderful opportunity to build on your relationship with your kids. Whether you stay in a hotel or a house you booked on Airbnb, it’s likely that many of the channels on the TV will be in a foreign language. Rather than trying to decipher this entertainment, why not discuss the day’s adventures with your kids. Taking an international trip is a shared experience that your family will probably talk about for years, if not decades, to come, and the trip should go a long way toward building lasting bonds with your children. Experiences tend to provide more overall life satisfaction than things. A trip to learn about another culture is a great experience.
There are several reasons that taking a trip abroad can be beneficial for your children. While it might be tempting to leave them at home on every vacation, your kids will miss out on learning about the wider world if you choose to have them stay with grandma. Taking them along can help them grow into well-rounded adults with some great memories that can provide a stronger familial bond that can last for a lifetime.
About the Writer
When Chris Price is not teaching history to college students, he’s planning his next travel adventure. He blogs about personal finance topics that include making money online, dividend investing, and traveling on the cheap at his site Earn Money in Pajamas. Follow him on Twitter at @moneyinpajamas