Why travel with kids? It can be inconvenient- dragging toys, extra clothes, portable electronics, and a huge supply of Capri-Suns halfway across the country. Not to mention if you have a baby or toddler and you might as well rent a trailer to haul everything you're going to need. Plus, the kids are out of their normal routine, might be missing sleep and are eating on the run. Nerves can get frayed and tantrums blow up, particularly if it's hot and standing in line is involved.
So, now that I've made traveling with children seem so glamorous and, well, fun, I will tell you why I think travel with kids can be so great.
First and foremost, it is so important to see the sights and experience the places that our country and world have to offer. If you live in a city on the coast, travel to the middle of the country and enjoy rural and small town life. By the same token, if you live in a small town, visiting some cities is a terrific way to broaden horizons. I do not ever want my children to think that life ends when you cross the line into another town or county.
As a parent, I feel that it is my responsibility to introduce living history to my children. What better way to accomplish this goal, then to travel with them. Take them to the places where things occurred, have a conversation about the events and people that framed the historical site and grow an appreciation in them for the awesomeness of our country. Reading or hearing about history can never substitute for actually visiting Gettysburg, seeing the Declaration of Independence and taking a ride on a steamboat down the Mississippi River. The culmination of actually experiencing history firsthand coupled with the fact that many historical sites are low cost makes it a great way to travel with kids.
Nothing is better and more satisfying as a parent than to see things through the eyes of a child. It may take a lot more work to get from point A to point B when you are traveling as a family with kids, but to see their faces the first time they see the ocean or mountain or meet Mickey Mouse is totally worth the extra trips up the hotel elevator with all of the kid "junk" or the one million questions of "are we there yet?" or even the dozen extra bathroom breaks.
I love to travel with my kids! And, here are some reasons why: the giggles playing in the sand and ocean waves, the utter joy when they meet their first Disney princess, the uncontrollable laughter on a roller coaster, watching their faces as they try a new food, the wonder of looking up into a sea of skyscrapers, the beauty of little feet skipping down a mountain trail, the amazement when you visit our nation's monuments, the magnificence of bright lights or sunsets over rolling hills, zoos, museums, canyons, rivers, lakes and watching them learn all kinds of new things.
I guess the question becomes: why would you not want to travel with your kids? Some of the best and more cherished family memories come from trips together. Make sure your kids have those memories and learn about the world around them at the same time. It truly is worth the extra work!