Travelling with children requires planning, patience, and perseverance. Y’all know what I mean. The endless lists. Snacks. Don’t forget the special soft toys. And heaven forbid we forget the precious blanket that has magical powers (magic as in can calm a little one down!).
Despite all of the extra drama and admin it is completely worthwhile to travel with your children.
Our family goal is to go on at least one family vacation per year.
Our been-to list is not extensive. However, we have managed to travel together at least once a year since we became a family of four. Despite the admin and extra costs, it is worth it. With a family of four we aim to book our flights and travel way in advance.
Places the four of us have traveled together as a family over the last two to three years are: Cape Town, Durban (South Coast) and Drakensberg.
We had our first ‘official’ beach holiday this year in Durban and it was amazing. ‘Official beach holiday’ means we could actually enjoy the beach and the weather came around. The experience has reinforced the belief that travelling with kids is good for the whole family (despite all the extra admin!)
Here are 5 reasons why travelling with your kids is good for the whole family.
1. Providing experiences vs toys have a greater impact on bonding
A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that giving the gift of experience makes people happier. Therefore investing in family travelling has more long term benefits than material gifts and goes further to strengthen the parent/ child bond. A child has a deep need to feel special, and creating experiences to spend time together fulfills this need.
A few months back, I threw out more than half of my children’s toys.
What I can say for sure is that, my children have been playing more creatively and longer since then. Less toys, mean fewer distractions and they can actually focus on what it is that they are playing with. So absolutely, more experience and less material gifts makes a difference in bonding with your children.
2. Travelling and spending family holidays together shows a different side of you
Nothing brings a family together like travelling and being on holiday together. Having focused time to just relax and be playful without the stress of everyday life can bring out a different side of you.
Being on holiday together will allow you to show a different side of yourself. You are more relaxed than you might be compared to when you are at home.
Travelling and being on holiday together, allows you as a parent to be completely present.
3. Traveling together builds shared memories
Long after the trip is done you will have special memories. Pictures, videos and other mementos become treasured family heirlooms.
Long after the Transformer toy has been played with (and discarded), the memories of a special holiday will linger longer.
Shared life experiences builds stronger families.
4. Traveling teaches flexibility and adaptability
Travelling with children requires flexibility. ANYTHING can happen.
- From having to eat something that they are not use to; going to bed at a different time and place.
- Things can also go wrong. Best you pack some back up medicine (at one stage we traveled with a nebulisers – just in case!). When one child gets sick, or needs more attention, the other child/children also learn to accept that sometimes we need to support our family.
- We always end up doing a holiday trip in April, and the weather is a bit unpredictable. Therefore we have learnt to ‘make do’ as we are always blessed with rainy weather.
5. Brings everyone closer to nature and outdoors
Mountains, farm animals, beaches. Often times, these things are taken for granted when we live in a city. However, by travelling and slowing down for that time you are exposed to your natural surroundings.
We once went hiking up a ‘mountain’, all four of us. Well it was the foot of a mountain. Actually it was more like a grassy hill. Anyway…
My daughters were one and four at the time. It remains such a special memory. I loved exposing our daughters to nature in this way.
Travelling with your children, is good for the whole family (if you don’t mind the extra admin!).
You might also like:
- To My Two Girls: 20 Things I Didn’t Know Until I Had Two Kids
- 5 Quick Tips To Get Your Family Organised (using our family planner)
- I Got Rid of Almost All of My Kids’ Toys – Here is What Went Down
This post was done in collaboration with Travelstart.