Why you should give your children a travel education

Family travelling together. Picture from http://craigbenefield.tripod.com/

Whether it’s vacationing over the school holiday or a family road trip, travelling as a whole family can have a few bumps in the road. Though, because it creates laughter, fun experiences, and memories that will last forever, it will definitely be worth the hassle. Here are a few lessons that can be learned and taught when your children are with you on your trips around the World.

Family travelling together. Picture from http://craigbenefield.tripod.com/
Family travelling together. Picture from http://craigbenefield.tripod.com/

Lessons for Children

Travel not only leaves your children with long lasting memories, but also gives them free life lessons they will never forget.

1. To Learn From What’s Around You.

Children are born curious, and new environments bring out that natural curiosity. Whether that’s learning about genocide from someone who’s lived through it, discovering how volcanoes work by climbing a live one, watching coffee being made on a coffee farm, or teaching yourself a new skill just because you can, children learn constantly through travel.

2. To See the World Globally.

Every country teaches the world and its history from its own perspective. Often (though not always), we present our own countries as the best. Learning the stories of other nations, in other nations, gives children a rounded perspective on the world as its present, its past and its future. To understand the needs and sensitivities of different people, the history and beliefs of different cultures, and the elaborate workings of a big and complex world is, I think, wisdom. And travel brings kids that in spades.

3. To be resilient and try new things.

If you ever decided to go that route, long term travel is an amazing lifestyle, but it isn’t always easy. Whether it’s emotional challenges, like meeting suffering children, physical challenges, like extreme cold or long, long hikes, or frustrations like being stuck on a broken down bus for 28 hours in searing heat, travel teaches patience and strength. From eating insects, flowers or wild spices through to surfing or crafting silver, travel brings children new experiences to try, often, every single day. This reduces any fear of the new and builds a bank of life experiences some adults will never acquire.

4. Opens up minds to understanding of others.

Spending time in different cultures teaches you how very much is relative. From the small things, places where it’s rude to put your feet up, but normal to spit to the apparent absolutes of religion, politics and life values, travel opens minds. Travel brings you into contact with people whose lives are vastly different from your own. If an urban child can interact with nomadic Maasai, Buddhist monks, Asian politicians and the rural poor, sometimes without even a common language, they can understand and interact with *anyone*.

5. Learning to see the glass half full.

It is crazy because no matter how much you plan traveling can bring you unexpected hurdles at any time and your kids learn to see the humour in bad situations. The number of times our car in the past, on family road trips, has randomly broken down is crazy. Though we made jokes about it, sang songs, and now I have stories to tell my kids for ages. How you react and respond in such situations teach your children to have a positive attitude no matter what life throws at them.

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Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.