Traveling has always been a part of my life. Growing up, we never had much, but I still remember us piling in the car and heading out! As an adult, I continued that trend of hopping in the car (or on a plane) and heading somewhere. I recognize now, what I didn’t earlier in life, that there are so many benefits of traveling.
These days, our traveling includes teenagers, but I feel like it’s so important to share my love of travel with them. And hopefully, one day, they too will recognize the benefits of traveling.
Benefits of Traveling
While this list is certainly not exhaustive, it does hit on my top reasons for traveling!
When I was a child and we would pile into our station wagon, there was always a sense of adventure. Where were we off to? Who would we meet? What would we see? It didn’t really matter where we were going, somehow our parents always made it an adventure! We almost always stayed in campgrounds, which we all thought were the best. Filled with other kids, woods, pools – what’s not to love.
When I was in my early 20s I worked for the airlines for a few years, and I never lost that sense of fun and adventure every time I stepped onto a plane. It is this sense of excitement and wonder that I hope to pass on to our kids.
2. Empathy/Social Awareness
The first time I traveled internationally was when I was in high school. I went with my Spanish class to Mexico. While Mexico doesn’t seem super exotic, back then it was. And, even more than exotic, it was a completely different world. Not only did we see the big city of Mexico City, but we also passed through what I’m sure were some of the poorest areas of the country.
While I know that my family wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination rich, what I saw on that trip was a whole different level of poverty. There were families living on the side of a hill in a cardboard hut. It took me a long time to process this as a teenager.
Since that trip, I have seen all kinds of living situations and met a lot of different people in my travels. Becoming aware of the world around us and understanding that our way of life is not the only one is one of the biggest benefits of traveling that I’ve found. Meeting people, making their situation real, becoming empathetic is when life gets real!
Teaching my kids that there are always people way worse off than they are is important. And, it’s their job to help those less fortunate. They are blessed beyond measure and I want them to recognize that!
I have so many fond memories of traveling from throughout my life. I love being able to look back and laugh at different situations with whomever I was traveling with. Whether my siblings, my kids and husband or friends.
One of the interesting things I have discovered about travel memories is that this is one of the things my mom is able to remember, even with her dementia. She can still remember when we traveled across the country and that we had a lot of adventures along the way. This right here is an amazing gift for my mom! And, being able to share those memories with her – priceless!
I love this quote from Well-Being Secrets about some of the benefits of traveling. “If you go places you’ve always wanted to visit, take some time to explore what these places have to offer, and build a repertoire of fond memories for the future, it will help keep your happy hormones (dopamine and serotonin) flowing.”
Knowing how to travel, whether by car, plane, train, whatever, is a skill that everyone should know! I know that if my kids ever get stuck somewhere, they will know how to fly on a plane, figure out the train schedule and get where they need to be. Not only does this give them confidence, but it gives me peace of mind!
One of the biggest benefits of traveling (and I know I keep saying that) is the real world education that you (and your family) gain from travel experiences. It is impossible to travel and not learn something!
From our experience, I have found that we as a family are better at geography since we’ve traveled both in the US and around the world a bit. My kids actually know where different countries (or states) are because they’ve been there. And that bleeds over into social awareness. When they hear something about a country they’ve been to on the news, they are more interested and have a different level of interest in what’s going on in that part of the world.
Our travel experiences have also been great lessons in how to manage money. We sit down as a family and talk about how much a trip costs and how we’ll pay for it. (This is how we plan our trips) For each of the different activities we want to participate in, we talk about how that affects our budget. And, if there is something we really want to do but it’s not in the budget, we figure out as a family how we can afford to do it. My kids have a much better understanding of how to handle their money, how to budget for things they want, how to earn extra if they really want to do something.
6. New Food
I saved one of my favorite benefits of traveling for last. We are a bit of a foodie family, so when we travel we love trying new foods. My kids have become much better eaters by our traveling. They now really enjoy trying new dishes and spice combinations. Some of our favorites meals have been while traveling!
While traveling, we try to stay in apartments when possible so we have access to a kitchen (and laundry). One of the fun things we have discovered we enjoy while traveling is going to grocery stores. We’ve been in grocery stores in different states around the country and different countries around the world. And, while I am certainly no chef, it is a lot of fun to try and figure out meals and eat like the locals.
I love hearing my kids talk about the different foods we’ve tried and then wanting to try and replicate them when we get back home. Some of our efforts have been complete failures, but they still make for some fun memories.
So Many Benefits of Traveling!
As you can see, there are so many benefits to traveling! Whether you travel around your state, around the country or around the world, you open yourself and your family up to so many wonderful opportunities to grow and learn.
Exploring new geography, new cultures and new foods are just a few of our favorite reasons we love to travel. I highly encourage you to get our and explore. Even if it’s only your town – go and experience something new and different.
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