My friends who are professional travel advisors have been telling me for months that “it’s too cheap not to travel this summer”.  Some thoughts about vacations, for people who are talking themselves out of traveling because they think their kids are too young– or for people who know families like that:

Six summers ago, we took our kids on a Southern California adventure trip when one was 8 and the other was 4. We’d saved up airline miles so that all four of us flew free, so we splurged and went to the Hotel Del Coronado, Legoland, the San Diego Zoo, and topped it off with a day and a half at Disneyland.  I remember, before we left, hearing from several parents who told me they planned to not spend money on any kind of “big trip” until their kids were at least 10 because at younger ages, they probably wouldn’t remember it.

But, is that the only reason to take a child on a trip– memories?  While it’s true that my older child has more memories of that California trip than my younger one, I think my youngest benefited from it in many other ways.

First, there’s something to be said about having fun as a family, about “feeling the love” that I think just gets into a child’s bones and the fabric of who they are, even if he or she can’t remember any details of a trip.  Also, as kids try new skills while traveling, like water skiing or hiking a really long, uphill trail, they gain self esteem and self confidence.  I remember on that California trip how my little one was so proud that she’d gone on “Big Thunder Mountain” and liked it, while a big grownup like Mom was too scared to go (well, not exactly too scared– I just don’t enjoy roller coasters!!!).

Yet another intangible of travel has got to be helping your kids “grow smarter”– you’re offering them mind-expanding opportunities that are helping to sharpen their brains.  From what I’ve read lately, anytime you get outside your usual routine, your brain is getting needed exercise, even if it’s as simple as driving a different route to the grocery store.  Imagine what can happen when a suburbanite preschooler from Texas sees a bunch of seals piled on a beach in La Jolla, or gets to sit in the cockpit of a jet airplane at the end of a flight, or eats a fish taco for the first time…those brain connections must have been firing like crazy!

Last but definitely not least, there are some aspects of every travel experience that only a young child can truly appreciate.  Do you really want to wait to travel until they’re “too mature” to get excited about shaking hands with Goofy? ‘Til they’re too big to enjoy the cool playground at Sea World? ‘Til that high-pitched, glee-filled scream-followed-by-giggles that they make while running away from the “chasing surf” is forever silent?

I think I would have my kids experience travel even if I was guaranteed they’d remember nothing.  It’s just that good.   ###

1 thought on “Little Ones Need To Travel, Too

  1. I agree about traveling with young kids. My husband and i are always on the go. We both feel it is so important to make those memories! However flying with young children can make any mom seriously drink!

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