5 Reasons to Travel with Young Kids

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As frequent family travelers, we are often asked why we travel so much with our daughter. She won’t remember much of it they say, or she won’t appreciate the trip until she is much older. But we think that kind of thinking is a bunch of nonsense. Do you read to your young child every night? Why bother, they most likely won’t remember it. Sounds absurd right? Just because they may not remember every little detail (and to be honest, do you remember every detail of every trip as an adult?) it doesn’t mean that they don’t appreciate the experience and the time spent together with the family.

Milana is now 7 and has been to over 20 countries, many multiple times. She’s flown over 200 times and has become a pro at navigating airports and finding our departure gate, something many adults still struggle with. Travel is a huge part of her young life and she has become a very well rounded child as a result of all the awesome experiences. Sure traveling with kids comes with its own challenges and won’t be like it was before your kids were born, but we have no regrets and will continue to travel with our daughter. Here’s why you should travel with your kids and enjoy every moment of it.

1. Travel makes kids interested in learning about the world

Before every trip, we look at a world map to see where we are going and how we are going to fly there. Sure, they can learn about geography and world cultures in the classroom but what better way to teach your kids about the world than by actually taking them to these places? They will learn where countries are located, capitals, and see how people all over the world live. I find that Milana is much more interested in learning about the places we have been to or are planning to go to than some random places in a book that she has no connection to. Seeing animals in their natural habitat is much better than reading about them or seeing them in zoos. Show your kids the world instead of just telling them about it!

Wild kangaroos australia
Wild kangaroos in Anglesea, Australia.
family travel quote

2. Travel opens kids up to trying new foods

If you live in the US, you know that kid menus are full of terrible food. Things like chicken fingers and mac and cheese are on kid menus everywhere, even in restaurants that don’t serve these things on adult menus. Well if you’re traveling the world, you most likely will not encounter that! Many countries offer half priced portions for kids, anything from the adult menu instead of bland “kid” food. As a result, Milana has been exposed to and tries local food no matter where we are. As a result, she will eat pretty much anything and everything from sushi and curries to all sorts of delicacies from around the world.

Tsukiji fish market tokyo
Enjoying sushi at the Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo. And yes, she ate most of it!
Eating squid in Puerto Vallarta.

3. Travel will teach your child to be more patient

I can’t count the number of times we had to wait in line for something on our travels! The gondola line in Hong Kong had an almost 2 hour queue coming back from Big Buddha. Milana has had to learn to patiently wait and has learned to entertain herself without the use of electronic devices. We have also taken her to many fancy restaurants from a very young age, and as a result she has learned how to behave and be patient during our tasting menus and is now a dream to dine out with. Airport delays and long travel days will teach your child patience. It’s amazing to see how well she does after getting off a 14 hour flight only to board the 3 hour connecting flight right after!

Our 5th Anniversary dinner in the Cayman Islands lasted over 2 hours. One year old Milana sat through the whole thing without a peep, enjoying all the courses!

4. Travel teaches kids to adapt to routine changes and take them out of their comfort zones

So many parents will say, “But my child will only sleep in their bed, with the temp at 72, with their fuzzy blanket and 3 stuffed animals surrounding them.” Teach them early to adapt to different environments and you won’t be a slave to routine! From the day she was born, we made sure Milana slept anywhere and she has never napped in her actual bed for most of the first year. She has learned to sleep in all sorts of beds, all sorts of noise and lighting situations, carriers, strollers, all depending on where we were at the time. She will fall asleep to this day even before the plane takes off, she associates flying with sleep which makes for some great flights! Travel will get your kids out of that routine and they will adapt to whatever situation is presented to them.

Kidzania, Bangkok. Where she was the only English speaking child yet had no issues keeping up with the Thai instructions!

5. Travel makes great family memories

Sure your kids may not remember some of the details and trips but you will! We travel as much for us parents as we do for her. Seeing her mesmerized by the temple in Japan, trying some food at the night market in Taipei or enjoying some mango popsicles on a very hot day in Cartagena is something we will remember forever. And she does too thanks to photo books. Every few trips, I make a photo book of our travels and we frequently look at them. Now that she’s 7, Milana also keeps a travel journal which helps her recall memories from each trip. She may not remember the exact moment, but she does enjoy looking at the photos and often memories come flooding back.

Cartagena, Colombia
Sydney, Australia
Madrid, Spain
Family cooking class in Koh Samui, Thailand.

The bonding and uninterrupted family time that happens on trips will make your kids much better humans. I promise you, travel is not wasted on kids! Seeing so many different cultures and ways of life opens their eyes beyond their own backyard. Don’t wait until your kids are “old enough,” otherwise you will always find a reason to not travel. If you have the means and opportunity to travel, take your kids everywhere. They will become global citizens and much better adults as a result of their experiences. Remember, there’s no such thing as a country that isn’t kid-friendly. People with kids live all over the world!

What are your thoughts about traveling with young kids? What has been your favorite family trip? Leave a comment below! And if you want to connect with other family travelers, join our Facebook group, Tiny Globetrotters.

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26 Comments

  • Samantha

    I would love to travel with my 2 girls someday, just don’t have the financial ability to do so yet. But I agree with the points you made about about it teaching them patience and how to embrace new experiences and foods. Great post!

  • Monica

    Traveling sounds great and I wish I could afford to go all the places you’ve visited! Even local travel is fun though, so luckily there is always things to see and new places to explore no matter where you are.

  • Leah

    I love this! As a traveling mama, I couldn’t agree with these more. Our daughter is 1.5 years old and already loves traveling the world. She is already so willing to adapt to new environments, and we are so thankful!

  • Summer

    This is a super inspiring story! I often wonder if kids will remember travels when I see families abroad, it’s great to know that Milana has gotten so much out of travel already. I think keeping a travel journal is a great way to help her remember experiences as she ages! I can see travel also teaching children more patience and appreciation for other cultures, especially foreign and different foods.

  • Lynn Armstrong

    Traveling with kids is so important! I really like how you mention that they learn patience! My kids have learned how to be patient while flying and overall has rolled over into our real lives! Great thoughts!

  • Yukti Agrawal

    I travel with children and I too agree with you on all 5 reasons. Travel really makes young children wiser and also adaptable to new world. Travel teaches them to be patient in all situations and it is a great time where all family can bond together and can talk together or else everybody is busy in daily routine.

  • Mijia Eggers

    I totally agree with the point here. We traveled with out kid since he was 9-month. When he was one-year old, we went to a 11-hour long haul flight. Now, he is so much into the travel. Besides, he like delicious food from different nations as well. We never let him eat kid menus, always shared with us if he couldn’t have the whole plate.

    • Kim

      We want to start traveling more now that my youngest is a little more independent. I think it’s really good for children. Teaches them alot.

  • STEPHANIE EDDY

    These are great reasons – I love travelling with my young kids because even though they may not remember everything, i love seeing the looks on their faces and the fun they are having, even if it’s challenging at times!

  • Chelsae Lund

    We travel so much as a family and all of these are so true. While travel is harder with kids it is so worth it and I think it should start at a young age. There are so many benefits to our little ones seeing the world.

  • Lorena| www.lorenaylennox.com

    Traveling with kids is so beneficial for them. I want to travel overseas with my two-year-old, but he is still too rambunctious, so I’ll wait a bit. Luckily he’s half Salvadoran, so he gets a lot of culture from his dads side!

  • Kelly

    These points are great. I love to take my children somewhere different every summer. Even if we don’t go somewhere far I try to do a different activity so they can learn and see something different.

  • Jen

    I totally agree with all of these! I think there are just endless reasons to travel. I have to say, though, I’m always a bit taken aback when I have to justify why we travel so much with our kids. I think the reasons are so clear! Thanks so much for putting them into writing!

  • Paul Healy

    Nice post. I know some adults who could learn some of these things: patience, how to try more foods, how to understand the world a bit better. Actually maybe some of our politicians in the UK should travel a bit too!

  • Annette

    I find a lot of parents are so hesitant when traveling with younger kids. However, it doesn’t have to be so hard! These are all great reasons for traveling with children. Do you have tips on how to travel internationally with a toddler? I’ve shared some flying with toddler tips on my site but I’m wondering what worked for you on those super long flights to places like Australia?

    • MilanasTravels

      Since most overseas flights from the US are overnight, I have found that my daughter sleeps the majority of them! I also have a post about how to entertain kids on long flights and it’s worked really well for us. Kids are so adaptable, the long flights haven’t been an issue!

  • Medha

    Oh, how I wish I had got to travel as a child myself. I completely agree with all your points, whether children retain any of the memories or not, it certainly helps shape their personalities in a very different way from a child who probably grew up not having travelled much and getting out of his/ her comfort zone. I definitely think it makes one more open-minded, patient, curious about other cultures and more open to accepting different people. I don’t have children of my own yet but when I do, I really hope I am able to give them all these things and take them on adventures across the world with me!

  • Rebecca

    This was a great list, thank you for the encouragement. I am nervous about traveling with our daughter, but you’re convincing me that it is important and I definitely do not want to limit her life due to my fear.

  • Menaka Bharathi

    I agree to every pointer here, I totally am into travelling with kids, mainly because I had the best travels while young and feel that travel was my first teacher and has given me a lot of exposure

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