Being a parent makes you a better traveler.

As you may or may not know I am a mom to a wonderful little three year old boy. I have not mentioned him often, because the majority of my posts are about babyless travel experiences. That doesn’t mean I do not travel with him. In fact, we just booked a trip to L.A. to visit grandma at the end of the August, just the two of us.

Too often I hear these words: I am not ready to have kids, I still have so much to do, so much to see… 

I wish I could blow that argument completely out of the water, but I do admit there is some validity to how much easier life is without a child. That said, I cannot disagree more with the idea that having a child some how stops your ability to explore this awesome planet. That is nonsense, and I hope for the sake of their future children that view changes when they have kids. If anything, parents have a responsibility to expose their children to the unlimited capacity of adventure that we have right in front of us. The best way to do that is, of course, to travel with your children. If that is not always possible, traveling without them and telling them about your amazing adventures will also foster that same wanderlust that you have too.

So yes, there are some definitive differences that come with traveling with kids, they can be positive things  too!

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Here are some way that having kids, and being a parent, may actually enhance your travel experiences:

  • You appreciate it more. I will be the first to admit that everyday parent life can get a bit mundane at times. Being somewhere new, with or without child can really give you a break from the commuting, childcare, cooking routines that can consume you.  If you get some lucky time to travel alone, you will certainly make every moment count (even if that means lazy do nothing beach time- that time will damn-well count). If you are traveling with kids, you will love to be able to just take your time, no rush, no schedule, just time to explore at a pace everyone is comfortable.
  • Gives you a new perspective on the place. No matter how many times you have been somewhere, going with a child changes it completely. You may do things you never thought of going and you may actually have an amazing time.  Even something as simple as camping changes entirely when you have a child. Building a fire is not to be taken for granted, and playing in the water become an all day affair.
  • Keeps you young. Parents say this all the time, “my kids keep me young” but this also extends to travel plans. With that new perspective you get an inspirational bout of energy and need for exploration. Being a parent is go go go, so while we definitely need the much needed break here and there, your added energy can be channeled to amazing new experiences when traveling.
  • Keeps you learning. Children ask a lot of questions as is- imagine them in a brand new place! If you are like me, you want to make sure your child gets the best answer possible to his or her questions. In a new place, that may mean you have to educate yourself about the place more than you would if it was just you. But even if it is just you, as a parent I can’t help but anticipate some of the curiosities that would evoke my preschooler in a new place. If you spend enough time being asked why, don’t be surprised if you start asking why more too.

And these don’t just apply to travel, this perspective can be used in your everyday life. So while having kids may change the way you travel, it does not have to be for the worst!

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2 thoughts on “Being a parent makes you a better traveler.

  1. Our parents took us on family vacations to Africa, Europe, India and all over the U.S. and Canada when we were kids. It was the best learning experience ever, though at the time I just wanted to go to summer camp with my friends!

  2. We traveled so much with Bee during the first year of her life, to Vancouver; Hawaii; the UK – we even threw her in a backpack and hiked the Highlands of Scotland! And yes, things got a bit more difficult the more mobile she became, but I wouldn’t have traded any of the experiences – good or bad – for anything in the world… so to speak!

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