There are numerous articles and sources out there which state that children do not benefit from travel until they are almost double digits. They claim that babies and toddlers need routine in order to thrive. While there is some element in truth in the routine aspect, children can also benefit from travel and seeing the world. I will never forget the joy on my son’s face the first time he saw Mickey at Disneyland. He was 2 and 1/2 and he was so excited to see one of his favorite characters brought to life. Daisy was even more exciting… but he also loved the rides, (Small World and the carousel were his favorites).
My son took his first trip when he was 2 months old. The trip was planned before we knew he was going to exist so we decided we would “made it work” and go anyhow. He was amazing. We used a carrier and our car seat clicked into our stroller for easy transitions. If he fell asleep in the car-seat we could easily bring it inside wherever we were. By the time he took his 3rd trip he seemed to recognize the airport (O’hare has the tunnel with the lights which he found fascinating) so now we when get to the airport he knows we are about to go on a new adventure and he gets excited about it! I’ve had friends who waited until their kids were 4 or 5 to go anywhere and then they complained about what a nightmare it was. I think by starting him young it just seems more normal to him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s often excited to get home as well but he’s still excited to try new things.
So back to the question at hand, “Why do we travel?” I think the answer varies by the person but typically it falls into a few categories:
- We are visiting someone we know (friends, family etc)
- We are visiting a place we love (Disney, Vegas, the beach, etc)
- We are visiting somewhere we’ve always dreamed of (Bora Bora, Australia, Alaska etc)
- We are trying to achieve a goal (visit all 50 states, visit 100 countries, visit every continent, etc)
- We are volunteering somewhere
- Our friends &/or family want to do one of the above
- We have to for work…
Whatever you reason is, and sometimes its more then one of the above, you should try to make the most of it. Maybe you plan a dream trip and as part of it you volunteer for a day. Maybe instead of visiting your sister and family, you meet them somewhere and you all get to experience something. My son is happiest when he surrounded by the people he loves. He loves traveling with his cousins (on both sides).
Oh and as a note to those who say “kids will never remember their travel so what’s the point?” – I will remember it, I can show lots of pictures, and some of my first memories are of travel so perhaps he will be the same way!