5 Ways Kids Make Travel Better

By Jenny Mitchel

There are a lot of people out there that think that once they have children, their traveling days are over. This pains me every time I hear it, read it, or see it. Don’t sell yourselves short! There is absolutely no reason that you cannot travel after your family begins to grow. In fact, there are many reasons that I think it is even better traveling after you have kids! Here are my top 5 ways that kids make travel better.

Even a plant in the garden can be a jungle!

1. Everything is Fascinating

There is an old saying about seeing things with the eyes of a child. Or something along those lines. I am not that great with sayings, but I digress.

There is something about seeing the fascination and wonder in your child’s eyes when they see something they haven’t seen before (or have seen a million times, sometimes it doesn’t seem to matter to them). It creates that same fascination and wonders in you.  A dandelion growing in the crack of a sidewalk can be the most amazing thing you have ever seen. The Parthenon becomes more alive as you answer the questions asked in tiny little voices. I could go on and on, but I will keep this succinct just by saying that I have never been more observant or enthralled with my surroundings, as I have by showing my daughter the world while we have traveled.

Z doing her best to help me slow down and take it all in.

2. You Have Want to Slow Down

Kids (well, most of them anyway) have shorter legs than us. This means that I have been unable to walk at “break-neck” speed during our travels. I have had to slow down and this makes me glad! It has caused me to appreciate everywhere we have been all the more. I feel that I now take the time to really let the places we travel seep into me. I take in not only the sights, but the smells, sounds, and feeling of a place so much more than I used to. It is more about the journey now and less about the destination.

She has the energy that I wish tea would give me.

3. You Get Up and GO

This may seem like a complete contradiction to my last point, but I am not talking about how fast a child can move. I am talking about the fact that they wake up at the crack of dawn. Okay, maybe there are some children that sleep in (if you have that kind of child, I am so jealous of you), but our bundle of joy likes to literally wake me up as the first rays of light pierce the dark sky. I have been tempted to carry black-out curtains everywhere with me on this trip, but besides the fact that would probably be incredibly heavy, I can say that I have grown to love my early mornings.

When I traveled pre-kid, I don’t think I was ever up before noon, unless I had a flight or some other equally pressing matter. There are places that I visited where I missed so much because I was sleeping in, or places where I only saw the night life because I never left my room until it was dark.

Traveling with a human alarm clock that is set at 6 a.m. has shown me a whole new side of the places we have visited. I love mornings now (with the help of some strong black tea) and enjoy our travels even more!

What a work out!

4. Strength of Ten Men

I used to think that carrying my back pack while traveling was a work out. Then I had a kid. I am still amazed that such a small little being can feel so heavy. One would think I would have arms like Demi Moores in GI Jane now that Z is three years old. But alas, I just have massivestrength with normal looking arms.  The strength of ten men! Alright, that’s a slight exaggeration, but that is besides the point. I know that my endurance, my strength, and my desire to move has increased exponentially since having Z. Even on my worst days, where I feel exhausted, I still have more strength and energy than I used to.

One of Z’s many friends.

5.  Differences? What Differences?

So far, Z has been blind to cultural and racial differences between us and the locals in the places we have visited. Everyone is a possible new friend, someone to play in the sand with, or run around a restaurant with. She doesn’t care if someone is Muslim, Christian, Hindu, or whatever else. She LOVES everyone. We love this aspect of traveling with Z because we want her to always think and act this way. Heck, I want to think and act this way!

Z has reminded us through her actions that we all are human beings and there is no reason to fear or hate that which is different from us. We are reminded to love and show kindness to those around us no matter where we are. This has opened up the world to us. Her infectious smile and excitement to meet everyone causes people to be more kind and helpful in return. We have had many more opportunities to see and do what the locals do in every place we have visited because of her.  She is our goodwill ambassador.

These are just five of the ways that I think having a kid makes travel better. What are your thoughts, do you have any more points to add?  Are you a crazy morning person too?  Leave a comment and join in the fun!

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