It starts in October. The stress begins to build as I think about what to get my kids (16 and 13) for Christmas. AirPods? There’s $200 I’ll never see again. They’ll be lost before the new year. Gift cards? They seem a bit impersonal. I suppose there’s always the standard socks and underwear… Oh, how I long for the days of American Girl dolls and Legos! As I ponder this dilemma, a red and green light bulb goes off in my head. I know what I can do! Each has the opportunity to go on a school trip this year. Wouldn’t it be great to give the gift of travel? An amazing experience rather than a “thing?”
Encouraging kids to travel is a wonderful way to help them stretch beyond their comfort zones and explore the world. Allowing them to travel through school gives them a chance spread their wings outside the eyes of parents. It’s also a great lesson in independence and responsibility! Here are 5 great reasons to give kids the gift of travel.
Real Life Learning
We send our kids to school to prepare them for real life. Allowing them to learn beyond the walls of a classroom is as “real life” as it gets! Time outside of school pushes them to adapt to new situations and fosters a willingness to learn. It makes education hands-on and not just something to be found in a book. Connecting the curriculum to reality is what educators strive for. Travel accomplishes that goal and many more.
Kids who travel have are more willing to learn, participate in class discussions and get better test scores. A recent study by the Student Youth Travel Association studied the impact of travel on nearly 1.2 million students. Among many other positives, it found that travel improves the classroom experience. This landmark study found student travel to be “significantly more effective than computer-based learning and classroom instruction alone.” This holiday gift will have a lasting impact!
Confidence and Self-Esteem
Do you remember the feeling you had when you first got your license? That small taste of independence? It was a life-changing, confidence building moment to know that you were in control. Today’s non-driving, Uber generation aside, travel does the same thing for teens’ confidence and self-esteem. It promotes self-expression and an outgoing disposition. It also encourages cooperation and collaboration among peers. Our children will rise to the challenges we set – if we allow them to try! Our job as parents is to teach kids how to be in the world, not fear it. THAT’S a gift!
Cultural Awareness and Social Responsibility
In a world consumed by technology, it’s nice to look up once in a while and see what’s happening around you. Travel teaches students that the world is bigger than what they know. It introduces them to people and places that are different, yet sometimes very much the same. When forming opinions about others and the world around you, it’s important to do so with first-hand knowledge. Kids who travel have a strong sense of their place in the world, are more tolerant and respectful of others, are more collaborative and adapt more readily to new situations. Seems like a great takeaway from the holidays, right?!?
Kids have so much on their plates today. Practices, competitions, school, clubs, jobs and on and on. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some fun? Going on the class trip (or any trip) is a great time with friends and a great memory to keep. I think we would all appreciate a little joy in the endless to-do list of life!
Travel is the perfect present. You don’t have to wrap it, it has amazing benefits, and you can’t lose or break it. When you’re thinking about this holiday season, consider these 5 great reasons to give kids the gift of travel. It’s an investment that shapes lives!