Take the Trip: 15 Benefits of Traveling with Family

Family of 5 laughing while trying to get the kids to pose for a photo in front of Moraine Lake in Canada

I’ve heard it all…

“You’re crazy for taking your kids that far!”

“You’re wasting your money.”

“They’re too young…they’ll never remember it.” 

“Why don’t you just wait until they’re older?”

“They’ll have just as much fun going to the park down the street.”

And here’s the thing: people can say whatever they want, but I’ll continue to travel with my kids even though “they won’t remember it” because I’ve seen the benefits of traveling with family firsthand over the years. 

From the trips with my family growing up to the trips we take with our kids now, the memories I’ve made while traveling are some of the absolute best memories of my life. But it goes even deeper than that. 

When it comes to the benefits of family travel, I could probably name a million! But I know you’re a busy parent and don’t have time for that, so let’s narrow it down. 

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We get to share one of our loves with our kids.

After our destination wedding in Aruba, my husband and I made a pact to travel as much as we could before having kids.  

We went on quite a few adventures over the years, and travel really did become our love language.  We would much rather spend our money on traveling and creating memories together than buying each other things. 

Having kids may have made travel a bit more difficult (although we’ve figured out plenty of travel hacks over the years!), but it didn’t change our love for travel.  How cool that we now get to share this love with the littlest members of our family!

Our kids are exposed to different cultures and ways of life.

Getting them out of our Midwest bubble and allowing them to see how others live opens their eyes and their hearts. 

It’s important to us to have them understand that there is a great, big world out there. And even though there are a lot of differences between people and cultures, there are also a lot of similarities.  We should respect all of those.

Our kids learn how to travel when they’re young.

Don’t get me wrong. We have had our fair share of meltdowns during our time on the road, but little by little, our kids are learning all about travel etiquette. And we’re learning tricks that help them tolerate long days of travel better!

The more we travel, the more they understand what’s going on (and that we’re about to do something really cool!). 

That’s made traveling with the kids exponentially easier…we’re all pros at traveling together at this point!

We get to experience new things for the very first time as a family.

When traveling with our kids, it’s not just about US teaching or showing THEM something.  When we travel to new places, we’re all on the same page, learning and seeing things for the first time—together.

That alone is pretty priceless to me! I think there’s something to be said for kids seeing adults learning something new, too. 

We get to mix it up.

Everyday life can get monotonous. Our daily routine consists of my husband and I going to work, the boys going to school or daycare, chores, errands, practices…I know you know!

Traveling as a family allows us to veer from that routine a bit. And there’s an excitement that comes along with breaking loose from our normal schedule. 

Family of 5 at the Moorish Castle in Sintra, Portugal itinerary with kids

Travel with family ensures we get quality time together.

I can’t describe the smiles on our boys’ faces when we’re on our family vacations.  

They get to have their mom and dad with them every hour of the day, multiple days in a row—and we get uninterrupted time with them. The only time that ever happens for us is on a family vacation.

It’s SO nice to have quality family time together without the normal, everyday stressors. That has to be one of the biggest benefits of family vacations!

Traveling with our kids boosts their confidence.

Our family traveling takes our kids out of their comfort zone. But the cool thing is that they have our support the entire time while trying new things and visiting new places.

This flows back into everyday life and gives them confidence when something new gets thrown at them (like when they join a new basketball team or when we moved to a new town). 

Even though new experiences and change can cause some stress, they know how to handle new situations and know that we’ll be there with them as needed. 

Brothers looking out window of Banff Gondola during Banff itinerary with kids

It forces us to slow down.

I’m usually rushing from one thing to another while simultaneously thinking about 10 other things. It’s just how my brain works. 

But you know what we did on one of our recent trips? Stopped and listened to the birds chirp! I know it sounds silly, but that was one of the highlights of the trip for me. 

My boys notice things that I would easily overlook. And seeing this world through their eyes has to be one of my absolute favorite things about traveling with family.

Family travel is an easy way to teach adaptability and problem-solving. 

There has not been one single trip we’ve taken where everything goes perfectly to plan.  That’s almost impossible in life (especially when traveling with kids!). 

With that being said, those instances in which things go a bit haywire are the PERFECT times to teach our kids about adaptability and problem-solving. 

We love showing our kids a positive way to deal with those situations and include them in coming up with a solution (which usually turns into a pretty fun adventure!). 

Boy standing on Praia da Marinha in Lagos, Portugal

Having a trip planned reduces our overall stress. 

I’ve seen studies that say that people are happier when there’s a vacation on the calendar. And I’ve also seen studies that show reduced stress when people use their PTO to take vacations. 

While I don’t have those specific numbers off the top of my head, the proof is in the pudding! I can absolutely say that our overall family stress is reduced when we’re on vacation. Without a doubt!

Planning a trip helps introduce our kids to money management.

I’m very well aware that we are privileged to be able to take so many cool vacations as a family. I want my boys to not only acknowledge that privilege but also see the hard work that goes into getting to the point of each vacation we take. 

Obviously, vacations aren’t free (although we do love to put airline and hotel points to use when able!), and planning our trips opens the door to educating our kids about money management (in an age-appropriate way, of course!). 

We like to give them a souvenir budget or have them help us choose one fun extra from a short list, just to name a couple of examples.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party with Toddlers showing off their light up necklaces

Family travel actually helps my kids’ education back in the classroom.

During my son’s kindergarten assessment, one of the teachers spoke with all the parents and said something that really stuck with me:

“I’ve seen more and more kids rely on things they’ve seen on their tablets versus things they’ve done in real life when relating the lessons we teach in the classroom. That’s made it difficult for them to really understand the things we’re teaching.”

Oof. While I’m not anti-screen time by any means, I’m so happy that we’ve taken the time to create memories that my kids can relate back to. Going on regular family trips has made this much easier.

We get to take advantage of the surprising perks of traveling with young kids.

Ok, hear me out. Traveling with littles comes with its challenges, but there are also some perks that we never get unless we have our little ones with us.  

I’m talking expedited lanes through customs or at tourist attractions, being one of the first to board the airplane, free admission for kids (like all those times we went to Disney World before our kids turned 3!), receiving small gifts for our little guys…the list goes on. 

While these things aren’t guaranteed, we’ve definitely taken advantage of them when they’re available. 

Priority entrance for customs at Lisbon airport when traveling to Portugal with a toddler or baby

Memories are building blocks.

I believe that as we make memories or learn something new, we’re always pulling from past memories and experiences to shape where we currently are. 

Our boys may not remember something specific that happened when they were 1 or 2 years old, but that memory may very well have affected other memories being made not long after that…which then flowed into memories after that…and so on.

Kids might just remember more than we think.

When it’s all said and done, who really knows what kids will remember?  

When my oldest son was 3, he was STILL talking about the time we spent all evening throwing rocks into a lake which had happened over a year prior.  

I’m sure he didn’t remember that he was on Mackinac Island while doing so, and the jury’s out if he will remember this into adulthood. But it obviously made his heart happy in the moment and left a positive impact on him for months to come.

Travel with kids

Final Thoughts: Benefits of Traveling with Family

For me, it’s a no-brainer. I’m taking my kids on the trip, and I encourage you to do the same! 

Whether it takes a long-haul flight or just a short drive to get there, you just might find yourself getting lost in your little one’s smile on a new adventure. And that’s good for everyone’s soul.

I’ve found that the benefits of a family vacation have always outweighed the cons. I want to travel with my family as much as I can…while I know we can. And that’s exactly what I’ll do!

So where are you heading?

You can find all of my Disney World tips here. If you’re looking for trip inspo internationally, this is where you’ll find it! And finally, if you’re sticking to a family vacation within the USA, check out this page.

let’s talk photo editing!

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Well, let’s just say I’m a little obsessed with the Light & Airy Photographer photo editing presets.

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Light & Airy Preset before and after photos of mom and 3 boys

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