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Why Kids Need to Travel & What They Can Learn on the Trip


Travel is such a great educational opportunity for kids!  A chance to explore new places, try something new and reconnect with the family.

Honestly, my kids learn more on our vacations than they do any other time of the year. 

Part of it is because they are immersed in the moment — when you travel, you HAVE to experience what’s around you and it’s only natural to ask questions, get involved and explore.




8 Things Kids Learn While Traveling

Many of the experiences kids encounter during travel will last them a long time — those great life skills they gain and will use when they become parents and are ready to take their kids on a family vacation.   I know, it may seem like a million years away but we all know time flies!

So consider a few of these the next time you plan a vacation —


How to Pack

Please do not be afraid to get the kids to help with the packing — there’s always some way to get them involved.

Visit 12 Ways Kids can Help with Travel Planning and Prep for some ideas on how they can help before the trip!


How to Entertain Themselves

There’s one thing that’s similar about road trips, plane flights and vacation spot — you can’t take all your stuff with you!  So the kids will need to decide what they really LOVE and what will keep them busy during the trip. 

I learned a long time ago – it’s not my job to entertain my kids on vacation.  This is a great opportunity for them to learn how to stay busy, have fun and find things to do. 

Yes, they may whine. (ignore it

Yes, they may say “There’s nothing to do”. (ignore it

Eventually, they will head off to do something you will later have to drag them away from when it’s time for dinner/bed — and that’s when you pat yourself on the back!



Vacations are the best time to help kids understand how math applies to real life.  Have them help calculate how many miles per gallon you’re getting on a road trip.  Or if you’re flying, talk about the change in altitude. 

Kids also love to buy souvenirs so teach them about budgeting and money on the trip.  And telling time is another great travel math activity — give them a watch and let them know how long until your next stop.  Then they can check the watch to see “how much longer” 😉


How to Try New Foods

It never fails – on every trip we end up at a resturant where pasta or chicken nuggets is NOT on the menu. 

Encourage the kids to branch out — try some local cuisine.  Or have the whole family order a group of appetizers so each person can sample a variety of dishes.


How to Communicate with Strangers (Who Could be Neighbors)

So you head to a new location where you don’t know anyone — everyone’s a stranger.  But amazingly, when we’re on vacation, we all tend to be a little more social than in our every day life.  We ask for directions or recommendations for a great resturant.  We’re more likely to let the kids meet and play with others their age at the pool or on the beach. 

It’s a quirky thing but also great for building communication skills.  Kids can practice meeting new people, work on their manners and make a new friend or two 🙂


Us vs. the World – Why Family is a Good Thing

This is one of the best things about vacations — the only people you know are each other!  The lines of communication totally shift when you travel.  All of a sudden, the kids start to talk about things they may not mention at home (when life is more rushed and busier). 

And tons of questions — “Mom, what’s that?”  “Dad, why do they do it like this – we don’t at home?”

Plus, your family gets to experience things together — good or bad — that will bond you.  It’s one of those “we’re in this together” type of experience.  Like when you almost run out of gas in the middle of no where.  Or the first time you all try something new together — like seeing an amazing place, riding a huge rollercoaster or spotting wildlife.  Create some memories that are special for just your family!


Hands-on learning is great on vacation!

New (Fun!) Ways to Learn

The first time my son tried a Junior Ranger program, he was hooked! 

“Mom, you can learn all these cool things about the animals!” 

Yep, you sure can! 

Since that time, my kids have become Junior Rangers in more than 10 state and national parks.  It’s these great types of hands-on activities that revive their excitement for learning.


Why Home is Such a Special Place

No matter how much you love your destination, it’s always a great feeling to get home. 

Kids feel like this too — their own bed, getting back to their daily schedule and sharing their trip memories with friends.



Road Trip activities and games



40 Free Printable Road Trip Activities

The Ultimate Road Trip Guide: Why Getting There is Half the Fun

10 Things to do Before Your Next Road Trip {with free printable checklist!}