When you’re a parent, you want to ensure that your child gets every possible opportunity to make their life as happy, healthy and fulfilled as possible.
Of course, a huge part of this means that you get to make fun memories together as a family. Another important part, however, is making sure that they have an education that prepares them for everything life brings their way. And as important as school undoubtedly is, a good education needs to go beyond that.
It needs to encompass everything from how to cook nutritious meals to the important of regular exercise to why it’s important to get enough sleep and even how to work the washing machine. It means exposing them to as many different places, cultures and different people as possible to give them a balanced outlook on life.
It means encouraging them to step outside their comfort zones, aspire and achieve.
For all these reasons, and many more, it’s said that travel is the best education for young people. And while they certainly get some of this on their family holidays in new and exotic lands, there’s much debate on whether parents can and should take children on longer international trips, staying away from their home country for months at a time.
Here we’ll take a look at some of the benefits and caveats of taking your children travelling (COVID notwithstanding, of course)…
It’s an immersive, hands-on learning experience
The opportunity to immerse themselves in new cultures, sights, scents, tastes and sounds is the most hands-on learning experience they can get, awakening dormant parts of their minds and engaging them in their learning in ways that they rarely experience outside of school.
Children learn in different ways, and it’s important to engage them visually, aurally and kinaesthetically (looking, hearing and doing) to ensure that they get a holistic learning experience. The kind that they remember from years to come, rather than blurring together in the way that lessons (and school days) can.
They can still engage with the curriculum
Of course, kids will learn while travelling by visiting sites of historical interest, checking in at museums, walking through galleries and walking among the natural and man-made wonders of the world.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for the curriculum too. The past few months have shown parents that with some resources from their kids’ teachers, and a little patience they can engage their kids with the curriculum even if they’re not in school.
It may be more affordable than you’d think
Travel gives kids experiences that are valuable in ways that can’t be measures in pennies and pounds. But needless to say, you have to think about money before sailing (or jetting) across the world with your little ones in tow.
Still, while there are certainly cheaper ways to spend your time, you may be surprised by how affordable you can make it, especially when travelling to certain destinations throughout Asia. Places like Kuala Lumpur, for instance, offer luxurious living for a fraction of what you’d pay in any UK city. Take a look at some of these charming Ara Damansara condo for rent. Home-sharing apps like Air BnB can also be an invaluable resource when travelling with your youngsters.
Using airfare tracking apps can also save you a small fortune when getting around, especially when you can be flexible about when you travel. While you’ll undoubtedly want to make dining out part of your experience, further savings can be made by shopping and eating like a local at your chosen destination.
However, while there are undoubtedly awesome opportunities when travelling with your kids, you need to approach it with your eyes wide open and be aware of the caveats and risks.
Hope for the best, plan for the worst!
This is one situation where your motto should be that of the scouts… “be prepared!”. As nice as it is to hope for the best, it’s also essential to prepare for the worst. For instance, you should ensure that every member of your family is covered by a travel insurance policy that meets the needs and circumstances of your trip.
Whenever you book a flight, know what to do if it is cancelled or delayed. And whenever you plan a trip, it’s a good idea to have a backup in case weather or circumstances make it untenable on any given day.
Mastering the balance of “school” and fun
Finally, one of the finest lines you’ll walk is keeping the trip fun for your kids and finding time to educate them.
While there’s bound to be some overlap, you’ll need to be able to compartmentalise your time effectively, so that you manage to imbue “class” with the gravity and importance it deserves, while also ensuring that the trip is a fum, rewarding experience for your whole family.
Disclosure: this is a collaborative post