As you and your children begin to navigate the planet together, sharing your knowledge while teaching them to make their own way will create confident and compassionate travelers for the future. Here are a five lessons that travel can teach the next generation:
1. Preparation breeds confidence. By involving your kids in the travel planning process, they will learn that a little planning goes a long way. Show them maps, books, websites and pictures. Encourage them to learn a few words or phrases of the language spoken in your intended destination.
2. Our similarities outweigh differences. When exploring different cultures or sharing a passion for the natural world, kids will learn that an interest in beautiful vistas or appreciation for the bounty of a farmers market is the kind of shared human experience that creates a meaningful bond.
3. Responsibility rewards. Taking as much responsibility as possible for their own part in a trip is empowering for kids. Help them learn the importance of having the right gear for an adventure trip or the proper attire for a city visit. Then, encourage them to pack their own belongings.
4. Curiosity pays dividends. A wealth of research indicates that curious people are happier, more satisfied with life, more motivated to learn. Encourage the kids to learn about your destination in advance and nurture their inquiring minds. Nudge them to turn off the technology and to tune in to the experience at hand
5. Parents are people, too. You may be the one that insists on homework first, the brushing of teeth and making the bed, but your kids will eventually give you credit for a real travel adventure. Even teens who resist trading time with friends for a family trip can recognize the benefits of expanding their world.