Delayed flights, weather changes, understaffed establishments or a rocky road...

Delayed flights, weather changes, understaffed establishments or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment. Credit: Dreamstime

More than ever, we can be thankful for the freedom to explore the wider world. Here are five reasons to be grateful for family travel:

Travel broadens perspectives

Whether you travel to the next county or circle the globe, moving out of your comfort zone can enhance your family's understanding of the world.

We can take note of the language, dress, music, recreational and culinary differences and similarities of our fellow citizens when we venture into new territory.

We can also appreciate the challenges and advantages that families experience in parts beyond. Make an effort to see the view through the eyes of others, including our own family members. And, take note of how a friendly smile is welcome currency in nearly every corner of the world.

Travel builds character

Travel provides parents and grandparents the opportunity to model what matters most. Will you exhibit patience when the line snakes around the corner, your favorite hotel is sold out, or the museum is temporarily closed?

Delayed flights, weather changes, understaffed establishments or a rocky road help all of us learn to live in the moment, share resources, manage unexpected consequences and see the bright side of the occasional travel mishap. How the adults respond to challenging scenarios will influence the developing character of young adventurers. As always, kindness matters.

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Travel serves up nature's bounty

The first flakes of the season, a supermoon rising over the mountaintops, elk bugling in the distance, the gentle mist from a nearby waterfall, a trout rising midstream, and the crunch of the trail under hiking boots. Awe-inspiring experiences in the natural world are nurturing to the youngest of souls. Venture to nature preserves, national parks, deep canyons and shimmering lakes, where dark skies allow the starry expanse to light your world.

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Travel is inspiring and educational

Feed your children's natural curiosity through travel. Do they yearn to learn more about art, history or science? Is there a burgeoning chef, musician or engineer in your midst? How about a language-immersion class? Are your kids curious about other religions, cultures or lifestyles? Are they concerned about climate change?

Whether you opt for magnificent museums, nature's classroom or immersive experiences, expand their knowledge (and your own) by exploring new ideas together.

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Travel enhances connection

Leave the laundry and homework behind and reconnect in a cozy cabin or yurt, on a blustery beach or on a small ship at sea. Keep technology to a minimum and focus on one another's company and conversation.

Take walks in the woods, watch a sunset, listen to the birds sing, the owls hoot and the wind whistle. Play board games and tell stories. Remind yourselves that the best things in life are free. You'll return home knowing your time well spent will last longer than the latest gadget or a trendy fashion item. Because time flies, be "glad you did" rather than "wishing you had."

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