By Ines Bautista-Yao
It’s always a dream to be able to travel as a family. Seeing vacation posts on social media, hearing stories of your kids’ classmates as they rave about their trips — these are enough to make you want to break open your piggy bank and spend all your savings on your next grand vacation. But is it really worth it?
All you see on Facebook and Instagram are happy, smiley faces against picturesque backgrounds you can’t find in the big, bad metro. What you don’t see are the feeding struggles when your kids are faced with food they’ve never encountered before, tantrums when it’s past bedtime but you’re still struggling to find your way home because you took a wrong turn, or fights on the plane because the kids are restless, tired, and bored.
Despite all these, is traveling with your children still worth it? Yes! Here’s why.
Traveling with kids presents learning opportunities unlike any other. Finding out about different countries and cultures from TV shows and books is awesome, but imagine actually introducing your children to new places. Imagine feeding them food they’ll never try otherwise, exposing them to a different language other than what they hear on Dora the Explorer or at home, and allowing their eyes to soak in the sights of a completely different place. These experiences will make a mark not only in their minds, but in their hearts.
Traveling with kids lets you bond on a different level. My daughters and I are together every day. Since I don’t have a yaya, we do almost everything together. I don’t really need more bonding time with them. Technically, anyway. But when we’re together in a different place, we make new memories, we have different things to talk about, and we have new photos to use as wallpapers on our phones and computers! Seriously, the connections we make on a trip are tighter because we share experiences that aren’t going to get lost in the rest of the mundane. These will stand out, and maybe even more because we made them together as a family.
Traveling with kids allows you to learn more about each other. When we travel, we are put in situations we wouldn’t normally find ourselves in. These are great opportunities to learn things about each other and about ourselves. For example, I’ve always known that my daughter gets anxious easily. She’s been that way ever since she was a baby. But on a recent trip to Bohol, our plane couldn’t take off due to airport traffic. We waited inside the plane for over an hour. My husband, baby, and I were fine. But my seven-year-old was not. She couldn’t read, write, or draw because she was stressed, asking every few minutes when we were going to take off and what was taking so long. I hadn’t witnessed this side of her in ages. It made me realize that she still carries anxiety within her and it’s still something I need to help her deal with.
Traveling with kids is so much fun! This goes without saying. And if you prepare yourself for the tough moments (because they will happen), you can focus on the happier times. Looking back on the entire trip will thus bring warm, fuzzy feelings for everyone.
Featured photographs by Stanley Ong