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Traveling with Small Kids

Traveling with Kids - A Tremendous Gift

Our family loves to travel and we believe it is important to diversify life's experiences. Our kids love the anticipation, going to the airport/airplane and exploring new destinations to meet people, try foods and enjoy new experiences. We believe family travel elevates happiness because trips are unique, they help us connect more and they live on through stories. We feel travel’s benefits extend to strengthening emotional intelligence, appreciating diversity, engaging new communities, pushing beyond comfort zones and building resilience. After each trip, the kids record recap videos highlighting their favorite activities and allowing them to relive these special experiences.  

Americans should consider that a meaningful way to use all earned vacation time could be to incorporate more travel into leisure time. With people consistently not using all earned vacation, there is an opportunity to embrace the happiness travel can produce. Research suggests those who plan vacation in advance enjoy the experience because while trips come and go quickly, we consume anticipation of experiences and enjoy sharing stories afterwards. Planning unique vacation experiences which cannot be compared to others - or at least making some aspects of a trip unique – creates lasting positive memories and builds the desire to plan future trips. To help make travel an ongoing occurrence, consider seeing it beyond just a discrete period of time but something to talk about and think about long beforehand and for many years afterwards. 

Travel provides opportunities for memorable shared experiences with close ones. According to NYU and the Family Travel Association, family travel is one of fastest‐growing tourism segments representing over 1/3rd of leisure trips. 93% say they are likely or very likely to travel with kids valuing the educational and emotional benefits of travel. Parents spend on travel – a typical U.S. vacation costs $4,580 for a family of four - because of its importance to family bonding. Baby Boomers also see travel with grandchildren as valuable to family life. According to the U.S. Travel Association, 35% of grandparents travel with grandchildren and spend $4 billion on travel and recreation with them. Research by the Family Holiday Association indicates family trips can also serve as "happiness anchors" - 49% said their happiest memory was on family vacation, 33% said they vividly remember childhood family vacations and 25% use these memories to get through tough times. 

As travel increases across generations, kids are important beneficiaries. Travel is educational - offering freedom from daily routines, learning of new cultures, trying of new cuisines and exploring of new places. Kids are also showing more interest in planning travel with 54% of parents saying kids have influence over family vacations and spend. Child psychotherapists suggest travel with kids can also be beneficial to their brain development since enriched environments offer new experiences that strengthen social, physical, cognitive, and sensory interactions. These environments can make kids smarter by enhancing executive functions like stress regulation, attention, concentration, good planning, ability to learn, and improved physical and mental health.

Parents can also use travel to create lasting memories for their kids - 61% of kids want to spend quality time with parents on vacation and 75% of parents feel family vacations are worth the time and money because they give kids experiences they remember years later. Families can use travel and time off to strengthen their own relationships. 84% of kids feel closer to parents when they take time off, 82% say parents are more fun to be around when they take time off and 60% say they see a different side of their parents on vacation. Socializing across generations among relatives is also important for kids as they remember multifamily gatherings more than other kinds, enjoy hearing family stories and develop a sense of identity as part of a family with shared past. 

So the key takeaway is to travel with kids =). 

Travel Tips with Small Kids

-   Remain Flexible
-   Prepare Your Toddler for New Sights, Sounds and Tastes
-   Take Toddler Travel Supplies for Your Hotel Room
-   Reserve Accommodations That Suit Your Needs
-   Be Prepared to Sightsee With Toddlers
-   Fit in Naps When Possible
-   Encourage Kids to Carry Their Own Belongings
-   Bring Multipurpose Items
-   Pack a Single Family Suitcase for Efficiency
-   Choose Quiet Activities for Flights
-   Learn Something Together
-   Reconnect Without Electronic Devices
-   Travel With Toddler Hygiene Essentials
-   Stock Up On Treats Before Departure
-   Book the Safest In-Flight Options
-   Use a Car Seat on Road Trips

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