Compared to taking a solo trip, traveling with children as a guardian or a parent means worrying about another set of feet getting tired or about when you’ll hear the grumbling of a little stomach. Through kids’ eyes, however, you will see a whole new side of the world.
1. You’re constantly on the move
No matter how well behaved someone is, airplanes have a way of making kids (and adults) irritable. The amount of luggage you take with you will usually depend on your child’s age. Two years old and below? Dragging that stroller along everywhere is non-negotiable.
When it comes to planning out your days, as a guardian or parent, your schedule always starts hours earlier than the kids’. You have no choice but to wake up earlier to prepare for the day and help get them ready, too. Time management in a different time zone is not as flexible in your home country.
One minute you’re inside a toy store, and before you know it, you’re off running after your children on unfamiliar streets, making sure they stay on the sidewalk. Any trip can feel like a marathon when you are trying to keep up with children.
But, the extra exercise you will get is a good thing. Even picking up after kids’ messes helps you squeeze in crunches you wouldn’t normally make time for. Wherever there are kids, a mess will exist. Carrying an infant or a toddler burns about 211 calories per hour. Babywearing burns about 400 calories. So, your kids can actually help you lose weight or tone up those upper body problem areas.
2. Involuntary healthy eating
A healthy diet can be a nonexistent concept while you travel. But, when you travel with kids, there will be times when you consider skipping out on ordering a lavish meal because you know you won’t be able to eat it in peace anyway. You just saved yourself an extra few bucks and a pile of calories. Losing weight is inevitable when you’re sharing with a picky eater.
Overall health doesn’t have to be dictated by your diet alone, though. Generally, travel helps boost our overall well-being – salad or no salad. Being on the move in a foreign country will lift your mood and give you extra exercise. You have all the right to indulge and spoil yourself.
On the other hand, children usually have a major sweet tooth, so expect to buy tons of sweets and calorie-filled sugary goodness. Sharing is optional.
3. Kids make you even more financially mindful
Kids often get 50% off bus and transportation fares, which is definitely a plus. However, little ones literally point at anything that catches their attention for more than five seconds and decide they want it. Immediately. This instant.
To buy or not to buy?
Before making you way to the cashier, first ask yourself: why?
With kids, you can visit the simplest places and just enjoy nature with no problem. No slides? No problem. We can just roll down this hill. Natural, scenic destinations and places that don’t call for entrance fees offer just as much excitement for you and your kids without burning a hole in your pocket.
4. Carefree and cordial
Strangers approach kids with more ease. This makes it easier for you to strike up a conversation with a local and even make a new friend. It’s not exactly manipulative; you’re just being resourceful.
Kids are nature lovers at heart. Instead of confining them within the walls of hotels and theme parks, take part in interactive and exotic adventures outdoors. There are so many more places you should explore and visit at least once in your life. Time may be ticking, but travel has no time limit. Let kids bring you there.
5. Thrifty Transactions
You and the kids eventually develop certain rules and unspoken contracts. They know that acting out or throwing a tantrum mean less dessert and an earlier bedtime.
From negotiating with your child, you also learn to negotiate and strike deals with people you meet everywhere, whether they are vendors, random strangers, or your hotel crew members. Having a child is reason enough to ask for (possible) discounts and more comfortable services and accommodations, right?
A study from Cornell University reassures us that travel experiences make us healthier and happier. Travel is not about collecting refrigerator magnets for every new country visited (guilty) or bringing back exotic souvenirs to exhibit.
Toddlers and children dictate where you eat, what you do (the small things, at least) and how long you stay in one place, but by letting them lead the way, you give them room for growth and empathy.
You also teach kids one of the biggest, most important lessons by travelling with them: the world doesn’t – and won’t ever – revolve around you, no matter how privileged or entitled you feel.
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