Why I Believe in Traveling with my Kids

Last Monday I had the opportunity to do a Live Stream on an awesome YouTube channel called Pusa Studios, where we chatted about my own YouTube travel channel, bucket lists, travel in general, and a variety of other topics. It was my first Live Stream and I was a little nervous, but Pusa Studios were great hosts and put me right at ease. If you want to check out the video, I'll post the link here bookmarked to my entrance (there is an hour of Live Stream before that, which you are welcome to watch as well!).

Part of our conversation focused on the topic of traveling with children, and how travel has affected my children thus far. We haven't taken Avy and Parker on a big international trip yet. (Although Avy did come with us to Costa Rica when she was 10 months old, but Parker had not quite joined our ranks yet. He was still a three-month-old fetus then!)

We have done several lengthy road trips with the kids, stayed at a cabin in British Columbia every summer since they were born, and I take them with me all the time on fun day-trip adventures. They are with me when I take notes on sights we see, and are usually a big part of my YouTube videos.

After I completed my chat with Pusa Studios, I took some time to really think about WHY traveling with my kids is so important to me.

I had a blast being a guest on Pusa Studio's live stream!

A lot of people think that traveling with children is a waste of money and effort. Excuses that come to mind are:

"They are too young to remember it."
"They aren't interested in any of the things we are seeing."
"It costs so much extra to pay for the kids to travel too."
"Kids really slow you down when you travel."

I'm sure you've either heard these reasons before, or have even said them. I know I have. I'm not delusional; these are all valid excuses and often true. Your kids probably won't remember the trip, they do cost extra money, and you can't fit in as much in a day while towing children along. But that doesn't mean it isn't worth it.

Playing in the ocean with 10-month-old Avy in Costa Rica.

My belief is that there is a time and a place. In October we are going to Vienna on a corporate-sponsored business trip. My husband will be in meetings all day long, and I am expected to attend functions as his wife. This is probably not a trip for our children, as they can't be with their parents for significant chunks of time. If we did bring them, we'd have to bring a nanny which is A LOT of additional cost. So for that trip, my children will be staying with their grandparents, having the time of their lives.

But that isn't to say I don't want my kids to benefit from traveling, because I fully believe travel helps children grow into inquisitive, caring, open-minded, and adaptable human beings. Even if they don't remember the details of the vacation.

I will use myself as an example. My family took huge vacations every summer - not on airplanes flying abroad, because we couldn't afford that when I was a child. But every summer we loaded up our mini-van to the roof with tents, tarps, suitcases, sleeping bags, camp cooking equipment (you name a camping tool, we probably had it) and headed off into the great unknown.

Cuddling a baby raccoon on one of my many family road trips growing up.

Usually the great unknown was British Columbia, one province over. We had friends in Kelowna that we'd stay with for a week who had lakeside property. I remember several summers where my friend Kerri-Ann and I would swim out to the floating dock with a float bag, and have 'picnics' out on the lake, singing songs at the top of our lungs because who could hear us? (Everyone, it turned out.)

Kerri-Ann and I singing "Itsy Bitsy Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" on the dock at top volume.

Other times we drove out to Vancouver Island and stay at Long Beach, my parents' favourite getaway.  We would drive out to the island slowly, camping as we went along, then camp on the island, and then camp along the route on our way home. If my memory serves me correctly, it was always Dad and I who set up the tent and campsite, while Mom took my two younger sisters out for a stretch and a walk so they'd be out of our way. I remember being insanely proud that it was just Dad and I who knew how to set up camp.

My family (and my cousin in the black) on one of our trips to Vancouver Island.

Once we drove down to North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. I would have been pretty old by this time, maybe 12? And still I don't remember too much about the trip. Flashbacks include the massive crowd at Mount Rushmore and feeling squished and annoyed, or the time I threw up at Deadwood because all of the displays were soaked in formaldehyde and the smell made me sick. I remember we forgot my baby sister's stroller at Deadwood because we were in such a rush to leave due to my illness.

Me enjoying the beautiful view on our USA road trip.

I remember my sister cut her finger at Devil's Tower in Wyoming and my mom had to return to the ranger station to get a band-aid, and while she was doing that, we walked back to the car, so she ran all the way around Devil's Tower looking for us, and when she found us just lounging there at the car she was livid! But beyond those memories, I didn't seem to retain much from the trip.

But those four memories are priceless to me. Those four simple memories solidify my notion that our family had some amazing times, that we were a strong family unit, and that my parents cared about their children's well-being and experiences. So what if I don't remember every single detail, or the information from the placards at Deadwood, or even that my memory from Deadwood is that I hated it? I still remember my family taking me there and caring about me when I got sick. Isn't that what is important?

My experiences camping with my family, in helping my dad set up the tent and unpack (then pack back up) the van taught me to take pride in working hard, the value of knowledge, a work ethic to take care of others. It taught me responsibility. On those days that we had to set up or take down camp in the pouring rain, it taught me resilience and problem-solving. And I still remember loving to go travel, to go camping with my family, despite some of those chilly days. It taught me a passion for exploring the world.

The 'tent-setting-up' dream team of Dad and I.

My family didn't have money to take my sisters and I on big flights, to stay in all-inclusive resorts or on cruise liners. But that didn't mean we never traveled. There are ways to explore the world that don't require a lot of funding.

This summer we are going camping for the first time ever with our own children. My husband and I are perhaps the only ones in our group of friends who DON'T own a trailer; we prefer tenting. The kids will be 3 and 4 this summer, and we feel they are old enough to try sleeping in a tent. A whole new avenue of travel will be open to us if they enjoy camping as much as we do! (Or even if they don't. I don't care. They'll learn to like camping! LOL)

Exploring the slippery rocks on Vancouver Island. 

I can't stress enough how important I think travel is for children. And it doesn't have to be extravagant. Kids need to see the world beyond their own community bubble. They should see how others live. They should try new foods. They should face the unknown and teach their brains how to process the strange and unusual and create a new version of reality. They should learn to problem-solve in new situations. They should make memories with their families that diverge from their every day life. Travel provides opportunities for all of that.

It's okay if you don't agree. To each their own, I say. I just know I am grateful for the experiences my parents gave me growing up, and my aim is to do the same for my offspring. And hopefully one day, my kids become my favourite travel partners!


  1. nice blog I like it! when you do a live using google hangouts...just minimize the google hangout window and switch over to the window that has your u tube channel and you will see the chat for your live stream....will be back for next stream...don't worry..i have only done 2 myself and it's a little sticky at first! :) good luck!

    1. I've got it figured out now - how to do a live stream by myself - but I still need to learn how to invite others into the stream with me so I can do some joint projects! But I'll get there eventually! :)