Family travel is never wasted on young minds, so why not use it as the perfect “experiential prezzy” for birthdays or Christmas?
Maria Wyatt has been lucky enough to explore the world working as a member of the Jetstar Cabin Crew for almost a decade and, with four kids aged between 2 and 18, has had the privilege as a family to enjoy many holidays throughout the various ages and stages of parenting. “In my opinion, travel is one of the best investments we can make for our children.” Here’s why:
1. Family travel create memories that last a lifetime
People will try and tell you that ‘kids are too young to remember holidays, so why bother?’ but I beg to differ; my teens still have the best memories of travelling in their younger years. In the same way children remember their favourite bedtime story, holidays create memories that you and your littlies can share forever, and a bond between parents and children that nothing will break.
Of course, holidays do come with a price tag, but you don’t have to break the bank with an international trip – a surprise weekend away in beautiful Aotearoa is just as good. The key is to break away from your usual routine and create those priceless learning opportunities and memories with your little ones.
2. Travel is a gift the whole family can enjoy
Every now and then, everyone needs a break from their routine and a change of scenery to recharge their batteries. As the saying goes, our time is the best gift we can give our children, and holidays enable us to do just that. The everyday pressures of work, schooling and extracurricular activities melt away on holiday, creating a relaxed environment that brings the whole clan closer together. Better yet, you get to rediscover each other’s personalities as you are presented with unfamiliar environments that you can discover and navigate together.
3. family Travel enhances your child’s personal growth and independence
As a parent it’s been important to me to instil a love of travel and adventure in my children; not only for the priceless moments they will experience as kids, but to give them the confidence and the courage to jet off on their own someday. Travel provides unique opportunities to experience things they wouldn’t have otherwise – they learn more about themselves as they engage in new activities and discover their preferences and interests. As a family we’ve enjoyed stepping out of our comfort zone and, in turn, encouraging our children to do the same when it comes to travel.
4. Family travel broaden children’s horizons
As well as all the good times holidays provide, travelling when you are young gives kids the chance to experience new cultures and ways of living that are different from their own. In this globalised world and living in such a multicultural country like New Zealand, it’s a good idea to raise our children’s awareness of different cultures so they can learn to be adaptable, respectful, and celebrate the qualities and diversity of different cultures. When children travel, they meet and play with people from all over the world and they learn that although we might look different, we are all the same.
Although travelling with kids isn’t always easy, it has priceless benefits. They will learn valuable lessons and keep memories that will stay with them for life. My best advice to parents is to have a relaxed approach when planning a holiday and know that it will not be perfect, but it will certainly be worth it.
Just keep in mind the children’s ages and stages when deciding where to travel; start with short-haul destinations and expand your horizons as they get older. So when you are choosing between buying the latest gadget and going on a family holiday, think about the benefits of spending time together and creating those unforgettable memories that will benefit your child’s development and self-esteem – there is no competition.
Maria Wyatt has been lucky enough to explore the world working as a member of the Jetstar Cabin Crew, and is very proud to work for a company that prioritises affordable travel and creates memorable travel experiences for families.