10 Reasons Why Family Travel is the Best Kind of Travel
Written by: Emily-Ann Doerksen
In 2012, a family of five spent six months travelling in 18 countries across four continents. At 16-years old, I had no idea how this experience would change my life. Five years and many independent trips later, I have realised that my best memories have come from the six months that I spent squished between my parents and my siblings 24/7.
Here are my top 10 reasons why:
- Family will never leave you
Long days and nights of travel can burden even the most experienced traveller. As a family, no matter how tough and difficult it was, we knew it was important to be a family and we couldn’t leave anyone behind. Instead, we had to talk it out and get over it.
- Memories won’t be just left in a photo album
Instead, the stories will be shared and relived at random times. Last summer when we were forced to walk up four flights of stairs because the elevator was busted, our tired legs reminded us of the gruelling 800+ stairs that we hiked up in Petra, Jordan.
- The challenges of living with one another have already been lived through
Lateness, moodiness, frustration and miscommunication are all issues that have been faced before at home. Families have an advantage over a group of friends because individual habits, needs and limits have already been discovered. Knowing these limits allowed my family to understand when we needed a chill day to lounge.
- Everything is shared
The best part about traveling with a family is that instead of having to carry your entire life on your own back, someone else can carry it! Also, whenever my family ate out we had an underlying rule. Never order the same thing. As they say, the best way to travel is to “taste your way around the globe”, why try only one entrée when you can try five!
- When you get home, you have debriefing partners who understand
Many backpackers warned us about the culture shock that we would experience once we returned home. Travelling can change a person, especially a teenager. Exhilarating adventure became our new normal. My siblings and I did and saw so many incredible things that most kids our age could only dream of, let alone have a conversation about. As a family we experienced culture shock together and supported one another as we adjusted.
- Travel is the best education
Quick question: Would you rather learn about the fall of the Berlin wall slouching at a desk, pencil in hand, eyes glazed over watching a PowerPoint presentation or would you rather learn by touring the actual museum and touching the wall that made history? Currency conversion, simple foreign language phrases, social etiquette, journaling the day in perfect detail, everything is just a time to learn.
- A family is relatable in all cultures
Many of our hosts went out of their way to make sure we were safe and comfortable. They said that our family reminded them of their own children waiting for them at home. My parents were often called “father” and “mother” before any introduction. My cute, blonde, blue-eyed 10-year old brother was often the centre of attention, receiving nicknames, gifts, and once, a proposal.
- There is no one to impress
It didn’t matter if I had awful tan lines, if my hair was a giant knot or if I was in an awful mood, my family didn’t care. I was completely free to be myself, to wear what I wanted and to express myself how I wanted because the only people who cared was my family.
- Wisdom of the ages
There are so many things would not have known if I hadn’t traveled with my parents beforehand. Their experience carried us through every sticky situation. The innocence of my younger siblings shed brought new perspectives on what I was seeing.
- Once in a lifetime experiences
Need another good reason why traveling with your family is the best? Parents have money! As a broke university student, I am incredibly thankful to my parents for investing in their children by giving my siblings and I an unforgettable trip of a lifetime. Will we go again? Absolutely. Would I do this with my children? 100%, yes. This gift is one I will never forget about.
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