8 Surprising Reasons to Travel with Your Kids

family travel Sep 03, 2023
Happy family and kids with travel

“My son, if your heart is wise, then my heart will be glad.” Proverbs 23:15


Travel is supposed to be fun!  How is managing the wants and needs of little people going to facilitate that kind of experience?  

Or maybe you do desire to travel with your kids, but you feel like you’re not able to pull it off successfully.  

In the past, you may have had great intentions, but the experience was not as glamorous as you envisioned.  In this post, we will detail why we prefer travel with kids with the hope that you might catch the vision and make the decision to try out family travel with your kids for yourself.

Where to start?

First of all, we need to set our expectations correctly.  Travel is not a right we have earned or an obligation we must endure – it is a gift from God!  We don’t have to go on adventures; we get to!  The same is even more true of our children.  They are not a hindrance to our enjoyment but a direct invitation into the goodness of God.  

When we approach traveling with our kids in the correct posture, it makes all the difference.  Recognizing travel and our kids as the God-given blessings they are is the first step in stewarding both well. Let’s explore some reasons we love traveling with our kids.

1) It creates shared anticipation.

 We never surprise our children with a trip because we want them to be a part of the preparation process.  We want them to get excited too!  Anticipating the adventure is half the fun!  When we plan and research together, it changes from mom and dad’s trip to the whole family’s trip.  We often read and watch shows about our destination before leaving.  

Our kids share their ideas for the trip, which allows them to feel ownership over the experience.  We find that when our kids imagine our trip ahead of time, the exciting events, and the possible challenges, it creates a better outcome for everyone.  “Visualizing” what is to come can make things go a lot smoother, the same way someone might visualize their actions before a performance or activity to improve the outcome.

We have found that it pays off to plan even for the nitty-gritty specifics.  How are we going to react if something doesn’t go as planned?  What should we do if we are tired, hungry, or need to use the bathroom?  We try to specifically address these points before a long travel day or a new activity to minimize the “drama” those conditions could create, which should be planned for and anticipated if you travel with kids.

2) It brings glory to God.

 As with every area of life, travel is an opportunity for us to bring glory to God!  We can give Him glory both for our travel and through our travel.  While a trip may be a chance to change up our normal routine and experience new things, we don’t leave who we are at home.  We take our identity as Christians with us into the fun (and sometimes unknown) of travel!  

New settings and circumstances allow us to glorify God in fresh ways and model to our children how God is with us wherever we go.  We can honor Him at home and at a hotel.  We can see His beauty in our backyard and in a desert scene.  We can share Him with our neighbors and the strangers we encounter along the road.  We love worshiping at our local church and reading our Bible in our living room.  But it’s also special to praise God on a mountain or read together around a fire!

If you have ever traveled anywhere, you know well that things don’t always go as planned.  It’s one thing to model Christlikeness when you’re in your routine and everything is going smoothly.  It’s another thing to be Christlike when tensions are high and we have to rely on the power of God to access the fruits of the Spirit.  

What a powerful experience for our children to see their parents in challenging situations choosing to love God instead of foolishness!  What a beautiful opportunity for us to disciple our children when they too are tempted toward foolishness amidst changed plans or disappointing situations.  We pray to have eyes to see these teachable moments!  God is faithful to use them powerfully in our lives and the lives of our children.

3) We have shared experiences.

There’s nothing like the shared experience of travel.  In today’s busy world, it is increasingly rare to spend extended time together as a family.  A trip is an opportunity to do just that!  When you spend so much uninterrupted time together, it is common for memorable conversations to occur naturally.  Moments and topics that might not otherwise come up in the busyness of everyday tasks do when you’re together day after day, eating, sleeping, playing, and resting together.  We find that many of the meaningful, shared experiences we have occur spontaneously for our family because we created the opportunity for them.  

When traveling, we try as much as possible to find activities that we can all do together as a family and not do things that only interest us individually.  Kids don’t need to be entertained every moment, however.  Being present and available is enough.  What our kids are truly hungry for is simple, quality time with their parents.

4)  We experience awe together.

Even if we live in a remarkably beautiful part of the world, we can see and explore many other amazing aspects of God through travel.  God’s craftsmanship is evident in His creation (Psalm 104:24).  This awareness helps us, adults and kids, know God more and practice gratefulness.  

Who gave us our family?  God!  Who gave us the money to travel?  God!  Who made all the amazing things we are seeing?  God!  Traveling as a family gives us so many opportunities to thank God for being a good Father who gives good gifts. And not just to us, but to His people all over the world.  Romans 1:20 tells us that one of His creation’s purpose is actually to point people to Him so that they might know Him more and know that He is kind, wise, powerful, and divine.

5) We grow in gratefulness. 

We have found that exposing our children to other places in our nation and world has been transformative for their experience of gratefulness.  We teach our children that God provides for His creatures all across the globe, but some struggle differently than we do.  The hope is that they will gain gratefulness for the many blessings they experience living where we do

6) It creates shared memories.

These shared experiences turn into shared memories that bond our family together. Whether it’s reflecting on what we learned, laughing about a funny moment, or remembering something that didn’t go as planned, the memories draw us together.  We find ourselves sharing these memories with each other, as well as friends, for a long time after the trip is over.  

Pro Tip:  After a significant or meaningful trip, make a photo book.  This allows us to look back on the trip, individually or as a family, whenever we want.  It also stimulates discussion around some of the great or challenging experiences we had together on that particular trip.

7) We get to point people toward Jesus.

As in all things in life, pointing others to Jesus should always be our top priority.  Travel is no different.  We steward the gift of travel well by pointing our spouse and children toward Jesus as well as anyone we encounter.  Remembering that our travel and our very lives are gifts from God will help us relinquish any selfishness we may feel.  When opportunities come up to love like Jesus and share Him with others, we can be quick to say yes.  This is important for our own walk with Jesus as well as how we model our faith to our children.  We are not always perfect in this!  But when we fail, we can model repentance and forgiveness as well – another vital element of radical stewardship.  

Pro Tip: Take hospitality on the road! We have developed a family tradition of taking Christmas cards to the folks we regularly see on our travels during Christmas time, such as those who staff the lodges we frequent.

8) We learn together.

There are so many ways to learn together as a family when you travel!  Reading and watching shows about your destinations before or after travel can really enrich the experience.  There are a lot of things to observe in the people, culture, and resources around us.

And, of course, the food!  That’s what many people enjoy most about travel, right?  We also like to attend shows and performances and enjoy the talents that God has blessed other individuals with.

These opportunities to learn together as a family are unique, as we typically do not consistently share learning opportunities throughout our daily lives.  Kids and parents have school and personal hobbies to pursue.  When we travel, all our experiences and our learning is shared, which is a powerful thing!


Personal Story

One of the most significant challenges we faced while traveling was also one of our greatest lessons and family bonding experiences.  While we didn’t know it at the time, Lexi was coming down with a nasty infection when we left for a weekend trip to Branson, MO.  The condition continued to progress throughout the trip, causing her to experience significant pain both during the day and night.  

We all worked together as a family to figure out what was going on and discover how we could help her be as comfortable as possible during the trip.  We learned to be patient with her and each other, we all shared the experience together, and we were able to demonstrate our faith through our actions by being patient and caring toward Lexi.  

Fortunately, after we returned home, we got her infection successfully treated with a few days of intravenous antibiotics in the hospital, and she had no long-term problems. We still reflect on that challenging trip and the blessings and lessons God allowed us to learn as a family through it.

Key Points

1) We must remember that travel and our kids are both gifts from God, and we should strive to radically steward them together, not individually.

2) As in all things, we should use travel to point others to Jesus.

3) We can grow in our faith and encourage family members in their faith through travel.

4) The time together during family travel with your kids creates many unique short-and long-term blessings for a family.


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