Blue Suit Mom

How Travel Can Be an Ingredient for a Well-Rounded Teen

travelTraveling can be a valuable part of growing up, because once a child leaves her home for the last time, she’ll need the experience of moving around in the world (both with her family and by herself) to fall back on. You can start giving your children the experiences of travel when they’re infants, but the good news is that the benefits of your family trips and vacations both in early childhood and during their teen years will last for decades.

Greater earning potential

Learning on vacation, whether it’s studying abroad or visiting a national park with family, is known as educational travel — a vacation where the goal is to learn. Studies have shown that there are immense benefits from this type of travel that may not be clear until later in life. For example, a 2013 study showed that adults who traveled for educational reasons as teens wound up earning around 12 percent more than their non-traveling peers.

Higher grades

In addition to later and greater earning potential, those who traveled for educational reasons as teens shared that their trips made them more intellectually curious, and they were more likely to graduate and seek higher education. They reported that they were, as a result of their trips, more interested in classroom discussions, and even though the trips were educational in nature, most of them found these types of vacations fun — not boring.

Increased independence

When a teen travels alone, without his mom and dad, it teaches lessons that we as parents cannot do on our own. Whether your child is traveling with a sports team, a scouting troop or staying at a sleepaway camp, he will soon realize that he has to rely on a different set of resources, which will help him grow more independent while he has a great time. Dish’s The Dig offers more insight into when you should let your child engage in a variety of new activities.

Best safety practices for travel

When you or your kids make the decision to do a little roaming, there are many considerations to keep in mind for the health and safety of your entire family. You’ll want to make sure that everyone gets adequate rest, particularly if you cross a time zone or two. Hydration is even more important while flying, especially if you’re traveling to a higher altitude than everyone is accustomed to, because thinner air can be dehydrating.

For teens traveling alone, help them write down all pertinent information to keep with them at all times, such as name, address, immunizations, doctor’s name and address, allergies, ongoing health problems and medications needed for any reason. It’s also a good idea to provide the name and contact information for another friend or relative in case of emergency.

Travel memories can last a lifetime

No matter what age you begin traveling with your kids, those memories are cemented, and they will usually be looked back on quite fondly. A study showed that when adults were polled about vacations they took when they were kids, they described those memories as very vivid. And the study also found that these memories were often passed down from generation to generation, as many people recalled their parents telling them about their own vacations.

All of these factors work to bring a family closer together, which can have lifelong benefits as your child leaves home and makes her own way in the world. Helping your teen gain travel experience, learn on vacation, greet new cultures and spend time away from mom and dad are some of the best gifts you can give her.

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