Most parents shudder at the thought of planning a trip abroad for their family; how will we manage the change in daily routines? Will they feel uncomfortable in a new place? Who is going to ensure we are safe? These questions are completely normal and natural. Because of the extensive time and responsibility it takes to plan a holiday abroad, it’s easy to see why we opt for road trips or short family vacations every time. However, by taking the step to introduce your children to a foreign country, the long reaching benefits are far more valuable than you could imagine. There are hundreds of family friendly vacation options in South America to choose from, such as the scenically-diverse trip from Lima to Machu Picchu by land, sometimes called “the gringo route”. From powerful self-awareness lessons to memorable connections, you’ll be more excited than ever before to book a family trip.
Self-Esteem is Nurtured
Traveling is a proven confidence booster; the excitement of taking off into uncharted lands at your leisure with no outside stresses can be liberating. By letting go of what’s regimented and scheduled, it frees up your child to experience life differently. When you plan activities they’ve never tried, the opportunity for self-development skyrockets. Psychology Today highlights trying new things as an opportunity to discover an unknown passion, encourage growth and prevent boredom. Children especially need stimuli as their minds are constantly being shaped by what’s around them. Put away the screens and controllers and choose a once in a lifetime experience that is sure to add an entertaining and cultivating chapter to your family’s story.
Family Bonds are Stronger
There is no doubt that time spent together as a family creates a tight-knight bond. However, the quality of that time can strengthen the bond as quickly as it’s made. Choosing to take a trip to a destination that is unfamiliar to everyone involved, requires teamwork and open communication along the way. Anticipate issues and snags in your itinerary; these are the tiny nuggets of gold hidden in cloudy waters. Utilize smart problem solving skills and show your children how, even when things don’t work out as planned, all will be resolved in the end.
Sneak in a few family activities for fun that will get you outside having a great time. Picnics, card games, playing catch or jump rope are simple pleasures that bring a sense of stability on a trip abroad.
Responsibility and Curiosity
Enduring a foreign country as a child can be equally thrilling and scary. Not understanding the language or failing to recognize societal norms is potentially destabilizing, so take advantage of a learning opportunity in culture and travel. Show them the positive side of learning new skills, and encourage them to ask questions so that they too, can discover the answers. Curiosity is one of the most powerful tools for intelligence that any person can nurture.
Once your trip is booked, involve your kids in the packing and organizing process as much as possible. Show them how much work goes into preparing the vacation; teach them secrets to packing clothes cleverly, create a checklist of items so nothing is forgotten, and give them a map they can use as you drive to the airport, go on the plane, and venture into new territory. For younger children, a simple map with drawings of landmarks is perfect. Older children will enjoy the detail of a more organized map from Google.
Rewards Courageous Behavior
Risk and reward are the natural components of success in all aspects of life. Understanding how to gauge your risk and potential reward can help you make smarter decisions. Foreign countries are the perfect habitat to cultivate courage in yourself and your children, by incorporating interesting activities, foods and patterns in the day. Persevering in the face of anxiety is a compelling trait in any person, and contributes to self-esteem and determination in the long run. As you continuously model the behavior which provides insight into courage and confidence, your child will recognize the benefits contained therein. As they grow into young adults, the multitude of opportunities for educational and personal growth will appear to be as easy as the core lessons they learned while your family was abroad. Over time, both you and your family will make stronger and healthier steps toward courageous action.