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How to Make Travel A Learning Experience for Kids With 9 Easy To Follow Tips

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We know traveling is learning. Yet, how do you get the most out of every trip?  These tips for before, during, and after your vacation will ensure your family is  learning from every journey.

How To Make Travel A Learning Experience

After months of lockdown and travel restrictions, many of us are ready to start planning  to explore again. Ready to plan what to when we can get out there and see what we’ve  been missing. Plan to visit new destinations. And rediscover all the places we’ve been  missing. 

Yet, our travel goals may be a bit higher than they’ve been in the past. We want to  make sure every trip is worth it. When it is time to start traveling again, we want to have  travel experiences that make up for the time we’ve lost. 

As parents, we especially want to ensure travel is worthwhile for our children. We know  that journeying to new places (and rediscovering spots that are already our favorites)  can be so valuable. Our travels can be some of the best learning experiences we  provide for our children. And we want to make every trip special. 

Just how do we do that? How do we create and learn from the very best family  vacations? 

Here are a few ways our family has been able to turn traveling into a lesson before,  during, and after every trip. 

man and woman sitting on rock near seashore
How To Make Travel A Learning Experience
Photo by Elina Sazonova on Pexels.com

MAKE TRAVEL A LEARNING EXPERIENCE BEFORE YOUR TRIP.

Travel can be a learning experience … even before you leave the house.  

Planning your trip is one of the biggest components to travel. And getting kids in on the  preparation for travel is the first step to learning through travel.  

Here are 3 ways you can get kids involved and learning before the suitcases are even  packed. 

1. Get your children’s input on the destination and allow their interests to  influence your itinerary.

Haven’t yet decided where your next vacation will be? Involving the kids from the  beginning can help you pick the very best family vacation destinations. Allowing your  child to be a part of the decision is also a great way to get them learning right off the  bat.

This doesn’t mean the kids need to be allowed to choose Africa…. while you were  thinking you would travel to Europe. But rather, present a few options to them. And  allow them to have some input in answering the where of the travel equation.  

Once you’ve decided on a destination, tapping into the things your child is already truly  excited about is one of the best ways to plan a worthwhile trip. 

Have a child who is interested in animals? Make sure animal encounters are in the     plans. Know your kids love science? A visit to a hands-on science museum will surely     be memorable (a.k.a. a teaching moment) for them. Is the outdoors where your child is  always happiest? Hikes and outdoor activities will likely be some of the places where  they’ll learn the most.

diverse family in living room

How To Make Travel A Learning Experience
Photo by Keira Burton on Pexels.com

2. Learn about the place you’re going.  

After you’ve chosen the destination for your family’s next adventure, it’s time to learn all  about the place to which you’ll be traveling. 

But learning certainly does not need to be boring.  

Good books based in your destination and fun movies are a sure way to learn. Google    searches of fun facts about a place can definitely peak a child’s interest. And talking to    someone whose been to your chosen destination is a great way to get excited about     where you’re going.  

Learning about your travel destination doesn’t have to always be in the form of reading  or listening. Learning about a place can be interactive and hands-on too. 

Do a craft that’s themed after the culture you’ll be experiencing. Play a game that’s     popular in the place you’re going. Eat food you’re likely to find. Or dance to the music  that you’re sure to hear while you’re there.

3. Delve into the history of the place you’ll be visiting.  

Most travelers have some idea of the things there are to do in their chosen destination.  They know of the places they want to visit. 

But learning about the history that shaped the place you plan to travel can up the ante  to making your trip even better. Learning about the people and events that shaped the  area can make visiting there an even better learning experience. It makes travel like  exploring the setting of a book in which they’re already familiar with the characters. 

How did the area become settled? What were the people who lived there long ago  like? What were the significant events that took place there?

Every place has a story to tell. And knowing the tales behind your destination makes  traveling there even more interesting. Being familiar with a destination’s history will  make visiting it like visiting characters of a book we already love.

for reading, granny, grandmother,  How To Make Travel A Learning Experience

MAKE TRAVEL A LEARNING EXPERIENCE DURING YOUR TRIP 

The plans are made, the bags are packed, and you’re on your way. Time to let the  traveling and learning begin. 

But, what are some ways you can ensure your vacation is a travel learning experience?  We’ve got three things to keep in mind to accomplish that goal. 

1. Remember the journey is part of the lesson.  

Sometimes it’s easy to focus on the end goal of a vacation – the destination itself. But  we’ve all heard many times that life is just as much about the journey. 

So how can we embody that sentiment when traveling with our family? 

One of the ways our family has done that is through great travel and learn activities.  Games and other fun activities have helped us endure long road trips and lengthy  flights. And the kids have learned a bit in the process. 

To get a copy of the travel-and-learn activities our kids love, click HERE. Our activity  booklet is filled with things like roadtrip games, travel journal pages, and more to use  during your trip. It also has great pre-trip games and activities too. 

2. Immerse yourself in the culture of the destination just as much as the points of  interest found there.  

We truly love seeing places in person that we’ve read about in books. Visiting those  iconic landmarks that make a destination a place we’ve heard about is, after all, likely  what got us interested in traveling there at all. 

And going to that museum, enjoying the landscape, or visiting that historical spot can  be a great travel learning experience for sure. 

Yet, so can those experiences found in the lesser known spots. Those “off-the-beaten  path” stops are sometimes some of the best cultural experiences. 

Another one of our family’s favorite ways to experience a culture is to get a true “taste”  of it… literally! Sampling the local food in our destination is one of the things we love  most about traveling and learning.

Shopping in small local businesses, eating in locally owned restaurants and venturing  into the smaller areas near a destination are other ways to experience culture. And just  talking and interacting with those you meet goes a long way too. 

We truly love seeing places in person that we’ve read about in books. Visiting those  iconic landmarks that make a destination a place we’ve heard about is, after all, likely  what got us interested in traveling there at all. 

And going to that museum, enjoying the landscape, or visiting that historical spot can  be a great travel learning experience for sure. 

Yet, so can those experiences found in the lesser known spots. Those “off-the-beaten  path” stops are sometimes some of the best cultural experiences. 

Another one of our family’s favorite ways to experience a culture is to get a true “taste”  of it… literally! Sampling the local food in our destination is one of the things we love  most about traveling and learning.

Shopping in small local businesses, eating in locally owned restaurants and venturing  into the smaller areas near a destination are other ways to experience culture. And just  talking and interacting with those you meet goes a long way too. 

We truly love seeing places in person that we’ve read about in books. Visiting those  iconic landmarks that make a destination a place we’ve heard about is, after all, likely  what got us interested in traveling there at all. 

And going to that museum, enjoying the landscape, or visiting that historical spot can  be a great travel learning experience for sure. 

Yet, so can those experiences found in the lesser known spots. Those “off-the-beaten  path” stops are sometimes some of the best cultural experiences. 

Another one of our family’s favorite ways to experience a culture is to get a true “taste”  of it… literally! Sampling the local food in our destination is one of the things we love  most about traveling and learning.

Shopping in small local businesses, eating in locally owned restaurants and venturing  into the smaller areas near a destination are other ways to experience culture. And just  talking and interacting with those you meet goes a long way too. 

tourism, israel, jerusalem

How To Make Travel A Learning Experience

3. Embrace the idea of “slow travel”.

After time spent locked down due to the pandemic, many of us certainly don’t have a  difficult time coming up with all the places we want to go. It’s easy to think of all of the  things we missed when travel came to a grinding halt. 

In other words, our travel bucket lists became very long. 

Yet, we also got a taste of what a bit slower life is like. A life with less to do … but more  time to enjoy the things we could still do.  

It turns out this slower way of living just might also be the ticket to making sure your  kids learn once you get to start checking places off that bucket list. 

Slow travel means prioritizing quality over quantity of experiences. Taking the time to  really enjoy the things you do and see. 

So while it’s still perfectly ok to make those bucket lists or lists of things to do while at  a destination, know that your kids are still learning, even if you don’t get to them all. In  fact, learning is sometimes best done when we delve fully into a few things, or even  one thing, as opposed to checking each thing quickly off our list. 

So, for example, if you have 6 things you want to see while visiting a city, know ahead  of time the few that are most important to you. Start with those and spend time really  enjoying them. If you make it to the rest, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s equally as  great.  

Being in your chosen destination and slowing down may make your trip even more  meaningful than getting to your entire to-do list.  

And remember that downtime helps create better learning adventures too. Recharging  your batteries during your family vacation ensures you’re more present during each  experience.

MAKE TRAVEL A LEARNING EXPERIENCE AFTER YOUR TRIP  

The learning doesn’t need to stop just because your trip is over. In fact, now may be  the perfect time to gain the most from your family travel experience.  

These three ideas can help your kids continue to learn from travel even after you return  home.

1. Continue to explore books, movies and online resources about your  destination.  

Didn’t get to all those books and movies about your destination before your family trip?  No worries because now is a great time to enjoy them.  

Your kids may find that they’re even more interested in the books and movies based in  the place you visited. Their familiarity with the location and people in it can make  learning about the place even more fascinating.  

And those crafts? They’re even more fun when they remind you of your trip too. Those  meals reminiscent of your destination? Even more delicious! 

So pick up that book. Watch that movie. And enjoy that delicious food you first tasted  on your trip. 

child, fun, family

2. Be intentional about remembering your travel experience.  

I know some of our best family memories have been made while going on family  adventures together. And our family talks frequently about what we saw, the things we  did, and the places we went. 

Making that discussion even more intentional sometimes makes the lessons learned  that much more meaningful. 

We love to create trip photo books or display mementos from our trip around our  home. And of course vacation photos are my favorite ones to frame.  

I bet you have items in your home too from the places your family has been together.  

Those items can spark discussion often not just about our travel experience, but what  we learned there too. It’s like creating the repetition that educators have been telling us  for years is what makes a lesson stick. 

So, frame those pictures, make that photo book, and display those souvenirs. They’ll  help make your traveling adventures memorable and even more educational. 

autumn, forest, away

3. Use your travel adventure to create your next family travel learning experience.  

Our family has found that great family adventure vacations lead to the creation of more  of the same. Even though we can’t travel full-time, we often talk about our next  adventure. We love to discuss where our travels will take us next. 

And we love using our last adventures to inspire new ones.

We think of it like adding chapters to a book. (Can you tell I love a good book analogy?)  

Chapter one may be a trip to a beach. Chapter two takes the best things you liked  about the that beach and adding something a little different. The book can be as long  or as short as you want. Because you are the author of your travel story. 

And sometimes, the book comes to an end it’s time to start a whole new read. 

Just like in books, we find that every new chapter or new story comes with different  lessons. Yet, they often all tie together to teach us that we probably have more in  common with the people from the places we’ve visited than we once thought. 

And maybe that’s the best travel lesson of all.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  

Candi and her husband are parents to 2 boys and 2 girls who range in age from 9 to  almost 19. She’s spent many of her parenting years planning and going on some great  (and some not so great) family learning adventures. She has a passion for sharing what  she’s learned and a thirst for giving back to the world in which we travel. All proceeds  from her blog, Castles and Carpools, https://www.castlesandcarpools.com/ go to charitable organizations.

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3 thoughts on “How to Make Travel A Learning Experience for Kids With 9 Easy To Follow Tips”

  1. Wow this post is wonderful, lots of great ideas and information! While I’m not a parent (yet) this is a wonderful post for those wanting to travel with their littles! Thanks for sharing this.

  2. I love your ideas. They remind me of long car journeys from when we were kids. All of us packed into the back and my mum doing everything possible to make the journey fun!

    Rosie

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