March is the beginning of the traditional peak family travel season and for many parents, the prospect of having to plan and pay for the ultimate family vacation can seem like a daunting and very likely, unrewarding task. Because you can’t please everyone. From the big decisions of where to go and what to spend to the even more worrisome imaginings of toddler tantrums and the dreaded teen mantra, “I am bored,” planning a trip with kids in tow can feel as icy and unwelcome as that last winter snowstorm in March.
But it’s worth it. I promise.
Parenting is a practice of patience and humility and nothing prepares you better than taking your kids out of their and your comfort zone of home; I mean, no matter how fabulous you looked or smelled when you left the house, spit-up at 35,000 feet still stinks.
But traveling together is a marvelous thing. When my children were small, watching their wonder at giraffes with blue tongues or the magic of Yellowstone – elks that close the post office, puddles that boil and even Disney, where my now college freshman ran up to Tigger at five to exclaim, “I’ve seen all your movies,” are snippets in time that I will never forget. Travel takes kids out of their comfort zone. It makes them more curious. Teaches them how to be on time and how to use their time well when others aren’t [on time]. It often makes them appreciate what they have and to learn about the way others live. It fosters tolerance and respect. It makes your kids more interesting and it helps prepare them for when they will go away. Because they will and they are supposed to. Travel makes kids (and the moms and dads that take them and then let them take themselves) brave.
So plan and have patience parents. Spring is coming.