By Lynn O’Rourke Hayes
During this season of gratitude, we are reminded of the many reasons we can be thankful for the freedom and opportunity to travel.
Here are five to consider.
You’ll See the World Through the Eyes of a Child
Travel with a young person and you can’t help but slow down to see things differently. You’ll share their delight in all things bright, colorful and on the move. You’ll notice the ladybug on the leaf and the helicopter overhead. You’ll discover new textures and appreciate the fragrance of flowers — because little people will. Chances are their sweet smiles will be conversation starters and you’ll share stories and experiences with other parents and grandparents. No matter where you wander, you’ll be creating memories that will last long after the strollers and backpacks are stowed.
You’ll Learn Something New
Why not use your next vacation to learn a new sport or explore a new hobby? Will you strap on skis for the first time, climb into the saddle, take a photography class or discover the joys of French cooking? Tap into the early interest your child or grandchild may be showing for art, music or history by visiting museums, opting for last-minute tickets to a Broadway show or checking out a living history performance.
Who knows? While in the midst of it, you may learn about new apps, the latest musical super star, some up-to-date lingo or the latest fashion trends from your young traveling companions.
For more: www.Broadway.com.
You’ll Dial Down the Stress
There is plenty of research that encourages us to welcome a change of scenery and a break from the daily demands of balancing work and family life. Whether you breathe deeper, exercise more or simply unplug from 24/7 news, chances are you’ll feel renewed, more creative and have a more relaxed connection with family members. Opt for quiet beach time, a backcountry ski adventure, a yoga-centric getaway or a paddle through unfamiliar waters and your whole crew will return home recharged and ready to tackle future challenges.
It’s a Chance to Spread Kindness
Leave impatience and judgment behind and showcase an attitude of gratitude as you travel. Consider your holiday as an opportunity to encourage understanding, compassion and kindness in the next generation of world travelers. Lead with a smile and offer thanks to those you meet along the way. From harried flight attendants, pilots, TSA agents and front desk personnel to tour guides, bus drivers, restaurant servers and room attendants, encourage the kids to say thank you whenever appropriate. Consider leaving a handwritten note or crayon drawing along with your tip, an extra effort sure to garner a smile from the recipient. If you loved your hotel stay or guest ranch experience, leave a note congratulating the whole crew for a job well done.
For more: www.Duderanch.org, www.randomactsofkindness.org
You’ll Broaden Your Perspectives
Whether you travel to the next county or around the world, moving out of your comfort zone or everyday routine offers a refresh while enhancing your family’s understanding of our world. It’s worth explaining, in an age-appropriate way, that not every family has the option to cross borders or the resources to do so. Appreciate the language, dress, recreational and culinary differences and similarities of your fellow world citizens when you venture into new territory. Make an effort to see the view through the eyes of locals. And observe how a kind gesture and friendly smile is welcome currency in nearly every corner of the world.
Lynn O’Rourke Hayes (LOHayes.com) is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer. Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via FamilyTravel.com
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