How to Raise a Traveler
The experts agree: your children can, and should, be explorers.
When I announced I was pregnant, tons of people warned me, “You’ll never travel again.” But as a longtime travel editor, I was adamant that wouldn’t be the case. Not only would I keep traveling, but I wanted to include my daughter as well, feeling intuitively it would be beneficial to her upbringing. And in fact, the evidence bears this out: Research has proven that travel can have a profound impact on kids, making them happier and smarter and enhancing their brain development. It can also shape future success: One study showed that adults who traveled as children had a 12% higher average income than people who took no trips when they were young.
So when my daughter, Lucy, was 10 weeks old, my husband and I took her on her first international trip to Jamaica, and we haven’t slowed down since. Lucy has been everywhere from Pamplona, Spain, to see the running of the bulls, to Chefchaouen, Morocco, where we wandered through the legendary blue city. On a cruise in Alaska, she learned about baby bald eagles. In Jackson Hole, Wyoming, she went stargazing in Grand Teton National Park and studied the planets with an astronomer.
“Learning happens not just between the ears, but between the poles,” says Rainer Jenss, who founded the Family Travel Association, an industry coalition with a mission to inspire families to see the world. Jenss created the association after he and his wife sold their house and set off with their two sons on an around-the-world trip to 28 countries. “When your child learns to travel, they’ll grow up and travel to learn.”
I spoke to Jenns and other traveling parents on their advice for how to help your child become a global citizen.