This post was co-written by Julie and SocialMonsters, offering ideas for teen travel with families and independent teen travel.
Traveling during the developmentally crucial stage of adolescence can help your kids become smarter, more successful, and more compassionate as they grow into adulthood. Taking advantage of opportunities for adventure and exploration is key to children learning to adapt to new environments, seek questions and answers and learn to communicate with and become sensitive to people outside their normal existence.
Travel Will Make Kids Smarter
The U.S. Department of Education found that longer time spent traveling with the family has numerous positive impacts on children’s academic performance. Based on data from a six-year study of more than 20,000 students, researchers found kids who traveled with their families saw an improvement in math and reading; the longer the trip, the more positive the results. Even more exciting, students who attended museums, historical sites, and zoos scored higher on academic achievement tests than their peers.
Getting out and traveling makes impressionable kids more open-minded and curious about the bigger world around them.
Travel Will Make Kids More Compassionate
In a recent article, the Huffington Post cited ways to raise compassionate, non-judgmental young adults, and one of the top was to expose them to other cultures. USA Today points out that sharing the homes, restaurants, and museums in other cultures with children is a great way for them to understand and appreciate that different or foreign does not mean scary or bad; rather, it means learning and adventure.
Travel Will Make Kids More Independent
We all do better when with practice. So why not give your teen the ultimate opportunity to practice being a responsible college student? Studying and traveling independently abroad offers young adults a true taste of what it’s like to be away from home and immersed in a totally different culture. Staying with a local family can make them even more appreciative of the one they have at home. Opportunities to study in a different culture gives teens a boost of independence and confidence before they head off to college.
Travel Will Make Kids Even More Passionate
Go on a field trip! Do you have a sports-obsessed teen? Take him or her to Odessa, Texas, where the real story behind the best-selling book and hit television show “Friday Night Lights” will knock his socks off. Have a child who’s obsessed with country music? A trip to Nashville, the country music capital of the world, might be in order. Perhaps your child is interested in Rocketry, then don’t miss touring Space & Rocket Centers in Alabama. Look for opportunities to help children see their passions in a whole new light by experiencing not only standard, related educational material but seeking real-life connections to their interests. The Student Travel Planning Guide offers fabulous opportunities and ideas.
Travel Safety & Sanity Tips
Travel is, by nature, a bit stressful. Here are some of the best tips for tumultuous teenagers and a great way to educate teens about safe travel.
- Lead by example.
- Don’t get sucked into the trap of buying something everywhere you go. Agree on a budget before the trip even starts and stick to it. We like to purchase Visa gift cards for the kids in advance so that they can budget their spending.
- Invest in an international cell provider. If you want your teen to have independence, you won’t be able to be together 24/7. An international phone allows you to connect when you’re apart.
- Enroll your student traveler in the free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, STEP. It will keep them informed of travel warnings, and it also helps the U.S. Embassy and loved ones locate a traveler in case of emergency.