The idea that travel is education probably appeals to a great many people. I firmly believe that travel is the best way to learn, for our kids and for us. No amount of book learning can ever beat being there, seeing it, touching it, hearing it, doing it and tasting it.
There is nothing at all, in the world, that is stopping you travelling with your kids. If you want to do it, you can do it. Everyone tells us we are lucky to be able to travel as much as we do. It’s not luck, we worked hard to make this happen, we got everything in our lives set up so that long-term travel was extremely possible. We’re not rich, my husband had a very average paying job, he was a chef. I was a stay at home mum, but we wanted it and it was our priority, so we made it happen. I know people with disabilities who travel and plenty of single mums. If you want it you can find a way, even if you’re in debt, like my friend Gabi, you can dig yourself out.
How Travel is Education
Every time we experience something new, we are learning. If we stay in the same town, state or country for our whole lives it gets pretty hard to find new experiences.
Many topics are best learnt at source. At the moment we are learning Spanish, about volcanoes, Mayan history, new food staples, culture, music and traditions by living in Guatemala for a month. It’s one heck of a lot cheaper than living in our old home in Port Douglas!
We tried learning Spanish online, ( BBC languages is a great, free resource), it was good, but nothing beats being forced to use a new language to make it stick.
We haven’t ditched all formal learning. We always have homeschool workbooks with us and we subscribe to various online educational programs but the most important learning resource is what’s around you every day.
My son eventually became a history scholar, this interest, and his knowledge, was certainly developed through visiting Vietnam with kids and immersion in museums and sites from the war.
Travel, for my family, gives us more time to learn. Daily laundry, cleaning, maintenance, cooking and shopping eat up our time back in our regular home. Being out of that environment gives us a lot more time to be together, to walk, talk and soak up our environments. I find that our best learning comes through conversation and the children’s endless questions.
There are many myths and misrepresentations about countries and peoples that the majority have never even visited. I always think it’s best to find out for yourself what something is like rather than taking somebody else’s word for it.
There is a great deal of logistical planning involved in travel. Getting children involved with the distances, costs, currencies and timetables is great for their maths skills. Maps too, maps are great!
Personal qualities, resilience, self confidence, adaptability and trust in others are also nurtured through travel. Most people in the world are good and want to help you. They have children and mothers and grandmothers, they’re just like us. Don’t believe everything the media tries to tell us.
Travel is Education. So Get More in Your Life
You Don’t Have to Go Far.
Travel can be local, interstate or international. Any trip that takes you somewhere you’ve never been before is travel. During a hard time in my life a dear friend told me to try something new every day. I tried it, a new beach, playground, museum or bush hike. It’s all travel and it all makes you feel good. You will always come across something you haven’t seen before. New things make your kids ask questions, the answers you give, from your own knowledge, a library book or the internet, are education.
You Don’t Have To Spend Much.
Use the internet, Google “free things to do in whatever town”. I’ll bet some blogger has written a post about it. There are always places with free admission. The countryside, forests and beaches are always free, these are some of the best classrooms in the world.
There are so many ways to score cheap deals. Did you know bloggers sometimes get free admissions? I even got into Disney for free. A good reason to start that blog. Special offers, coupons, Groupon, an internet search for discount codes. Start looking and you usually find.
International Travel Needn’t Cost the Earth.
I could write a book on finding cheap flights. Firstly, hunt around, sign up for newsletters from the budget airlines. AirAsia has always been good to us. We flew from the Gold Coast to Malaysia for under $100 each. Every now and then you’ll get an email notifying you of a flight sale, that’s the time to buy. We’ve taken flights so cheap they were practically free in SE Asia.
Use Skyscanner, it’s a great resource, you can search, for example, from X airport to anywhere else in the world., that will tell you which country is cheapest to fly to and when. They will even send you an email notifying you of price fluctuations.
Accommodation Can Even Be Free.
Have you heard of couch surfing? Couch surfers offer their couch or spare room to travellers for nothing, zero. The deal is that you offer your couch in return. I’ve hosted a few couch surfers back in Port Douglas, they were lovely kids, they even taught my boys a few words in their own languages. It’s a good deal.
I’m currently in Guatemala, our little villa for 4 is costing us $30/night.
In the USA we paid $40-$50 per night. In parts of Asia we paid as little as $10/night.
Did you think it could be that cheap? It’s a lot less than our mortgage plus utility bills back home and they’re being covered at the moment by lodgers. I’ve written many posts on finding cheap accommodation, you could start with this post
What About The Book Learning?
We still do what most homeschoolers do, just less of it and in different places. Beaches, hotel rooms,cars, cafes and cruise ships have become our schoolrooms. We have work books with us, an online learning programme (Studyladder) and plenty of books on Kindle. Add a few audio books and educational movies to the mix and it all looks pretty normal. We’re just your average homeschoolers, nothing weird or different.
Really Stuck? Try Some Armchair Travel
Find some great travel blogs from other families with children your own child’s age. Look at their photos, maybe get in touch. I know I love getting comments from followers. I was contacted by a teacher in Dubai recently. She told me she was using my blog to teach her class. What a wonderful thing, we need more teachers like her!
You can find videos, movies and documentaries online for free, try You Tube, Netflix or Hulu.
Go to the shops and pick up some free travel brochures. If you find the big adventure travel companies online you can order their big, glossy brochures to be delivered to your home. They are amazing, try Explore or Exodus, you won’t find these in the travel agencies.
ll young enough to enjoy family time. They grow up too quickly. We are so blessed to have this time on the road with them, making memories. What do you think? Travel is education, is it for you?
I really believe in this, I want to inspire, help and encourage everyone to get out into the world more. Particularly for the children, it’s wonderful for kids to have so many diverse experiences with their families while they’re still small.