One of the best presents I received was when I was 12 years old.
That was the year my parents told my sister and I that instead of getting a bunch of Christmas presents, that we would probably forget about in a week, we were going to go on a family trip. The trip was going to be to Mexico. That was the first time I had ever been out of the country, besides Canada. Mexico was amazing. I loved meeting new people and experiencing a new culture. It was my first taste of international travel and I was hooked!
Almost every Christmas after that my parents took us somewhere new for our present. Those trips were and still are the BEST gift they could possibly give. Think about it. Material presents only last so long but a present of an experience will last a lifetime.
Going on those trips and experiencing so many different locations and cultures was one of the main reasons I wanted to become a travel advisor. It is my passion to help people find and experience different places and cultures just like I did growing up. One of the most important things to me is to share that love of travel with my boys.
My husband and I feel it is extremely important for us to share the world with our twin boys. The first time they went out of the country to experience a different culture was when we took them to the Dominican Republic when they were 2 years old. Since then they have been out of the country 6 times and they are only 7. I feel so fortunate that we are able to pass this gift onto them.
So many studies have shown how much travel can positively impact a child's education in the classroom; As a former middle school teacher I could not agree more!
A new survey suggests that if you want your kids to be more successful in school, you should take them on vacation more. This survey of almost 1,500 U.S.-based teachers, commissioned by the Student and Youth Travel Association (SYTA), found that 74 percent of educators believed that travel has “a very positive impact on students’ personal development.”
A majority of teachers (56 percent) also believe that travel’s positive impact can extend to a student’s education and career. Travel can have far-reaching impacts on kids. Teachers agreed that children who traveled to experience cultures other than their own have increased tolerance and respectfulness, willingness to learn and a willingness to try new things. Not only do teachers believe that travel is useful in the classroom, it can also help on the playground. Kids who traveled were more likely to have higher independence, self-esteem, confidence, adaptability and sensitivity. They were also more likely to be more outgoing and have better self-expression than kids who stayed at home.
I know what you are probably saying......YES BUT TRAVEL IS SO EXPENSIVE! Well, I am here to tell you it doesn't have to be! There are so many deals that I find for my clients to help them take their family trips.
The BEST advice I can give to my clients and to all future travelers is to start a travel fund. You would be SO surprised if you put the money that you spend on material presents towards your family trip for the year.
Start a year out for planning. A lot of my clients put a very small deposit down on their trips and then budget for the rest until the final payment is due. So start thinking about where you might want your family to go for a trip and start putting money aside now. Also, look at what you spent last year for Christmas gifts for your kids and add that amount in. If you still want your kiddos to be able to open something on Christmas, buy some great gifts that have a small price tag like puzzles or books. They won't mind it at all when they are hanging by a pool or playing at the beach!
Believe me there is NO BETTER GIFT OUT THERE THAN A GIFT OF TRAVEL!