Raising a Traveling Tribe: Does travel {bond} a family together?

by Tina on July 22, 2013

in Italy, Raising a Traveling Tribe, Travel


You might think that everyone would be for the idea of traveling with kids, but actually there are quite a few that would argue that it is too stressful for children plus it is too expensive and exhausting for everyone as well.  And if you were to ask me when my four year old has just thrown himself on the floor of the hotel and is crying and declaring that he WILL NOT be leaving no matter what treat we try to bribe him with… well, I might just agree!

But even after almost three weeks on the road, seven different cities, and lot of languages in between, I still believe that travel bonds us together.  It is kind of hard not to feel some extra special connection to this little tribe that you have spent hours chatting to on, say, long miles of German highway or sat quietly by a deserted stretch of beach, skipping rocks and picnicking to the sound of waves lapping on the quiet shore.  Sometimes, though, the bonding comes from adversity, like waking up to your brother yelling gibberish in the middle of the night or getting stuck for what feels like an eternity in the emergency stairwell of an abandoned parking garage on a quiet Sunday morning in Munich (more on that later!)

I think back to all the special memories I have as a child, traveling with my own family, and I truly believe that travel can strengthen our relationship with our kids and with each other, especially if we are willing to not take ourselves too seriously and laugh a little along the way.

What about you?  Do you have any special memories of bonding as a family when you were a kid or even now with your own children while traveling?

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

www.paulinebrettell.com July 22, 2013 at 8:21 pm

as you say – not always easy and certainly not cheap, but almost always memorable!
My 16 year old daughter had to do an oral this week on something important to her / something that has had an impact on her life, and she choose to talk about our travels . . . so it has been worth it!!


Tina July 22, 2013 at 8:56 pm

@Pauline That is SO, so sweet! Does she have a favorite place?


Dawn July 23, 2013 at 3:44 am

I definitely agree with you. Our family just took a trip to China (my kids are 13, 10, and 7) and even though many people thought we were crazy, my husband and I feel very fortunate and blessed to share the adventure with them. It truly is a bonding experience to brave squat toilets, eat duck feet, and hike the Great Wall in 100 degree weather- things that none of us will ever forget and will be saying to each other, “Remember when ___” for the rest of our lives!


anastasiac July 23, 2013 at 5:37 am

we went to the USA in March and spent 3 weeks night and day with our boys aged 10 and 8. What a wonderful time we had, it was definetely great bonding time – we had fun, relaxed, motivated each other, explored and a chance to let our boys see new cities, how others live and work and get on with their day – we created memories that Im sure we will all treasure for ever!!


Gabrielle July 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

When I was a child we went on a foreign holiday every year (we did exploring rather than beach hols) and while I remember arguments with my siblings over silly things like who sat where in the car, I have far more memories of the interesting places we visited and the fun we had. I learned how to ask where is the toilet in each country, I couldn’t always understand the reply but I had fun trying! I’m sure my parents found it stressful at times but to keep taking us on travels shows that they must have enjoyed it too!


Tina July 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

@Dawn What a great adventure! Now I just want to hear more!


Tina July 23, 2013 at 5:32 pm

@anastasiac How cool! I bet they loved it!


Tina July 23, 2013 at 5:34 pm

@Gabrielle It’s funny, but as a mom I am constantly suffering from travel amnesia… nearly the moment after a trying moment I have already moved on. It’s just too much trouble to remember the hard times, especially when the good ones far outweigh the bad ones! Plus, kids have disagreements and meltdowns at home, too! 🙂


inwardfacinggirl July 23, 2013 at 9:55 pm

My family didn’t travel much when I was a kid, but my husband and I are trying to make it a priority for ours. Nathaniel has been to several states and Canada so far and he’s not quite three yet! Even short day trips to nearby towns can be an adventure. 🙂


www.paulinebrettell.com July 24, 2013 at 10:27 pm

Hhhhmm – not sure which her favourite is – both my kids love spain . . . but i think most memorable would probably be our first trip as a family to morocco when we did the camel and desert thing! Despite having left a suitcase behind, making the children share clothes – just the silence and space of the desert was amazing.


Fiona July 25, 2013 at 3:02 pm

We love traveling as a family, and seeing how our kids are so open and adaptable to new things (they are 6, almost 4 and 2). On a recent trip they had fun learning how to say bye in the local language, and trying out different sweets. I have great memories of holidays with my family and never ending road trips! travel is definitely a priority for our family.


Vivian August 1, 2013 at 9:13 am

From my own childhood experience i think traveling together can help a family grow:) i learned a lot during my early childhood trips and discover my parents knew much more than i thought! XD


Beth August 3, 2013 at 4:26 pm

While it doubled the expenses of my trip, I am SO glad I took my almost-12-year-old with me to Spain and Morocco. Before leaving I didn’t realize how much it would mean to me to introduce him to his first cathedral, his first castle, his first stay in a hostel, the joy (ha!) of lugging luggage through cities on trains, his first camel ride, and everything else! It is something we will be able to talk about/share forever now. That’s priceless.

That being said, I NEVER would have taken both of the boys (the other one is 8). They antagonize each other like you would not believe, and it wouldn’t have been enjoyable at all.


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