Ray’s Take When you set your spending priorities, don’t forget to consider travel. Assuming your finances and budget are adequately on track, investing dollars in traveling can repay a host of personal dividends.
You can rent a cabin at a nearby state park to enjoy experiences outside typical city life. Or, you can fly halfway around the world to discover totally different cultures, histories and foods. To broaden your range of experiences, travel need not entail lots of money or even great distances, it just needs to bring something different into your life.
The primary benefit of travel is it takes you outside your normal existence, helping to renew your spirit, and will hopefully expand your view of the world. Travel helps you break daily habits, unplug your various electronic devices (hopefully) and reawaken your sense of curiosity and adventure. Our family has found new and improved perspectives upon our return home. Perhaps the most exciting thing about travel is that you learn how the real world differs from what you experience through books, TV or movies. This holds true on a beach break or a trek up the Himalayas. There are wonders to be found in every environment, however, it’s only when we travel outside our normal realm that we see things with new eyes.
All the changes in your daily existence that travel entails help to enhance enthusiasm for life, build confidence, and connect with others in a different way. When you travel somewhere new, you bring home more than souvenirs. You bring home a new, more vibrant you. That’s certainly a worthwhile investment for anyone.
Dana’s Take When traveling with kids, it’s important to make sure your adventures are age appropriate. Teary, exhausted 2-year-olds seem to be a regular feature of theme parks. Typical 5-year-olds aren’t going to care about seeing the Louvre collection. Nothing can be more frustrating than expecting to open new doors for a child and finding the child could not care less.
Family-oriented tour groups could be the solution. There’s something about including others kids of a similar age – whether toddlers or teens – that seems to make children more receptive to different experiences. Perhaps it is because they are sharing these new experiences with members of their peer groups in addition to their parents.
When you do opt for a family-only trip, keep in mind the stamina and attention span of all family members. Little ones will usually have a better time in the afternoon if they get a chance to nap first. Teens often need a certain amount of alone time; letting them explore a museum on their own lets them focus on their interests and provides some autonomy. Whatever your destination, try to include your children’s input. That could make the biggest difference of all.
Ray is a certified financial planner and CEO of Brandon Financial Planning, www.brandonplanning.com. Dana is a licensed clinical social worker. Contact Ray at firstname.lastname@example.org.