How to Learn While Traveling With Kids

Any sort of travel is educational, but there are ways you can make learning a more integrated part of your travel. This post features five simple ways to learn while traveling with kids. 

learning while traveling with kids

5 Tips on How to Combine Learning with Family Travel 

I’ve traveled a lot with my children – from road trips to long flights. As an avid lifelong learning, I add learning to our trips wherever and whenever I can. Here are some of my top tips!

#1 Learn Before You Go – And When You Get Home

Look for books about your destination, both before you go and after you come home. I usually look for non-fiction before we go, and add in fiction once we are back and my children have a first person experience of the world that is being described in a story. 

Visiting a destination where a different language is spoken? Try to learn a little bit of that language before you go. This is easier than ever with modern language study apps like Duolingo.

#2 Put the Kids in Charge

Putting kids, especially teens, in charge is a wonderful way to extend learning on the road! Try giving your children a budget and a timeline and then ask them to bring you a proposed schedule. They’ll learn budgeting, develop organizational skills, and feel more ownership of the trip.

#3 Get Off the Tourist Path

Leaving the standard tourist path is one of my absolute favorite ways to learn on the road! Visit a grocery store and try new foods. Sit in an out-of-the-way cafe for a while and people watch. Visit a local library! Take public transportation. Road tripping?

I also love visiting the tiny museums that most people don’t even hear about while traveling. Antique shops are also fascinating, if your children are old enough that your visit doesn’t stress out the shopkeepers.

#4 Consider a City Pass

Several cities offer a city pass that gets you into several attractions for one flat fee. I find that some city passes are a much better deal than others, but I always recommend looking into them. They can make it easier to empower kids to work on planning trips, and they also mean that it’s not a huge money loss if you end up hating one particular attraction.

creative ways to learn while traveling with children

#5 Schedule Down Time

Down time might feel counterintuitive if you’re looking to maximized travel, but it’s really important! We need rest to learn and absorb everything we experience while traveling! Schedule down time to really make the most of your traveling experience. Down time is also a fantastic time to work on travel journals, which preserve memories and extend learning.

Sometimes you think you have enough down time scheduled, but one family member is really struggling, whether from general overwhelm or jetlag. I find it’s worth skipping scheduled activities to make this down time happen, especially on extended trips that are too long to simply power through. 

What are your top tips for learning on the road?

Be sure to watch my IG live interview on learning opportunities while traveling with kids!

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MaryAnne was raised in the United States, Guatemala, France, Bolivia, and Austria. Her first daughter was born in Scotland, and she now lives with her husband and their four children in Silicon Valley, California. You can find MaryAnne writing about family travel, parenting, crafts, and education at Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting.
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