Next up in our #MomGoals series: Empowering Our Daughters Through Travel. We are strong women raising strong daughters. We want our daughters to be fierce, confident and independent. We want them to face challenges head on, take risks and learn from mistakes. Lucky for us- all of these qualities are strengthened through travel! We’re going to look at how we can be empowering our daughters by taking adventures both near to home and in the farthest corners of the globe. Whether you start small and local or you go big and head abroad, there are so many things we can be teaching our daughters while we explore the world.
Empowering Our Daughters Through Travel
Travel Boosts Self-Confidence
Travel presents all sorts of challenges, both big and small. From finding the best price on flights to navigating a new culture or language, there are always new challenges to face while we’re out adventuring. And when we overcome these challenges, it feels GREAT! There’s no better confidence booster than staring down a new challenge and using your own resources to overcome that challenge. Because travel presents so many challenges to overcome, it also presents many ways to boost our confidence! When traveling with our daughters, take the time to acknowledged their accomplishments- no matter how small. Maybe they ordered their own food at a restaurant for the first time or maybe they successfully mapped our your subway route. Whatever they have accomplished, use those moments to help them boost their self-confidence. Help them see they are capable of anything they set their minds to!
Travel Fosters Independence
Travel offers so many opportunities to practice being independent! From starting to pack and carry their own bags when they are little to helping make plans, book hotels, and make decisions on the go, we have so many opportunities to practice being strong, independent women when we travel. In fact, the booming female solo travel movement is all about freedom and independence! As adults, it’s easy for us to plan and execute everything when we travel with our kids- but try to step back and look for ways your daughter can practice those skills. Even the youngest of travelers can be made responsible for carrying a personal item- little kids may be responsible for a cup or stuffed animal while older kids can handle their own carry-on bags. Find ways to involve them in travel planning- let them pick activities, restaurants, even destinations. While you’re traveling, encourage them to speak up for themselves- order their own food, ask for directions, etc. If plans go awry, include them in problem solving. Just about every part of travel offers the opportunity for our daughters to practice being independent!
Travel Utilizes Life Skills
Travel requires the use of numerous important life skills. Travel requires planning, decisiveness, risk-taking, self-regulation and emotion management, and learning how to adjust in new situations. It requires the social skills involved in meeting new people and asking for directions or help. It involves reading and understanding directions and maps as well navigating various modes of transportation. It requires budgeting and money management. As adults, it’s easy for us to go into auto-pilot and do these things automatically because they come naturally to us. But remember that our daughters are just learning these skills. Travel offers so many opportunities to practice these skills so that by the time they grow up, our daughters will have mastered them too! Take the time to talk about these life skills as you use them while traveling.
Travel Encourages a Growth-Mindset
A growth-mindset is a flexible way of thinking. It encourages trying new things, embracing challenges, and learning from failure. A growth-mindset teaches us to look at every situation as a learning opportunity- as a new way to grow and improve. Travel encourages a growth-mindset. When we travel, we are facing new things each and every day. When we face new things, there is always the possibility for failure- and anyone who has ever traveled knows that travel involves failure! Our plans fail, our directions fail, things just don’t work out the way we wanted them to. It happens literally all the time when traveling. But do we pack our bags and go home? No way! We adjust. We step back, reassess, and make new plans. We overcome challenges because we’re excited to reach the next part of our adventure.
Travel Brings Education to Life
Traditional education teaches us that we learn from textbooks within the four walls of a classroom. We’re taught to follow a system of bells, shuffling from one class to the next as empty vessels waiting to be filled with knowledge from a teacher lecturing from a book. Let’s be honest. Our education system is outdated. While this type of learning may work for some kids, it doesn’t work for many. Travel can transform education in many ways. Many families remain in traditional school and travel during breaks, supplementing classroom learning with real life experiences around the world. This allows education to come to life. Kids can actually see and experience the things they’ve only learned about in books and this can be a transformative experience. It can rekindle a love for learning, helping our daughters reach higher and achieve more when back in the classroom.
Other families abandon traditional education in favor of homeschooling, road-schooling or world-schooling. These families reject the archaic idea that we need to sit still for 8 hours a day and learn from lectures and textbooks. Instead they acknowledge that life itself is the best teacher. Not only does this give our daughters access to a unique and enriching learning environment, it teaches them to think outside the box. By showing our daughters that we can redefine something totally and completely, it gives them permission to do the same as they grow older!
Travel Opens Doors
Travel opens doors. Whether you’re traveling close to home or exploring the farthest corners of the world, you’re opening new doors by seeing new places and experiencing new things. Our daughters will experience things they’ve never known existed, and this can lead to new interests, passions, learning and even careers. By exposing our daughters to new locations and new language, it can inspire them to pursue things they may never have considered before. When we meet people on our travels, these people may become connections in the future- possibly becoming long-term friendships, mentors or helping connect us to even more new people who can continue to inspire us. Traveling allows us the opportunity to see how people learn and live in other cultures and this can spark new passions in our daughters. Consider making visits to colleges and universities a priority when you travel. The more we expose our daughters to different learning opportunities, the more prepared they’ll be to make such decisions when the time comes!
Tips for Empowering Our Daughters Through Travel
Let Them Help Plan: Let your daughters help with all aspects of travel planning. Teach them how to research locations, find driving routes, and compare airline tickets or hotel prices. Have discussions about money and budgeting as well as choosing safe locations while planning!
Put Them In Charge of Certain Tasks: Find age appropriate tasks they can be responsible for while you travel. Little kids get SO excited about carrying their own bags or pulling their own suitcase. t may take you a little longer to get through the airport, but building in some buffer time is worth it when you see the pride on their faces! Older kids can help check in to a hotel, help pack for day trips, pick restaurants. Teens can keep tabs on Metro passes or helping book excursions. Remember to keep tasks age appropriate and remember that mistakes will be made. When they do mess up- use it as a teachable moment instead of just getting angry.
Encourage Them To Speak Up: Whether it’s checking in at the airport or hotel, hailing a taxi or ordering their own food- encourage your daughters to get comfortable speaking for themselves. Encourage eye contact (where culturally appropriate), clear speech and a confident voice. Teach them how to find a safe person to ask for help or directions if needed. Finding another mom with kids is usually a good choice.
Expose Them to as Many New Experiences as Possible: Whether you’re traveling close to home or around the world, seek out new experiences. Encourage your daughters to step outside of their comfort zones to explore something new. You never know what might spark their interest. Each new experience could be a potential new interest, learning opportunity or even career choice!
Encourage Risk-Taking: Now we’re not talking dangerous risk taking here! Do not encourage your daughters to walk to the edge of a steep cliff or talk to a stranger in the dark. But identify healthy risks- things that are outside of their comfort zone and things that require them to take a chance on something new. Encourage your daughter to try a new food or a new activity like snorkeling, hiking, biking, or zip-lining. This is also a really good time to talk about safety, knowing your own limits, and learning to challenge yourself a bit without putting yourself in danger.
Praise Failure: This sounds counter-productive, it’s really not. When we’re encouraging our daughters to take chances and try new things, it’s important that they know it’s totally okay to fail! If they order a new appetizer and don’t like it- praise their efforts instead of getting angry. If they try snorkeling but aren’t comfortable going into deep water- that’s okay! Praise what progress they made, even if the only progress made was building up the courage to WANT to try something! If our daughters fear failure, they will fear trying new things. If we let them know failure is accepted, even welcomed, they’ll be more likely to take chances in the future!
Look for Learning Opportunities: Even if your daughters are in traditional school, travel opens up a whole new world of learning opportunities. Study a new language before you travel, take a historical walking tour of a new city, visit an art or science museum or try out a cooking class in a new country. Teach your daughters that learning doesn’t only take place in a classroom, but that there are learning opportunities all around them!
Visit Colleges and Universities: Too many of our daughters get to high school without really knowing where they want to go next. If college is a goal, start visiting different schools very early on. Expose them to different types of campuses when they are young and there is no pressure. They may realize they love smaller, rural schools or schools in the city. They may fall in love with a campus in another country and want to study abroad. Even if they don’t make any decisions by the time they’re in high school- they will at least know what’s out there and what some of their options are. This can be a huge help when it comes time to submit applications!