Are We Ruining Travel For Our Kids?
One of my favorite things about the miles and points hobby, probably my most favorite, is sharing my love of travel with my kids. It is something that my parents shared with me and I am glad to pass it along. I will say that our style of travel is very different from when I was a child. We did a lot of road trips, and trips “up north”. We flew, as well, as I got older, but it was a few times a year at most. My parents did their best to have cool experiences while keeping the costs in check, or the OG balling on a budget.
Sometimes that hunt for the hidden gem resort etc. led to some sketchy places or terrible experiences. I don’t blame my parents, remember that there was no Trip Advisor back then and brochures pictures could be from 10 years ago. The funny thing is those are our most vivid memories and the stories we still tell to these days. Even if it wasn’t fun while we were going through it 😂.
With miles and points and current technology we don’t really have that issue though do we? Our deal hunting may be is that first class seat cheaper using Delta Skymiles or booking with Virgin Atlantic etc. The truth is that our travels are at a another level from what many of us experienced growing up. It is amazing that we get to share it with our kids but is it warping their sense of what travel is?
Our Upcoming Boys Trip
I have talked a few times here, and on the podcast, about how I connect with my son on a whole different level when traveling. We have more patience with each other, we bond better and overall it is some of the best experiences we have had together. That is something I have truly missed during the pandemic. So of course I went all out for our first trip post pandemic. I just couldn’t help myself.
For our trip to Alaska I booked first class flights, a glacier cruise and we are hitting as many spots as we can. I burned a lot of miles and points but also a lot of real money (thanks Pay Yourself Back!). It is a trip I could never afford without this hobby, as are most of our travels.
But does he get that? Does he understand why we are able to go where we are able to go and stay where we are able to stay? Does he realize it is because of this hobby we love so much? Or does he think this is just the way everyone travels?
Talking About Future Travels
One of my son’s favorite things to do is talk about and imagine future travels. Let’s go to Paris dad, or I really wanna check out California etc. He lights up like a Christmas tree just talking about it. It warms my heart for sure, and a lot of kids day dream in this way.
But I find myself falling right into and saying we can go there for sure, do you wanna go for your birthday? That is when I step back and think; whoa, you need to slow down a bit. It is true though, the world is pretty much wide open to us. As long as you put in the time and effort to accrue the miles and points you can go pretty much anywhere. But does he realize how truly special or lucky that is?
How Do We Ground Them?
So this all leads me to the question of how do we keep them grounded? How do we explain that flying to Orlando for 2 days just because and getting free tickets to Disney isn’t normal. It may not be something he can recreate when he gets older too. They haven’t experienced the rough travel we did as kids to be able to value the way we do it now. There is nothing to compare it to, the floor is simply the best of the best right now.
I also worry, will he overlook fun experiences when he gets older because it isn’t as exciting as what he did as a kid? Will we ruin him travel wise essentially. I think it is a question we have to ask ourselves.
Lastly, will my kids miss out on those crazy stories I enjoy from my childhood? The times when nothing seemed to go right and the place was a dump but we made it work. Those experiences help build appreciation for when everything does come together. Will he think this is the way it will always be?
My Plans Going Forward
I guess I need to book some dumpy hotels to mix it up on him 😂. I really don’t have an answer for this question of how we ground our kids, maybe you all can help me. I plan on trying to explain how everything works as he gets older. This should help him understand that it isn’t because of wealth or money that we are able to do this. And maybe he will learn the steps along the way and get involved in the hobby as well. There will be the, you don’t know how lucky you are phrase muttered most trips too.
I do think the way we act while traveling will play a big role in how our kids perceive things. If we act entitled and ask for that giraffe parking all of the time they may think this is how you need to be to get things done. Or if I booked him always in first class he may think that flying in economy is unacceptable (this is his first non Spirit first class flight by the way). I think being wary of the issue may just be enough to stop it from happening, or at least I hope so.
As I watch people walk by us on our Alaska flight, giving my 9 year old a dirty look thinking he must be an entitled child, I will thinking of ways to make sure that doesn’t happen. I don’t have a lot of the answers on how to do that. But, what I am going to try to do is keep him involved in the conversation about it. I think that making an effort is the most important thing along with sharing knowledge of the situation. Plus I get to say, this is why we go to all of those stores for gift cards so don’t whine next time, okay? 🤣
Do you worry that we are ruining travel for our kids too? Do you think creating all of these amazing trips warps their sense of reality of what travel should be? Or does the good (amazing experiences together) outweigh the bad (warped sense of what travel is)? Let me know in the comments below.