4 Reasons Why Travel is Important for Teens

The world is huge: there are so many cultures, cuisines and ways of life for us to explore. Traveling and visiting different regions of the globe isn’t only fun, but a great experience that allows us to grow and learn a lot about others and ourselves. As your teen is developing, this is particularly true. Here are some reasons why traveling is important for teens.

1. Opens Their Eyes

One of the beautiful gifts of travel is that it opens our eyes to people and ways of living that are different than ours. It’s so easy to feel a sense of “tunnel vision” in our way of doing things and thinking when we don’t take other cultures into consideration. Travel allows your teen to understand histories of different places, customs and behaviors that are unique. In doing so, it allows them to develop a sense of tolerance for those who are different than them.

Particularly if your teen is traveling to a developing nation or a place of need, their eyes will also opened to the reality of poverty — something that they may not be used to seeing in their daily life. Perhaps they will be inspired to help others, make a difference or be grateful for the ways that they are fortunate in their life.

2. Meet New People

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Of course, any opportunity to meet new people is great for teens as they grow and mature. If you’re traveling as a family, try to find youth programs or events that they might be able to participate in so that they can meet new people. Hopefully these interactions will further deepen your teen’s understanding and tolerance of different cultures on a more personal level.

3. Gain Independence (and Responsibility)

Especially if your teen is traveling with a school group, friends or some other arrangement without family members, they’ll learn a lot about independence and responsibility through. Put simply, being in a foreign place requires a lot of attention, consideration of others, caution and awareness. As they enter an unfamiliar setting, your teen will have to embrace these characteristics, all of which are positive ones that they can take home with them.

4. Patience and Flexibility

Image Credit: Michael R Perry

Some teens are more than happy to just “go with the flow.” Others struggle in this area. Travel never goes quite as exactly planned. Transit is delayed, items are forgotten, cultural practices are misjudged or plans have to change. Travel is a great way to teach teens to be open-minded and have fun, even when situations go a little awry.

Of course, for some teens and families, travel might not always be feasible. But teaching your teen to be open-minded about different cultures, people and situations can really go a long way. At the end of the day, encouraging your teen to be a person of understanding and tolerance is a valuable lesson.

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