Children grow up way too fast and then all of a sudden, they are off to college. We have always been a family that travels and have taken the kids with us at all stages. But, after traveling so many years with them and them on their own, my husband and I have come to the conclusion that travel with college kids offers many benefits.
Over the years, we have always said that, “The kids are a perfect age to travel with”. And, to be honest, they were at each age, just for different reasons. But, now that they are young adults in college, we have found so many new pluses to world travel with them.
The Amazing Benefits of Travel With College Kids
They have had more life experiences
This is our favorite aspect of travel with our kids now. The life experiences they have had, plus their travel around the world both with and without us, have brought a whole new world view to the table. The twins have traveled to places we have not even been to and have taken classes we have not. These two things alone create a whole new level of experience for the four of us when we’re together.
Luckily, their world adventures have in no way taken away the excitement they have while traveling. It is much the opposite. They not only still have wide eyes when trying new foods or seeing new sights, but process the travel with a much different intellect. Their experience goes from the excitement to conversation to how they will use this in their adult life.
We have more common interests
Although I really enjoyed the children’s museums and amusement parks, it is very nice to be past working those into our travel days. Now that the twins are older, we love that they like to do many of the same things we do. I know this comes both from how we have raised them and our common interests, but also from their level of maturity. There is no longer a need to work in the tourist sites or playgrounds for them. We plan our days together based on what we, as adults, want to see.
The added benefit to this is they have ideas as well. These common interests also make the conversations around our travel experiences much different than ever before. For example, on a recent trip, my husband, who has a PhD in Economics, and my son, who had just finished two economic classes, ended up in a two hour conversation about the economic benefits of tourism to the country we were visiting.
I have also found this to be true when we return home and after processing our trip. Based on a travel experience my daughter and I shared, we ended up attending a local lecture this past summer together.
They are self-sufficient and very easy to travel with
This alone may be the number one benefit of traveling with college kids and for two reasons. The first is most important to me. They are independent travelers and can get around without us. Our lives are busy and with our schedules, things are always changing. We no longer have to wait for them or them for us and we all benefit.
On a recent trip, my husband and I traveled to our destination five days before my daughter and her friend. They still had classes, but we were able to leave early. They flew in and arrived at the apartment we had rented without us having to spend the day picking them up at the airport. Then, as an added bonus, when my husband had to go home unexpectedly a few days early, the girls and I stayed on and arranged our flights to leave about the same time.
The second reason is even better; they are awesome to fly with. The twins have always been easy travelers, but there is something great about flying with young adults that need nothing from you. Don’t get me wrong, they will still love a little snack, but you are free to relax. The twins have traveled so much alone together, they have their own ways being with each other. It’s just so great to sit back and watch.
The freedom of not having to bring or hire babysitters
We not only love the cost savings, but we also love it being just the four of us. When the kids were younger, there were times we had expectations to visit a site or hike while the twins napped or we wanted to try a restaurant or even go out late to explore the area, but we were very uncomfortable with the childcare arrangements and cancelled our plans. Now, if there is something we want to do that the twins don’t want to or if the two of us just want time together, we’re free to do just that. The four of us just talk about it and the twins head off to do their thing and we do ours.
They are young adults and can do everything we do
Now that the twins are college age, they have no real restrictions when we travel and can do whatever we, as a family, want to do. They are tall enough to do everything and old enough. Granted, if they want to do what we do is another story, but we all talk about it and make plans together. This is such a wonderful benefit, because there are no longer any hurdles to activities or places we can visit.
As an added bonus, college kids love to nap! Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love a good afternoon nap when traveling! Kids between the ages of 5 and 18 are re too cool to nap, but college kids who are studying all the time get the whole need to nap. So, after a busy morning of touring, there is no fighting about taking a rest. Just a very mutual understanding of the need to nap! Bonus!
My kids would also say a benefit is that we now trust them more. They have the ability to be on their own, but in all honesty, they want to be with us. Recently, the four of us were talking about a trip they wanted to do alone and we were thinking we would meet up with them. And, just rolling off their tongue came, “yes, meet us, we would love a nice hotel for a few days”. It’s the truth. When they travel alone, it’s hostels and nice hotels, but not mom and dad nice hotels or rented homes…
What tips do you have for travel with college kids?
I am a home cook that does things my way. In my kitchen, I make breakfast, pack lunches, prepare snacks, and cook dinner. During the week, we eat real food that is homemade, organic, and local. On the weekends we do explore more of our local restaurants. I bake my own bread, juice fresh oranges every other day, and make my own kombucha and other weekly favorites.