While each of us has our own list of things that make us jump for joy, we can all probably agree that the anticipation of going on vacation makes the cut. The pent-up excitement about leaving work, home, and the children behind for a spell is all too real.

Adults are told all the time that vacations are good for our health. Now, a survey is saying that there is one group who benefits tremendously from going away: kids. Yes, sometimes you want them to roll and sometimes you don’t.

It’s not just the idea of building sand castles or having fun on the bunny slope that makes a getaway great for children. Nor is it the sheer bonus of spending quality time together. According to the survey conducted by the Student and Youth Travel Association, 74% of teachers believe that travel contributes positively to personal development.

Of the 1,500 U.S. teachers who participated in the study, 79% feel that travel helps students increase their cultural awareness, cooperation, tolerance, confidence, and “willingness to explore.” Additionally, the report states that:

“Most importantly, teachers state that student travel prompts a transformation, through which students grow their ambitions to know, learn and explore. Outbound travel exposes students to a brand-new environment and culturally different climate. Distinct learning opportunities arise through experiencing new situations, emotions and lifestyles.”

Teachers from public and private schools all throughout the country contributed their input to the research, and nearly 80% agree that travel is just as effective a tool as in-classroom instruction. Over 50% of the respondents were high school teachers and 35% teach middle school.

In general, teachers who planned trips or traveled with their students do so to complement a curriculum and to promote group bonding and collaboration. What was common in the survey results is that most children want to travel in the future, whether it is domestically or internationally.

It should be noted that while the group surveyed was spread out and lived in different types of communities all over the U.S., many of the respondents lived in rural and suburban areas. Nonetheless, exposure to other people and places positively impacted students.

The report also found that there are barriers to travel, the most prevalent being financial costs. Across the board, this is a challenge. But small trips within or outside of the home state are still beneficial in terms of education and opening kids up to new things, a desire to travel, and a bump in self-esteem.

If parents have the means to allow their children to travel abroad, it’s a wonderful way to expand their cultural awareness and help them grow. But it’s also equally impactful to take a jaunt outside of one’s local surroundings to go explore what else awaits in your own state or the next state over.

The gist? Get the kids out and about! It won’t hurt.

What do you think of this student travel study? Have your children had the opportunity travel abroad? Did they go with a school or with you?


Student Youth & Travel Digest