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What did you bring home from your last family trip?

Snapshots, souvenirs, maybe even sunburns? You might be surprised to learn that your children returned from traveling with something else as well! There’s no need to search pockets or suitcases – the evidence may be on the next report card.

In a study by the Student and Youth Travel Association, teachers across the U.S. were surveyed about the impact of travel on students. Teachers reported myriad benefits, from increased curiosity, willingness to learn and explore, confidence and independence. These students were more likely to try new foods and activities, to express the desire to travel more, and to demonstrate tolerance and sensitivity towards other cultures and people.

Encourage your junior jet-setters to make the most out of your adventures with tangi­ble experiences. Foster independence and hone practical skills by enlisting their help in reading maps, navigating transportation, calculating exchange rates, etc. Promote empathy, perspective shifts, and communica­tion skills through conversations with locals and fellow travelers, visiting historically and culturally significant attractions, and diving into unfamiliar flavors during mealtimes.

Parents benefit, too; slowing down and making thoughtful choices when you travel with kids can allow you to notice small moments, try spontaneous activities, and to see your family members (especially the youngest ones!) in a whole new light.

Whether flying internationally, cruising the seas, or simply driving to a nearby town for a change of scenery, kids reap rewards from traveling that benefit them in the classroom, in their relationships, and in their futures.