In 2008, Rainer Jenss and his wife, Carol, sold their home in New York, and took off on a year-long, round-the-world trip with their two elementary-aged sons.  

“We believed there was no better way to launch them into the world than to have them see it,” Jenss said.  

Around the World With the Family 

Starting with a road trip across the United States, and covering 28 different countries (including The Vatican!), the family spent every minute together, building precious memories that drew them closer and even changed the course of their lives.  

Upon returning from the trip, Rainer founded the Family Travel Association to help parents become more aware of the ways they could travel with their children.  

“When you become a parent, the opportunities to travel don’t have to shrink, they can actually broaden,” he said. “I wanted to make families more aware of what they could do beyond Disney and field trips.”   

Of course, even a pro family traveler like Jenss acknowledges that traveling with family isn’t a walk in the park.  

But it’s a challenge that, he believes, is worth it. Though Jenss is quick to caution that the benefits of traveling might not be obvious at first. The benefits are longer lasting and unveil themselves over time.  

  • Family bonding time. It’s Jenss’ number one benefit of family travel. “You put your phones down and get that all-important time together.” 
  • Becoming more aware of cultural differences. This can happen even in your home country.  
  • Enhancing a child’s education. “While it doesn’t replace academic learning, there is no better education in the world than to travel. It is so enriching for a child.” 
  • Kids learn new life skills and learn new talents. “My son learned to juggle and photography became a passion.” 
  • Heightened sense of curiosity and wonder in children. Jenss sons were exposed to new kinds of people, foods and religions. “My sons never would have been interested in any of this stuff had they not been exposed to it.” 
  • Lifelong friendships. Jenss suggests locations with kids’ clubs, like a resort or dude ranch for building those relationships. And it also gives parents a break.  

Are these benefits of traveling nudging you to take that trip? If so, Jenss said there are some family travel tips you can use to optimize your travels:  

  • Involve your children in planning. They will be more invested in a trip they helped plan, and you become aware of what they actually want to do.  
  • Choose what you want to do first, rather than where you want to go. If your children want to go horseback riding or skiing, open yourself up to the many places around the world where they can do those things.  
  • Work with an agent. Consider working with a travel agent specializing in family excursions like Global Rescue’s Safe Travel Partners Truvay Travel, World Expeditions and Praxis Holidays. They can save you time, relieve the stress of planning, provide expertise, and can help you see the big picture. 
  • Make time your number one resource, not money. Take double the time off and spend half as much each day. Jenss family had a minimum three-night requirement for each location. “Give yourself time to improvise a little and be unstructure for a day,” he said. “This is where the magic happens.” 
  • Incorporate wildlife. “It’s just wonderful for children and makes them so happy.” 
  • Don’t expect everything to go according to plan. You don’t have to achieve everything on your list, particularly on one trip.  
  • Don’t underestimate your kids. From planning the trip, carrying their own bags, trying new foods or navigating public transport, travel inspires wonder and adventure in children that will surprise you.  

Family Outdoor Adventures  

Of course, you don’t have to travel the world to realize the benefits of family travel. Sarah Crockett and her husband enjoy taking their four children on backcountry adventure trips in their home state of New Hampshire.  

For Crockett, traveling with children was a necessity from the beginning. She and her husband have dedicated much of their family time to discovering new ways to get outside together—like in their Sprinter van, which they purchased in 2019 and use for long-distance family road trips.  

“It was something that was very important to my husband and me to not put our adventures on hold,” she said. “We folded our kids into those activities.” 

Beyond the fun, the adventure and finally getting a colicky baby to sleep, Crockett said she thinks travel with kids is beneficial because:  

  • It takes the emphasis off technology and inspires a love of nature. “My oldest son loves mountain biking and backcountry skiing. He doesn’t like computers at all,” she said. “He uses it for school work. I think one of my greatest sources of pride is instilling that love of nature and being outside in my children.” 
  • It helps kids see things from different perspectives. “We talk about how most people in the world live like this,” Crockett said, referring to the small space her family shares in their van when they go on long trips.  
  • It builds resilience. “It helps them understand that they don’t need very much,” she said. “You can build a lot of resilience with one duffel bag of clothes and your creativity.” 
  • It connects them to something bigger than themselves. “The grandeur of the Teton Mountains, feeling the energy of the forest floor beneath you,” she said. “They get to see where they fit into this bigger picture of our global family.” 

For Crockett and her husband, a few travel tips make their adventures with kids a lot smoother:  

  • Change your expectations. “Shift down to your slowest gear to meet them where they are,” she said. “If you’re hiking, you might want to make it to the summit, but this is about being out here and enjoying every moment.”  
  • Give kids the time they need. We all have a fear of missing out, Crockett said. But when we travel with kids, slow things down so they can have a memorable experience that fits their needs.  

“I find I get more enjoyment out of seeing things through their eyes,” Crockett said. “You’ll experience things on a much deeper level.” 

  • Education is key. Crockett and her family are able to enjoy outdoor adventures like rock climbing and cross country skiing because they have spent a lot of time developing skills and getting comfortable with certain risks. If you haven’t been outdoors as much, start small—like drive up camping—and work your way up. And consider a tour guide to take you on your adventures.  

Everything Is Great, Until It’s Not 

Even the most impactful trips can go sideways.  

The Cann family knows this well. As missionaries in remote Papua New Guinea, they are shaping their lives in a way that will impact their children (and others) for the good. In 2021, that all came to a halt when their son broke his jaw in a bike accident. They needed help urgently—help that could only come by helicopter.  

Thankfully, they were Global Rescue members, so with just one phone call, the mission to rescue 9-year-old Jude Cann began and after an immediate medical evacuation, he was getting the care he needed.  

Because of their membership, the Canns didn’t pay a dime for transport and did not have to handle the logistics of travel.  

“Looking back, that was a part of the Global Rescue system I really valued,” said Zach Cann, Jude’s father. “They took care of the logistics and made the plan to get us home. All we had to do was follow.” 

If you want to give your kids the benefits of traveling, then give yourself the peace of mind of a Global Rescue membership. That will protect them and give you the space to do what matters most: make lasting memories with your family.