In a little experiment, I recently flew out of Birmingham (UK) airport instead of the London choices for my itinerary. I’m glad I did, and I’ll likely do it again if it fits with my travel plans.
It seems so simple – passport = travel to other countries. I mean, I can make a reservation from JFK to Moscow on Expedia snippity-snap and take some pictures in Red Square should I so wish, right? RIGHT?
Not really. That fancy passport is pretty awesome, I’ll agree. It is a ticket to quite a lot of interesting places and experiences. But sometimes it takes a little more than showing up with a smile and a blank page waiting for a stamp.
It takes… *cue O Fortuna*… a VISA! American citizens can visit 172 countries without a visa or with a visa upon arrival. The rest of them take some legwork, and a few of them have some very onerous requirements.
I’m a financial educator in my real life, so my interest was peaked by the the link to How Vacations Can Make Your Kids Financially Savvy. There isn’t any rocket science in the article, but it does point out ways that you can use vacations as opportunities to teach lessons about budgeting, spending, and saving.
There are a few more things that I would have included. These aren’t really lessons but rather things that have happened naturally.
First, international travel has taught my children about exchange rates, both the math and the theory. Figuring how much that trinket will cost “in dollars” reinforces basic math skills and forces the kids to consider the relative value of things. The theory has been much more interesting – I’ve learned a lot during our conversations.
They’ve also had first-hand experience with the metric system. Figuring out how much longer we had to drive becomes a whole different problem when the road signs are in kilometers. (Even more so if your speedometer is in miles). Hearing that the weather will be 40 degrees means something completely different when the announcer is talking about degrees Celsius. And how much lunch meat do you need to order in kilograms?
Other, random financial topics that have come up include why other countries make their money out of different materials, daily schedules in equatorial countries, and why the cars are so small outside of the US. (Hint: they’re mostly financial reasons.)
I’m sure that you have some additional experiences. Please share in the comments. We’re all in this parenting and travelling thing together.