Author: Veronica Lichtenstein, LMHC
Aug 9, 2023
We were on an almost three week Big Sky trip, which included Yellowstone, Glacier National, and Vancouver. Papa ( grandpa) called it “ambitious, “ yet he and Lola ( grandma) were in. So off we set out, starting first in Salt Lake City and aspiring to travel almost 5,000 miles in the Ford Expedition we rented. The Expedition carried 6 humans and even more luggage- my husband and I, our two kids ( son, Sam, 16 yo at the time , and daughter Jade, then 11 yo) and maternal grandparents. We rented two hotel rooms consistently throughout our trip, with both kids alternating room shares with us or grandparents.
By the time we reached Portland, OR, on our 5,000 mile road trip together we had all had it! We were looking for a health center to manage the coughing and fevers that developed, although everyone denied they were sick. Jeff, my husband and driver, got a parking ticket, and the packages just kept accumulating so human space in the SUV was decreasing. Regardless of all those “hardships” and inconveniences, the most endearing memories are what the kids remember- especially with their grandparents.
Sibling travel can provide numerous benefits and opportunities for personal growth and bonding.
First, traveling with siblings allows you to spend quality time together and navigate challenging situations. It provides an opportunity to address any unresolved issues or conflicts that may exist within your family dynamic. Being in a different environment can offer a fresh perspective and encourage open communication and problem-solving. My kids learned how to schedule time on and time off with the grandparents.
Traveling with siblings requires effective communication to plan and coordinate activities, navigate unfamiliar surroundings, and make decisions together. It gives you the chance to practice clear and respectful communication, express your needs, and understand each other's boundaries. This experience can lead to improved communication skills that can be applied within your family relationships and beyond. Traveling with siblings can be similar to living with college roommates. You'll share living space, make decisions collectively, and learn to navigate compromises. Just as college roommates often become lifelong friends, traveling with siblings can deepen your relationship and create lasting memories.
Spending extended periods of time with your siblings during travel allows you to truly get to know them on a deeper level. You can observe and appreciate their unique personality traits, habits, and preferences. By understanding each other's quirks, you develop a greater sense of empathy and acceptance, which strengthens your bond. Our kids learned when to leave each other alone. Jade dubbed Sam our IT guy on all trips because he gladly did the research on WiFi etc. Sam determined Jade to be very street smart and can negotiate new situations confidently.
Traveling together provides opportunities to meet new people and experience diverse cultures. By sharing these experiences with your siblings, you'll develop a deeper appreciation for different ways of life and gain a broader perspective. Comparing your family culture to others can help you understand your own values, traditions, and beliefs in a new light. It also sets the landscape for the parenting styles of both kids when they have their own families one day. They will remember these family vacations 30 years from now and start their own traditions.
When I wrote this a few weeks ago, my family was on a trip to Italy with both of our adult kids, and their Lola. (Papa passed away three years ago). We bring things up from previous trips that happened 8 years ago, and they continue to be building blocks for our relationships with each other and the memories just get stronger and more endearing.
Overall, sibling travel offers a unique chance to strengthen your familial bonds, enhance communication skills, and broaden your worldview. It allows you to navigate through challenges, appreciate individual differences, and create shared memories that can positively impact your relationships for years to come.