Adventure Travel With Kids: Why I Don’t Let My Fears Stop My Children

Jul 26, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

My two children — ages 3 and 5 — have traveled to about 23 countries. Often when I tell people where we’re going, they ask, “You’re taking your kids there? What will they do?” My motto is, “If kids live there, kids can visit.” But what most people find even more bizarre is what my kids do while we’re visiting these places.

From surf lessons in Costa Rica to parasailing in Fort Myers to indoor skydiving and zip lining, I’m often told, “Your kids are brave.” That is usually followed by, “Aren’t you scared to let them do those things?” I’m terrified of heights and many other things, but I refuse to let my fears stop my children from being adventurous. Here’s why.

Photo courtesy of Monet Hambrick

I Want My Children to Try New Things

One of the main reasons I travel with my kids is that I want them to have experiences they can’t get at home. If I only allow them to stick to the activities that are familiar, they won’t get all they can from travel. Surfing, for instance, is huge in Costa Rica, so it was only right for my children to take a lesson. My 3-year-old couldn’t do everything in the class, but she could do a lot. The lesson allowed her to decide whether or not surfing is something she likes and wants to continue. The answer: She loved it!

Photo Credit Monet Hambrick
Photo courtesy of Monet Hambrick

When one of my daughters wanted to do the “Tarzan” swing in the middle of the 13 lines we zip lined, I’ll admit I was nervous. None of the adults in our group was brave enough to do it, but she insisted. The guide said it was more than safe for her to have a go, so she did. Afterward, she told me, “I didn’t really like it but I’m glad I tried.” I’m proud of her for trying it.

I Want My Children to Come to Their Own Conclusions

To some degree, fear is taught. Babies are naturally curious and will touch anything, go anywhere and put anything in their mouth — until someone tells them not to, tells them that something is hot, tastes bad or is too scary. So much of what we do as humans is shaped by our parents and those around us, but just because I might fear something, I don’t necessarily want my children to learn that fear from me.

My kids now love some of those activities I’m scared of and I’m glad I didn’t prevent them from trying new things and finding joy in them. I remember once when my then-4-year-old wanted to go parasailing. Her dad went with her and I watched in awe. She was having the time of her life, laughing and enjoying her ride. When she was coming down, my then-2-year-old said, “Mommy, I want to go.” Too quickly I responded, “No. We can’t do that. I’m scared.” In that moment I gave her a reason to be scared of doing something when she really had no reason to be. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I wished I hadn’t said them.

Photo Courtesy of Monet Hambrick
Photo courtesy of Monet Hambrick

My Kids Push Me to Face My Own Fears

I am terrified of pretty much everything. As a child, when I went on end-of-the-year field trips to Orlando theme parks, I would stand in line with my friends but when it was their turn to go on, I’d head for the exits. When I was at Disney World with one of my daughters and she was finally tall enough to go on a roller coaster, she really wanted to go. How could I cheat her out of her first roller-coaster experience because I was too afraid? So I rode it with her — and I loved it! We went on it three more times that day and I realized that all those years I had been limiting my own fun.

I will always encourage my children’s adventurous ways. We’ve shared some amazing moments and created memories that will last forever. I can only hope that if they have children of their own, that they will let them take the lead in being adventurous both at home and while exploring the world.

Here’s some more travel advice for families:

Photos by the author. 

Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card account anniversary. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy Bonus Points after spending $5,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months of Card Membership. Offer expires 8/31/22.
  • 6x points at hotels participating in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program.
  • 4x points for purchases made at restaurants worldwide, at U.S. gas stations, on wireless telephone services purchased directly from U.S. service providers and on U.S. purchases for shipping.
  • 2x points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a 7% discount off standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at hotels that participate in the Marriott Bonvoy program when you book directly. Terms and Conditions Apply.
  • Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Plus, earn an additional Free Night Award after you spend $60K in purchases on your Card in a calendar year. Awards can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 35,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at a participating hotel. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Enjoy Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite Status with your Card.
  • Terms apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Regular APR
17.99% - 26.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$125
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.