I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

How & Why Your Homeschooler Should Plan Your Next Trip

Written by Chelsea Gonzales.

Travel can be an amazing, delight-directed learning experience. Meeting new people, seeing new things, and tasting new foods can all lead to growing well-rounded kids who have a true appreciation for the world around them. Not only that, but frequent travel can also help with problem-solving skills and teach traditional subjects such as geography, history, and science in a natural way.

That said, if you want to take full advantage of a travel adventure, you really need to start at the beginning. You see, planning for your travels can be just as educational as the actual trip itself.

That said, I highly recommend letting your kids in on the planning process. In doing so, you'll not only help them learn useful skills but also fine-tune their current knowledge in a variety of areas.

(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)


What Kids Learn Through Travel Planning


Travel planning involves a great deal of math. From calculating how many miles there are between destinations to budgeting for necessities, the whole process is like a giant math puzzle.

Personally, I find this kind of analysis fascinating, and it’s likely your young explorer will too. It will help him understand how certain math concepts can be applied to everyday life, making learning math much more relevant and fun.


If your child is not a strong reader, travel planning can definitely provide him with plenty of natural practice. After all, one has to do quite a bit of research in order to plan a successful trip, and research requires reading.

Kids who don't enjoy reading storybooks often find non-fiction or practical reading more to their liking, as it provides useful information to satisfy their curiosities. 



Whether you’re planning a short trip to a neighboring city or an extended stay to the other side of the world, you'll probably consult a map at least once. Try handing that task off to your child instead. Using a paper map will give him an opportunity to put his geography skills to use in the real world and will encourage and develop his navigational skills.

Real practice with real tools makes learning stick.

Organization, Planning, and Critical Thinking

Planning a trip means looking to the future, foreseeing potential problems, and solving them before you ever set out. It requires one to consider time constraints, to decide how to get from point A to point B, and to keep lots of details in mind. There is a lot of thinking, examining, and organizing that goes into trip planning. Guiding your child through the process now will help to ensure he'll be ready to do it on his own someday.

Of course, these are just some of the things your child might pick up during the planning stage. You might be surprised at what else he'll learn along the way! 

How to Get Kids Started with Travel Planning

Ready to get your kids involved in your travel plans? Here are some of my best suggestions for each age and maturity level.

Ages 5–8

If you’ve got a young one, you might pick and choose aspects of the trip that your child can plan.

For instance, you might allow him to choose the activities for just one day. Help him figure out how many miles you all will be traveling, and how much travel time you’ll need if traveling by car. Give him a budget to work with and let him pick attractions and food options that fit into that budget.

He'll likely require quite a bit of guidance, so be sure to give him lists of options with prices included.

Ages 8–12

Slightly older kids can do a bit more planning. You might allow your tween to plan two or three days of the trip. Give him the option of using public transportation vs. driving, and have him decide which is more budget-friendly.

After he chooses his mode of transportation, encourage him to figure out how much travel time he'll need to allow. Again, give him a budget to work with and let him choose attractions and restaurants accordingly. However, you might let your tween research attractions, admission prices, and restaurant menus all on his own. Encourage him to keep all his plans in one spot like a travel journal.


Ages 13 and up

Depending upon his maturity and experience, a teen might be able to plan an entire weekend trip all on his own. Give your teen a budget for the whole trip and see what he comes up with in terms of transportation, lodging, food, and entertainment. Remind him to do the following:
  1. schedule in travel time
  2. budget for unexpected expenses 
Have your teen bring his finished plan to you so that you can make adjustments if needed, but be sure to explain any changes you make and the reasoning behind the change. 

Of course, this is just a loose guide. Some kids might be capable of taking on more at a younger age, and others might need a bit less to focus on at first.

Feel free to change things up and do what works for your family. Have a blast planning awesome adventures with your kids and be sure to learn new things together while you’re at it.

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