Family Travel Question:

Q | At what age will children remember and appreciate big trips?

At what age will children remember and appreciate big trips - like to Europe from the United States? -Robyn, MI

A | Too young for Europe?

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It’s a tough question. Some kids can remember things back to a very young age, others can’t. I’ve been a family travel writer for almost a decade and a parent for only 8 years so I’ve been traveling with the kids since they were infants. Our first trip to Europe (from Canada) was when they were 11 months and 3 years old. My oldest sometimes says things that suggest he remembers parts of the trip but the youngest has no memory of it at all. Last year we took them to Peru; they were 5 and 7 and I have far more confidence that they will remember it – mostly because they were big enough to be active participants (playing soccer with neighborhood kids, asking the guide questions, etc.) When I planned that first European trip, I shared your concern but I realized that photos and videos will help the kids to see what they may not independently remember. Equally important is the fact that my husband and I have amazing memories of traveling with the kids when they were portable enough to wheel through museums and fall asleep on our shoulders.  Don’t rule out a trip with them when they’re younger, you may miss out on once in a lifetime experiences you’ll want to remember down the road.

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