NEW YORK — How much you learn about the world as a child may impact how much of it you explore when you grow up. In a recent survey of 2,000 people, more than half (55%) believe expanding their horizons when they were young is what motivated them to travel as an adult.
That said, the survey shows a significant number of Americans have never left the country — let alone traveled outside their own state!
Overall, 76 percent enjoyed learning about the world around them when they were younger. Seven in 10 are nostalgic about that time in their childhood, wishing they could experience learning about the world for the first time all over again.
Traveling makes the world a better place
Seventy-three percent agree that traveling with kids today is one of the best ways to teach them about the world (73%). Four in five think it’s important for children to be exposed to different cultures at a young age. Eight in 10 (81%) agree that in today’s world, it’s more important than ever to teach young children empathy towards others.
Overall, 84 percent of parents hope their child will be able to travel and explore the world more than they themselves have. That’s likely because the average respondent has only been to four other countries in their life. Roughly one in seven (14%) has never left the United States at all. Although 65 percent of the poll have traveled domestically at least once each year before the pandemic, another 16 percent admit to never leaving their home state.
“Nothing beats taking trips to other countries, but there are many ways to develop global awareness even if you can’t travel,” says Little Passports CEO and co-founder, Amy Norman, in a statement. “Meeting children where their excitement is sparked can make a huge difference, and exposing a child to books, foods, traditions, art, and sports from other cultures is key.”
Showing kids the world
Besides traveling, respondents have also introduced their children and grandchildren to other cultures through movies and television (52%), books (51%), and toys and games (45%).
While 79 percent look for gifts that are already related to the child’s interests, 72 percent believe that a great gift, whether it’s a toy, book, or experience, should help the child expand their view of the world.
A similar number prioritize educational gifts (77%) or believe that toys should encourage children to learn something new (78%).
“It’s encouraging to see that 87% of survey respondents enjoy the child’s reaction more than the child seems to enjoy playing with the gift,” adds Michelle Chun, vice president of operations at Little Passports. “It’s those moments of joy and shared activity that can really stay with a child for the rest of their life, and will hopefully foster a more open-minded, curious community of future adults.”