“The passport is the new diploma,” Keith Bellows, editor of National Geographic Traveler, told a group of influential writers and bloggers at the recent TMS Family Travel Conference in Niagara Falls, NY.
Carmel Valley resident Lois Alter Mark, an award-winning blogger who attended, agrees. “My kids have learned so much from traveling,” she said. “My son took life-changing trips chaperoned by some of his favorite teachers at Canyon Crest Academy, and my daughter is currently planning an international trip for winter break.”
Organized by Travel Media Showcase, the Family Travel Forum, Taking The Kids and the Niagara Tourism & Convention Corporation, the conference was founded on the philosophy that, in this era of globalization, it has never been more important to show children the world that exists beyond their neighborhoods – and perhaps their comfort zones.
“I learned so much at this conference,” said Mark, who blogs at Midlife at the Oasis and Huffington Post. “It reinforced my own belief that travel is the best experience we can give our children.”
New research from the U.S. Travel Association suggests that those who take educational trips as kids are more likely to graduate from college and earn more as adults.
“Niagara Falls has an amazing history, and there’s so much more to see there than the magnificent Falls,” said Mark. “It’s definitely worth traveling 3000 miles to visit.”