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Why it's OK to travel with kids during the school year

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Traveling during the school year is better than you think

Let's say — hypothetically, of course — that you didn't get your act together in time for summer travel with the family.

You can beat yourself up for it, or you can pack your bags for a school-year vacation. As it turns out, off-season family travel beats a sweltering summer vacation, anyway.

Don't believe us?

1. School year travel is cheaper

Avoid summer and holiday travel to make your budget sing. Some travel websites estimate that traveling during the school year can save families as much as 50 percent on their vacation costs. Half price travel? Why would you ever say no?

2. Education can travel

We're not advocating truancy or anything, but educational items like books and worksheets are easy to pack. Your child can make up assignments, and he or she may even benefit cognitively from a change of scenery while plugging away at homework. Some schools even offer webcam access to lectures, if you're particularly concerned about your child falling behind.

3. Stunning sights are an off-season affair

Sure, summer is spectacular. But there are are many destinations that are at their best in the fall and spring — like New England for autumn foliage or Texas for breathtaking wildflowers.

4. Enriching travel is good for your child

Some parents seem to think that pulling their kids from school for two days will put their children on a path to abysmal failure. A recent study conducted by The Wagner Group, however, indicates that kids who travel to educational destinations are more likely than their peers to have success in school and career.

5. You both deserve a break

Both school and parenting can turn into drudgery when daily activities are all business and no play. A vacation, though, instantly changes the story and invites families to laugh and play in spite of busy schedules. Step away from the madness to feel revived for another round of school lunches and extracurricular activities.

6. It's important to make memories all year

Think back to your childhood. Are your best memories all in the summer? Probably not, but our society has stepped away from valuing breaks and adventures during the school year. Parents, let's reclaim the entire year as a chance to enjoy our families — and remember that memories are strongest when the adventures are unexpected and out of the ordinary.

7. Worst case scenario? Not that bad

The truth is that educators don't love it when kids miss class for a family vacation. Teachers are sometimes irritated, and education systems fight back by issuing unexcused absences and angry form letters. But guys, even those undesirable consequences aren't that bad. The frustration will dissipate and the unexcused absences eventually won't matter. I'm pretty sure that prestige colleges and jobs don't make their decisions based on an unexcused absence from the third grade.

If you're hesitant to take your child out of school for vacation, remember that school-year travel doesn't necessitate absences. Get creative by scheduling your trips during teacher workdays, or just enjoy a short weekend trip.

More about travel

Flip-flop-approved summer destinations
Mother/daughter vacation spots we love
How to turn your travel mishaps into experiences you won't forget

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