Is backpacking a safe children's activity?

Today, bringing up children means more than feeding them and providing them a basic education. In an ever developing society with higher expectations for future generations.

In an ever developing society with higher expectations for future generations, parents never hesitate to invest in their offspring. From middle to high class families, their children are getting more opportunities to experience culture, arts, and sport. Their parents believe that the more children experience life, the better their future will be.

In addition to cultural, arts, and sporting courses that children can take in big cities, there are many other ways for them to learn about life, including travelling.

“Travelling is very good for children to have a true conception of life. Hardly anything can be more wonderful than knowing exactly what a mountain, a river, a city look like. Newspapers, books, TV, and the Internet are very helpful but seeing something with their own eyes is different.” Trần Vũ Hoàng, a 35-year-old father, said.

While a lot of parents choose traditional tourism with good accommodation and catering, others are looking to backpacking.

Phạm Tấn Phát, 34, is a father who has taken his 8-year-old son to travel nationwide.

“I have taken him out since he was 5. So far, we have travelled together to more than 40 provinces and cities in Viet Nam.” He said.

“We have a car which is like a movable house. We store food, clothes and water in it. We also have medicine in case we are sick,” he added.

Lê Kiên Trung is another young father who loves traveling and has visited many places with his children Lê Lam and Lê Minh, and his wife.

“Sometimes, we don’t have a detailed plan for a trip. We drive until we want to stop to enjoy the scenery or try local food. We are free to experience life without. Even when we travelled to Thailand, we wanted to live like local people: we hired a car or motorbikes then discovered new areas. We did not book tours,” Trung said.

This way of travelling has a great impact on their children. Phạm Thành Đồng, Phát’s son, loves the trips. At first he was shy and afraid of strange things but now Đồng is more self-confident and independent.

“I am not afraid of darkness or ghosts. I can take care of myself in terms of basic things such as eating and bathing, rather than waiting for my father’s help. I learned a lot about cars, cooking and positioning devices from my father.” Đồng happily shared.

Lê Lam (six years old) and Lê Minh (four years old) are much better at decision making thanks to travelling.

“It’s a very important thing I have taught the children through the trips. We are a family, like a team, and faced with new situations, we discuss and I let the children choose the way to react so that we can make the most of the experience. I find that the children contribute good ideas.” Trung said.

While the young fathers are excited about guiding their sons and daughters to travel as backpackers, women cannot help but worry more than men.

“Though I believe the fathers will do their best to protect and teach the children, I am still worried. I don’t know if they can handle it when the weather is bad and they are in the jungle, or if they are in emergency and can’t get help,” Hương Đặng, a housewife, worried.

“What if the children are too excited about the trips to focus on studying at school? I don’t want my children to focus less on their studies,” she added.

These worries are something parents who love taking children to travel like Phát and Trung need to consider. Although that way of travelling brings about wonderful experiences that no classes compare to, parents should think carefully before making any decisions to avoid unexpected consequences for their children.


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