Take your kids on vacation during affordable dates

By Susan Belles

We’ve all heard the saying in real estate – the value is about location, location and location. Well when it comes to the price of travel it’s about the date, the date and the date. Choosing the right date can be the difference between affordable and not affordable. This week’s column is by our daughter Susan A. Belles, who missed about 40 days of her sophomore year in high school so she could go to Europe and South America!

School was never my thing, I just wanted to be at ballet class. Sitting still and listening to the teacher for hours on end never really sat well with me. I am a different kind of learner, I learn by experience. I had a special opportunity; my parents took me out of school on several occasions to travel with them. Looking back I have realized that aside from all the cultural exposure, traveling provides a new way of learning and applying core academic lessons to real life. Ever since my travel experiences, learning in school has become more exciting. I am able to apply my experiences around the world to what I learn time after time.

During our trip down the Amazon River, I learned about astrology; in the southern hemisphere, you see different stars and constellations. Sounds pretty obvious, but it’s not something I ever would have thought about unless I had been there.

You also get a lot of mental math practice while you’re traveling. Especially if you’re trying to find great souvenirs on a student budget. Every time you see something you want, you have to calculate how much it would cost in U.S. Dollars to see if just maybe you have enough. Of course I wanted it all, so that was a quite a bit of math practice.

Depending on where you travel, you may also learn about the metric system. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve thought “90 MPH speed limit?! It doesn’t feel like we are going that fast….” Then I realize that the sign is actually kilometers per hour. When the taxi driver goes to fill up on gas and he fills his car with liters, (at $4 a liter) not gallons. Everything is not the same everywhere.

Overall, there are many lessons to be learned, and taking your kids out of school is not bad Parenting. Thank you Mama and Papa for all the “great life experiences,” (what the person interviewing me at the University of Illinois said I had) great conversation topics.

Parents if you are thinking about this, watch for more from me. I missed so much school and learned so much more because of it. These are just a few of the things I have learned. I will share more in the future.

Susan Belles, now 21, is a student with a 4.0 GPA at Chicago City Colleges. She teaches & helps with costumes at Ballet Chicago, has an Etsy website where she sells handmade leg warmers for dancers, and she does freelance work house sitting for people with dogs when they are out of town.

Rob and Lynn Belles are owners of Belles Firm of Architecture a local professional design firm, and the only real Architect Travel Agents known of. They are seasoned travelers with family and adult only international travel experience. They are teaching others what they know about traveling as a family, a couple, and as business owners who stay connected with their clients, even while they are traveling abroad.

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