When I was little, I did not experience extravagant vacations. We didn’t take cruises to the islands, explore Europe or fly to Hawaii. What I remember, however, are all the summer trips to Hersheypark, the family adventures at Lake George and the countless trips to visit family in Rhode Island. What makes a family vacation special is not necessarily the destination, but the memories created that can be kept in your heart forever.
Since my father passed away a few years ago, I find myself remembering fondly our family vacations. I remember my uncle falling out of the boat while whitewater rafting (don’t worry, he didn’t get hurt), getting caught in a storm on the ferry to Block Island and watching my cousins go tubing on Loon Lake. Now that I am a parent, I make family vacations an important part of our lives. Whether it’s a weekend in Philadelphia, a week in Disney or a road trip to visit my sister in Louisiana, my family loves vacationing together.
There are so many amazing benefits for taking a family vacation. Besides being incredibly fun and an escape from reality, vacations help families grow and learn in a variety of ways. Many families either don’t have the time or the money (or maybe both) to experience a vacation, but I am here to say that planning a family vacation should immediately go on your to-do list. Taking a vacation together as a family can be life changing.
10 Benefits of Taking a Family Vacation
For some, planning a vacation is more fun than the actual vacation (well almost). Watching specials on the travel channel, reading travel books and talking to friends who have been to your destination before creates excitement and anticipation. Letting the kids help with planning process also makes them feel more involved and it helps families bond. Planning a vacation also gives you something to look forward to and makes getting through the boring daily routine easier to handle!
Sometimes the journey to your destination is the best part! We love road trips and try to make the ride to our vacation spot as fun and memorable as possible. We play fun games, bring along books and activities, stop at cool places and check out the amazing scenery. A long journey definitely teaches patience as well as encourages siblings to get along!
Learn Through Experiences
Kids learn best by doing. Reading books and looking at pictures is great but nothing beats hands-on experiences to really help a child learn. When on vacation, kids learn through experiences. They see firsthand how different cultures live, they taste food from other lands and they can smell the fresh fruit from a tropical island. These multi-sensory experiences allow kids to gain knowledge in a more meaningful way.
Promotes Family Bonding
Whether it’s hiking through a rain forest, riding the fastest roller coaster, swimming with dolphins or sitting around the campfire, vacations offer amazing opportunities for families to spend time together. Parents learn more about what their kids like and don’t like while kids learn that their parents are cool after all!
Expands Social Awareness
Family vacations are a great way to expand a child’s understanding of the world around them. Kids step outside their own town, state or even country to see how other societies live. They also learn how others communicate and engage socially. This helps children gain not only language skills but also an understanding of social norms in different areas. Lastly, while on vacation, it is not uncommon to make new friends that kids can keep for years to come!
Relax and Recharge
Everybody needs some R&R from time to time, even kids. Family vacations are a wonderful way to forget about work, school and the stressors at home and just have fun. Families can relax on the beach, enjoy a cruise or even climb to the top of a volcano. No matter what the adventure, you are sure to come home recharged and ready to return to the daily grind.
Try New Adventures
Vacations offer great opportunities for adventure! By trying something new, kids gain a better sense of self. It can also help build confidence. An adventure can range from camping to mountain climbing to a swamp tour. Some adventures build motor skills while others enhance language or help expand social awareness. Either way trying a new adventure is a wonderful learning experience for everyone!
Learn About Different Cultures
Traveling and seeing different parts of the country and the world helps kids (and parents) gain a better understanding of different cultures and ways of life. For kids, it’s hard for them to understand that people can live differently than they do. By traveling, they can see firsthand that their are other ways to eat, dress and live!
Gain Insight About Yourself
Whether it’s riding the highest roller coaster, camping in the middle of the woods or eating a grasshopper, traveling helps people learn about what they like or dislike and pushes them to new limits. While on vacation, families not only learn about each other but learn about themselves. When the electronic devices are taken away, kids (and adults) are forced to make choices and try new adventures. This helps them develop a better self-concept and greater self-confidence.
These are just a few of the MANY benefits of taking a family vacation. I hope this has motivated you to start planning your next family adventure today!