From helping us all bond with each other to making our kids smarter, there are so many compelling reasons to make family travel a priority. Below are just a few of my favorite benefits that will make you want to pack your bags and hit the road together right now.
8 Amazing Reasons to Make Family Travel a Priority
We already talked about how family vacations make kids smarter, but there are so many more reasons to travel with your kids more often. Here are just a few, in no particular order.
1. Traveling promotes family bonding
One of the most obvious benefits of traveling with kids is how it helps you bond as a family. Our lives at home are so busy that we don’t get nearly enough time to just enjoy each other’s company.
Vacations force us to put aside all of the distractions and just focus on each other. We always come home feeling more connected as a family. When my kids are all grown up, even if they end up having nothing in common, they’ll always have the memories we made on those trips.
2. It teaches kids about different cultures
If we want to raise kids who grow up to change the world, we need to start by teaching them to respect other cultures. What better way to do that than to let them experience those cultures up-close and personal?
We may all live in different towns, states, and even countries, but we are all sharing this big blue marble that we call Earth. We’re all connected in so many ways. By learning about different cultures, our kids develop a deeper sense of empathy for those who may look, think and act differently from them. That isn’t something that goes away when they unpack their bags at home. It stays with them forever.
3. Traveling with kids forces us to slow down
Okay, so this is more of a benefit for us parents, but it’s still a good reason to make family travel a priority! When we vacation with children, we have no choice but to move a bit slower. As I’m sure you know, kids move at their own pace and no amount of “hurry up” on our part will change that.
Yes, that’s frustrating when you’re trying to get out the door on time and your toddler refuses to put on her shoes. However, when you’re on vacation, moving at your kids’ pace forces you to slow down and take in more of the experience. You’ll see things that you may have missed if you were going at your usual Road Runner pace.
4. It helps you connect to your own inner child
Traveling with kids doesn’t just force us to slow down, it also lets us see the world through a child’s eyes. That in turn helps us reconnect with our own inner child. Given the sheer amount of stress that we’re all under every day lately, I think we could all use a playdate with our younger and more carefree selves, don’t you?
Connecting with your inner child doesn’t just benefit you, though. It helps you become a better parent to your own kids, too. Just like learning about other cultures helps our kids relate to them better, seeing the world the way our kids do helps us better relate to them.
5. Family vacations boost creativity
Creativity is a vital component of success. Think about where the world’s most successful people would be without it. In fact, think of where the world itself would be without it. I mentioned this when we were talking about diversity and inclusivity. Without creative people coming up with new ideas, we’d all be living in caves still.
How does family travel improve creativity? The answer to that lies in a 2017 study done by the University of Toronto. Researchers found that too much structured learning hurts creativity. That’s bad news since most of our kids’ early learning comes in the form of highly structured lessons. By traveling often, you’re giving your kids access to entirely unstructured learning experiences, which helps provide a bit more balance to their education.
6. Traveling can help you all live longer
Speaking of boosts, regular family vacations may even help you and your kids live longer and healthier lives. Studies show that traveling helps reduce stress, which in turn leads to better heart health. It can also lower your risk of developing depression.
Vacations that involve a lot of walking, biking, hiking or swimming also help keep your whole family in shape. I don’t think you need a study to remind you why that’s important for your health, right?
7. Vacations make learning fun!
Countless studies tell us that kids learn more when they’re having fun. One study even found that playtime can be just as effective as a classroom lesson in young children. Vacations are all about playtime and fun, so it makes sense that the lessons our kids learn during them stick with them longer than lessons they learn in the classroom.
For example, when we went to Crystal River, my kids learned all about the manatees and their ecosystem. Seeing those beautiful creatures up close really helped them connect what they learned and develop a deeper understanding of how important it is to respect that ecosystem.
At Amelia Island, they learned all about sea turtles. During our trip to Marco Island, they learned through hands-on fun at the C’mon Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples. In Punta Cana they learned about the culture of the Dominican Republic. I could go on and on. Each trip left my kids with a new lesson or skill that they’ll remember for many years to come.
8. Family travel is just plain fun!
Last, but so very far from least, traveling together is just plain fun! Isn’t that a compelling enough reason? Not everything needs to have scientific benefits to be worth doing.
When we’re overwhelmed by all of the responsibilities of life, we pack our bags and hit the road. Even if we’re only packing a beach bag and hitting a few miles’ worth of road, just getting away from it all really helps renew our spirits.
I’ll leave you with one last quote about family vacations that I really love. It’s from Hodding Carter, and it goes, “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots; the other, wings.” I want to give my kids wings that let them soar for years to come, and traveling with them helps me do just that.