The results are in… Family vacations are more than fun. They’re critically important to the formation of lifelong bonds and raising resilient kids who think outside of the box.
What’s more, family vacations stimulate brain development. And the memories made on trips become “happiness anchors” to help kids get through trying times later.
Read on to learn more about the latest research on the benefits of family vacations…
Give Experiences, Not Things
Yes, this little nugget of wisdom has become a favorite cliché on Instagram and Pinterest. But there’s solid science behind it.
Experts now agree that a parent’s money is much better spent on experiential gifts, like travel, than on toys or other material trinkets. While children lose interest in new toys within a week or two, experiences like family vacations stay with them their whole lifetime.
Why? These experiences elicit intense emotions. Sharing these experiences and feelings together creates instant, profound, enduring connections.
Travel memories act as “happiness anchors.” According to a recent survey by the Family Holiday Association, 49 percent of those polled said their happiest memory happened during a family vacation.
One-third of the study’s participants reported that they still cherish vivid memories of childhood vacations. What’s more, many actively refer back to childhood vacation memories to help them get through tough times.
Having ready access to a store of cheerful family vacation memories makes children more resilient in the face of challenges. These “happiness anchors” help individuals gain fresh insight into the problems they’re facing. And they provide a powerful coping mechanism for years to come.
Family Vacations Stimulate Brain Development
Travel also encourages crucial brain development. Family vacations actively stimulate two genetically ingrained systems buried in the limbic region of the brain, the PLAY and SEEKING systems.
When you play with your children, their PLAY system gets stimulated. Play can be as simple as riding your kid around on your back or building sand castles together on the beach.
Exploring new locations makes your child’s SEEKING system light up with activity. And the same goes for our adult brains, too.
When our PLAY and SEEKING systems get stimulated, our brains release powerful neurochemicals or “feel-good” chemicals. Neurochemicals reduce stress, allow us to refuel emotionally, and inspire warm feelings of love and generosity.
Travel Lets Us Break Out of Our Daily Routine
In daily life, balancing work and home life responsibilities often put play and discovery at the bottom of the priority list. Sixty-five percent of parents report they only play with kids occasionally, and one in six fathers say they don’t know how to play with their kids at all. But play and exploration are crucial to a child’s cognitive development.
Scientific research clearly backs the importance of taking regular family vacations. They foster the development of closer relationships. They provide us with crucial “happiness anchors” for difficult times. And travel continuously stimulates our PLAY and SEEKING systems.
At Our Whole Village, we create tours designed for families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its peoples, and its cultures. Contact us today to learn more about the unforgettable experiences that we handcraft to draw families closer and make kids stronger.