5 Reasons Your Family Needs Yearly Vacations

Family vacations are an annual tradition for many Americans, which is good for many reasons. The trips you take together help your family create ties that bind. Travel is also good for each member individually. Here are five of the top reasons why family vacations are important.

You Spend Time Together

Research has long shown that social connection is crucial to a long, healthy life, and people bond over shared experiences. You can spend time together around the dining room table, playing board games or assembling a jigsaw puzzle. However, when you travel, you spend better quality time together; the experiences are more meaningful. Memories created on vacation can serve as joyful reminders during sad times. Recalling them helps you feel happy and loved.


You Build Your Brain

Travel is beneficial to brain development. Being in a new environment, experiencing new sensations and gaining new knowledge keeps your mind constantly active. Your children’s natural sense of wonder will be reinforced and yours will likely be awakened. When you encounter novel situations and practice adapting to different circumstances, you will all learn how to remain flexible and to come up with creative solutions. Seeing things in person often reinforces lessons your children have learned in school, in subjects such as history, geography and social studies.


You Open Your Heart

When you travel, you learn more about the world than you could have in a book. By immersing yourself in another way of life, even temporarily, you expose yourself to thoughts and practices you may never have encountered otherwise. Travel encourages awareness of other cultures and languages, which helps you open your mind and become more tolerant. Moreover, as you roam, your kids will gain more independence and learn about themselves. While they develop sensitivity to other people, they will also acquire a greater sense of gratitude for their own circumstances.


You Go Outside

At home, people tend to fall into daily routines that require them to be indoors. Jobs in most industries — retail, administrative and information technology, to name a few — require employees to be inside during the workday. After work, families tend to eat dinner, catch up on homework or chores and head to bed. Many days, the only time you spend outside of buildings is while you are inside your car. On a trip, all that changes. You go outside more, which is great for your physical and mental well-being. After just 20 minutes in nature, you become better able to focus. In fact, people with ADHD sometimes find being outside as effective as medication in helping them concentrate. Being outdoors has other physical benefits: natural settings relieve stress, lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol levels.


You Get Physical

Just as travel can move you into nature, it can also move you off the couch. Vacations encourage physical activity that would not be part of regular daily routines. Just about every type of holiday involves activity. When you take your family to the Grand Canyon, you do some hiking. When you visit Chicago, you walk city streets. Historical sites, museums and theme parks all involve copious amounts of walking. Even when your aim is to relax, you head to the beach and end up strolling, swimming or kayaking.