It’s too expensive. There’s so much to do around the house. Remember the tantrum at 33,000 feet? The list can go on and on. It’s easy to make excuses for why you can’t take that family vacation but it turns out that a trip with your spouse and kids are just what’s needed in this 24/7, non-stop, virtually-connected world. An increasing number of scientific studies link regular travel for pleasure to increased vitality in both physical and mental health. Travel makes you smarter. Travel opens your mind. Travel helps you get outside and stay active and engaged. Perhaps the most valuable benefit of family travel is the opportunity for bonding and connecting it affords. We suggest taking a pause in your busy day and checking out a few reasons why you should pack up and head out on a family vacation. Pronto!
1. Travel is good for your health.
According to an article published by NBC News, 5 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Traveling Abroad, people who travel for pleasure are less likely to be depressed, stressed, and unhappy. They are also less likely to suffer from heart disease or heart attack. It also noted that men who don’t take an annual vacation face a 20% higher risk of death and heart disease than men who do.
2. Travel creates an opportunity for family bonding.
Between work, school, activities, and errands, how much quality time do you actually spend with your loved ones? As your children grow up and start to spend more time away from home, family bonding time suffers. The opportunity to spend time together and create positive memories before your kids are grown and out of the house is precious and limited. On vacation, you tend to share more meals, activities, and experiences than you do in day-to-day life.
It is possible to be in your family’s presence without being fully present. Time alone doesn’t necessarily equal closeness. How can you maximize quality time with your family while on vacation and bond with your kids? Stanford Children’s Hospital lists several key practices for getting closer that can be used whether you’re on vacation, or at home:
- Children want your undivided attention. When they talk, look at them and engage them in more conversation. Show your interest.
- Listen to their music. Who knows, you might start liking it!
- Take an interest in their interests. Ask them what they want to do. Is baseball their love? Cooking? Skateboarding? Note whatever they’re enthusiastic about and understand what it means to them.
- Establish new family traditions. Set a specific time each week for them, like Friday pizza nights or Sunday brunches.
- Develop your family as a team. Give everyone chores and do them together.
- Make one-on-one time with each child. Did you know kids talk more freely when they’re with just one parent. Remember to listen too!
- Watch age-appropriate television shows they choose and then chat with them about them.
3. Travel expands your mind and makes you smarter.
There’s a reason why some parents are choosing to homeschool their children and educate them through travel — it can form smart, interesting adults. An article in Sports Illustrated Magazine featured a write up on The NFL’s Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, who at 27 years old is the only NFL player to become a medical doctor.
When he was 12, Laurent’s parents took their three children on a year long sailing trip up the Saint Lawrence River from Montreal to the Atlantic Ocean and down the east coast of the United States, riding the gulf stream all the way to the Bahamas. They stopped in communities where their native French wasn’t spoken and fished for their dinner. The family didn’t have any sailing experience. This might be an extreme example, but Laurent sites this family adventure is having a profound impact on his ability to believe in and realize his dreams as a young adult.
Even if you don’t have the guts to take your family on a year long open sea voyage, a one to two-week family vacation can provide many of the same benefits when it comes to mind-opening experiences and broadening your horizons. Visiting places that are home to different cultures, histories, and even languages than you experience at home engages your brain and helps you see things from different perspectives.
Additionally, travel can provide children who struggle with the formal learning environment of school a fun way to absorb knowledge. If you travel over the summer or winter vacation, it can serve as a way to keep kids engaged and in the habit of learning while out of their routine. The Simple Parent blog recommends several ways to make a family vacation educational for children:
- Involve your kids in planning the trip.
- Include fun outdoor activities that can create bonding.
- Study a guidebook with your kids before going.
4. Travel provides an opportunity to get active and spend time outdoors.
As discussed in a previous blog post, we are spending more time than ever indoors looking at screens. Family travel is an excellent opportunity to unplug and reconnect with nature and get some exercise. We may be biased, but Hawaii is at the top of the list when it comes to travel destinations in the United States with incredible natural beauty and adventure tourism opportunities galore. Lonely Planet ranks the Big Island of Hawaii as one of the top family friendly islands, with many attractions and activities for kids to enjoy — particularly Paniolo style (Hawaiian cowboy) horseback trail riding and ziplining through the tropical rainforest. These are two activities, among others, we happen to offer at The Umauma Experience!
We hope this article has inspired you to start planning your next family trip! If the Big Island is on your bucket list, check out The Umauma Experience for one of our many family-friendly tours. From ziplining, ATV adventures, horseback riding and swimming in breathtaking Umauma Falls, learn more about our tour offerings here.