Family Vacations Have Long-Lasting Benefits, According To Study

Shreya Jagdish

Family vacations are often the most anticipated moments of the year as the whole family sets off on a wonderful journey to bond and make memories. 

But sometimes, the sheer cost of a holiday might put parents off—from purchasing accommodation to booking flight tickets—all of this does a burn a hole in the family’s budget.

However, according to researchers despite the cost of a family vacation, they are still worth the experience. 

Vacations make families happier

family vacation

Source: iStock

A study conducted by the University of Toronto found that an experiential gift like a family vacation holds more value than material possession like a new toy. 

Researcher Cindy Chan says an experiential gift is something that “elicits a strong emotional response” when consumed. For instance, the feeling of fear when going into a haunted house or the adrenaline rush of being on a roller coaster. 

When these experiences are shared within a family, they not only help to strengthen bonds with each other but also make the whole family happier long after the trip is over. 

“If you want to give [someone] something that will make them feel closer to you, give an experience,” Chan added. 

UK: Family vacations are ‘favourite childhood memory’ 

A survey conducted by the Family Holiday Association in the UK found that 49% of Britons consider their family vacation as their most favourite childhood memory.

More than half of these respondents also stated that “these holidays have given them happy memories that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

Commenting on the survey’s findings, Chief Executive of the Family Holiday Association John Mcdonald said family vacations function as a “happiness anchor” and when families go through hard times, memories of happy times can be very beneficial. 

“By using these memories as an anchor to take us back to more cheerful moments, we’re often able to approach problems with a fresh sense of perspective,” Mcdonald added.

Family vacations make kids smarter 

family vacation

Source: iStock

Besides the mental benefits, kids also tend to become smarter by going on a family vacation. 

According to Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child mental health expert from the UK, exposing your child to a new location can also give your child a brain booster as it is outside the confines of familiar surroundings. 

In her article for British newspaper, the Telegraph, the location of a family vacation becomes an enriching environment for children which offers them “new experiences, that are strong in combined social, physical, cognitive and sensory interaction.”  

Simple activities like making sandcastles with your children also help the frontal lobe – which controls your child’s emotional expression, problem-solving and language – grow. 

Adventurous activities like going on a hiking adventure or playing on the beach trigger neurochemicals like oxytocin and dopamine that “reduce stress and activate warm generous feelings towards each other.” 

So parents, the next time you are hesitant to go on a trip because of the expenses, know that the benefits outweigh the price!

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