• Ashley Thorn

To Go or Not To Go: 4 Benefits to Family Vacations & How to Make Them a Hit

Updated: Jun 9, 2018



School is out, summer is here, and you may be considering taking a family vacation. But, is it worth the time, money, and energy it takes to make a family vacation happen? Researchers say...yes! Going on a family vacation adventure is not only a fun thing to do, but it actually has a lot of mental health and wellness advantages, as well as benefits for your family relationships. Read on to discover 4 reasons you should go ahead and book that trip! And don't forget to read to the end for a Happy Family Packing List that will help ensure your next family vacation is a success!


San Diego, CA

Stress Down = Energy Up!

Getting away from the routine and mundane pattern of the daily grind can be a huge stress reliever, not only for adults, but for children as well. According to the American Psychological Association, taking time to get away and experience something new can decrease stress and increase energy. Much of the irritability and anger people experience comes from constantly trying to manage high amounts of stress. So, taking the opportunity to relax and allow your family to become immersed in enjoyment can bring down everyone's anxiety and tension levels, leaving them ready to come home rejuvenated and more productive.



Real Connection-Not Just Virtual

We live in an incredibly busy, fast-paced society. Not to mention the fact that we spend more time connected to social media than we do to each other. Because of this, many families are getting into a pattern of survival mode, just trying to get through the day's tasks and activities, and missing out on the chance to really be close to each other. Getting away on a family vacation gets everyone together for an extended period of time, and creates some distance from many of the daily distractions and responsibilities that sometimes get in the way of family connectedness. Everyone can be more focused on each other, and get back in tune with who each other really is, what's going on in everyone's lives, and what makes your family so special.


Disney World, FL

The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together

Taking time away together to have a shared, group experience can promote healthy family attachments. Xonran Lehto, the leader of an international research group out of Purdue University, claims that family vacations contribute to bonding, communication, and solidarity in families. These experiences may also create positive family memories that family members can look back on, even during difficult times, and generate feelings of fondness and optimism about the family.



Trips Just Make You Happy

When a family vacation goes well, it can improve the overall mental and emotional state of each family member. Vacations generally lessen the pressures of life, and bring more evenness to the work-life balance. When this happens, family members are likely to feel more satisfied with life in general, and have an increased desire to remain connected to family members.


St. George, UT

So there you have it! Family vacations promote increased wellness and higher connectivity for all family members. Of course, this is when a trip is done right. Let's face it, many family vacations have also been known to end in disaster. (Do the names "Wally World" or "Griswold" ring any bells?!) To make sure this doesn't happen to you, I have included a Happy Family Packing List to help you better prepare, and have the family vacation of a lifetime!

HAPPY FAMILY PACKING LIST


CREATE A BUDGET

Decide how much you'd like to spend, and if your budget is realistic for the type of vacation you want. If you're looking to save a little money, consider booking through discount vacation sites, planning to stock up on food and snacks from the grocery store, or splitting the cost of a rental home with friends or extended family.

INCLUDE EVERYONE

Encourage family members to make a list of where they'd like to go, or what types of things they'd want to be able to do on a vacation. Work together to find a place that will be the right fit for your family.


DO YOUR HOMEWORK

Research costs, activities, hotels, transportation, etc. The more you know about where you're going, the better prepared you'll be.


SCHEDULE DOWNTIME

Make sure you have the time and space for breaks, naps, and a little R&R during your trip. The vacation will be miserable if it's so packed with activities that everyone gets burnt out quickly, and is tired and cranky the rest of the trip.


BE FLEXIBLE

Schedules are good, but let it be okay to tweak plans when necessary. The less pressure you put on making sure everything goes according to plan, the more opportunity there will be for everyone to enjoy themselves and get their needs met.


DON'T WASTE TIME

Don't lose precious vacation time by booking a hotel room that's so small it takes hours for everyone to get ready, getting lost on the way to activities because you didn't look up directions, or waiting in long lines because you didn't know to buy tickets in advance or make reservations. Obviously, there are some things you can't control. But plan ahead as best you can to make the most of your vacation days.



*Visit "Helpful Tools" on the website & click the Family Vacation Benefits image for a free printable of this list.





© 2018 4pointsfamilytherapy

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