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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

LuxuryTravelDocs' Five-Part Series about the Benefits of Traveling with your Children! Part I: Happiness

Sometimes the prospect of traveling with our children can be worrisome. 

All of us have heard the phrase, "You don't take vacations with kids, you take trips." When traveling with children, rest and relaxation may be in short supply during your travels and even before you leave, an immense amount of time may be devoted to packing and planning. All of your family's routines will change including your children's and yours. These concerns are valid, but maybe traveling with our children can be more important for you children than you realize.  LTD presents a 5-part series on the benefits of traveling with our children and some of the science behind why you should make traveling with your children a priority.  Here are the five things that your child may gain from family travel that we will highlight for you:

  1. happiness
  2. brain development
  3. education
  4. health
  5. time

First, LTD wants to address something that we have asked you many times in this blog:  "Would you rather have stuff or experiences?"  Some may answer, material goods because those last long after the experience.  But is that really true?  In fact, the excitement over material goods fades over time and become part of our new normal.  However, experiences become part of our identity and that is the case for children as well.  Taking a vacation or simply having an meaningful experience with our children can lead to life shaping happiness and improve our social interactions.

Part I:  Happiness

According to experts, family vacations are the gift that keeps on giving.

Thinking about buying your child a new toy for his/her birthday?  You have saved your money to buy this, but then you think twice...suddenly you realize we are inundated with advertising about what we need. Maybe you should change your thinking!  There is science to show that your children will likely realize increased happiness from experiences.

Credit Pexels

Play a game indoor or outdoor while you are away!

Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University has made four studies on the subject  of happiness over decades and came to the conclusion that happiness is derived from experiences, not things.

“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” says Gilovich. “You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”

A 2012 study by Gilovich described how people tend to have more regrets over inaction for experiences than for possessions.  He says, "Our memories are what make us who we are. If we make purchases that contribute to our sense of self—that is, if we pursue experiences over material goods—there are likely to be more memories, more of us, to cherish and embrace."

One study conducted by Gilovich even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up. Gilovich attributes this to the fact that something that might have been stressful or scary in the past can become a funny story to tell at a party or be looked back on as an invaluable character-building experience.

Vacations with your children are a good choice when you think of the benefits, however, frequent vacations may not be possible with every family because of work, finances, etc.  But “On the other hand, family holidays are definitely valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterwards in their memory. So if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense,” says British Psychologist Oliver James.  He believes that children remember and value much of what occurs in their first 5 years of life, and unfortunately many parents do not wish to travel with children this young because quite honestly, it is hard!

Next time you contemplate buying your child a new toy rather than taking them on a travel or staycation adventure, or decide that taking a family vacation with your young ones will be too much work, think of the science behind brain development and how a vacation can make them happier, form lifetime memories and smarter.

Next time:  Family vacations can make our children smarter too!  Not just because of the education that can be provided on an adventure, but because vacations can enhance brain development!

Remember, if you have questions related to your health, always consult your doctor or medical professional.  The information presented here is informative only and is not medical advice. 

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