When asked why family vacations are important, many are quick to bring up the topic of quality time. However, the benefits of family holidays go beyond that. Of course, having to spend more quality time with the fam will and should always top the list but there are nine other reasons why you should start planning one right this second.

A family holiday is a great idea and holds many promises for everyone in the family. Moreover, with parents having to juggle between the day-to-day bustle of work and family continuously, not enough quality time is spent with the children.

Family vacations are well-deserved breaks from stress for your spouse and the children. So, what do you stand to gain from your family holiday?

Why Family Vacations Are Important

1. More quality time

The whole essence of a family vacation is not to spend more time with the family, and it is instead to spend better/quality time with them. Parents get to know more about their children, and children get to see just how incredible their parents can be as well.

And when people share quality time, it leads to number two, which is right below.

Pro Tip: Don’t get carried away with trying to have “some” quality time by doing a bunch of acclaimed quality time activities that you actually miss out on the real deal.

2. It helps to build stronger family bonds

More profound and stronger bonds are formed. Everyone yearns to have relationships whose bonds are deeper and strong enough to resist the toughest of all times. Children and parents want this as well, and with a family holiday set in motion, all parties are one step closer to their most genuine desire.

Pro Tip: Stay off of distractions. Do not bring your work to the vacation. In the case of an unexpected work emergency, explain to the children and let them know what’s up. Don’t try to sneak off and find an isolated place to work. Also, don’t forget to do all you can to catch up on time lost to work.

3. It’s a stress-free time

No one has to go to work or school. There are also no dishes to be done or laundry to worry about. No messy room to tidy up. Sometimes, no tantrums, meltdowns, yelling, and fighting – trust me, there’s hardly any vacation without one of these four elements.

Yes, all of that are reasons why family vacations and important. Do focus on relaxing and having a swell time, regardless of the destination.

4. Holidays make children brighter and happier

Nothing beats experiential learning, especially when it comes to children. Children are generally curious, and the proper holiday setup exposes them to new knowledge and experiences.

According to a 2018 study by Park et al., children who had more family trips performed better academically than those who did not. This study supported the conclusions of other previous studies that had been done on the topic as well.

5. It builds social skills

Vacations almost always involve interactions with self, others, and the environment. You not only gain more insight about yourself; you also get to learn about the other members of your family.

This form of exposure that travelling provides helps your little ones (and of course, you too) improve their social skills. It’s also an opportunity for the children to learn about different cultures and people.

6. No one judges you for doing children’s stuff – you get to act like a child again

This is undoubtedly one of the biggest flexes of going on a vacation with your children. On an average day, you might get a few stares when you engage in certain childlike activities like riding on a children’s train or climbing trees in an adventure park.

But with your children around you, it’s a different narrative – you’re that cool parent who’s trying to bond with their child (while doing something you love).

7. It’s an opportunity to have random/essential conversations with your children

Think about it. You never know what you and the children might come across on vacation, making it the right time to discuss certain topics with your children.

But be careful not to make it a lecturing session. No one likes being lectured on a holiday.

8. Creates an avenue to try new things

One of the benefits of a family holiday is that it creates the right avenue to try new things, which you ordinarily will not do regularly.

Don’t be scared to try out a new dish. Moreover, if the food is terrible, you all can constantly moan about that one time you ordered the worst food on planet Earth. Do not be scared to experience new things and people. Make the most out of your trip.

9. It’s time for media detox

Tired of all the screen time your family is getting? Or perhaps the media is becoming too negative? Then it’s time for a detox. While on the trip, slowly introduce healthier media and screen time practices.

Moreover, research has shown that exposing children to an adventurous holiday trip like an outdoor natural camp without screens improves their face-to-face communication skills.

10. It’s a lifetime of shared memories

Dad, son, and mum at the beach
Photo by Larry Crayton on Unsplash

You’ll be surprised to know just how helpful these (happy) shared memories are. These memories are held dearly by all who experienced them. According to a survey conducted by Family Holiday Association, 49% of the survey participants confirmed that their happiest memories were from a family vacation.

The memories and effects of a family vacation stay years after the holiday has come to an end. This positive feeling can also be the start of a new family tradition. And it also explains why parents exposed to family holidays introduce the idea to their own families.  

Common mistakes to avoid while on a family holiday

While holidays can strengthen the bond within a family, they can also threaten the bond within a family. Here are a few of them:

  1. Though only about 59% of families plan the basics of their trip, take your time and plan the holiday. If you’re covering just the basics, make sure you have it covered. The fastest way to ruin your family vacation is not to have a well-laid-out plan. Have everything together, don’t leave your home for your vacation destination without proper planning. Also, don’t leave your children out of the plans.
  2. Do you have a toddler? Then make an adequate plan for a travel potty. Family vacation statistics show that 62% of parents travel with children under five, so make plans.
  3. Do not enforce a no-phone policy unless you’re trying too hard to ensure that your teenage child(ren) has a permanent scowl. To prevent the older children from getting carried away with their phones, talk about it before you travel – set down relevant rules and regulations.
  4. Try not to leave the first aid kit behind. If your kit is too huge for your traveling bag, take just the essentials like band-aids and a thermometer. Take caution lest someone comes down with a cold.
  5. Family vacations are expensive, and an excellent way to deal with the cost is to pick an affordable place and set up a target savings account. Don’t spend above your budget.
  6. What can you do when your family vacation goes haywire? Not every family is going to get it right and smooth on vacation. Some of us end up fighting all through, and then we call it quits and decide to go back home. Don’t do that. Do not leave the vacation ground without resolving all fights – make up there. Tip: Have everyone sign a contract where they all agree to make things work.
  7. Go along with board games or any fun multiplayer games. If going with games is too much “load” for you, try other games like charades!
  8. Mix things up. While having a fixed vacation spot like a pretty little house on an island sounds really fun, it can also get pretty tiring if your children are the type who hunger for new experiences. So, mix things up and throw in a bit of adventurous activities like hiking, camping, road trips, or participating in a carnival. If the last vacation was on the beach, then the next should be a camping site.
  9. Do not hype the vacation destination. Be realistic about how it’s going to be like over there. It’s such a bummer when children find out that the heaven you talked about is just a garden. Or worse.
A family camping in the woods
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash

Final words

If you’re still not sure why family vacations are important, then take a quick look at all 10 reasons above. However, it’s okay to have doubts and if you do, it’s time you go for a family trip. Let a trial convince you.

Also, while going for a fancy laidback vacation isn’t so bad, it somewhat lacks physical activities – something you need when traveling with children.

Hence, going rough when it comes to a family holiday is a welcome idea. It builds resilience, team spirit, confidence, and it helps to strengthen the bonds that bind your family.

Naga Odigie

When I'm not obsessing about the wonders and dynamics of the human brain, I'm a secondary caregiver and a biomedical scientist roaming the city of Benin.