Here’s Why Parents Should Spend Less Money On Toys And Take More Family Vacations

The happy memories last long after the tan lines fade.

Do you have a family vacation on the horizon for spring or summer break? If not, you might want to think about booking one. Trips aren’t just fun, they can be really important for kids’ emotional growth as well.

In fact, recent research shows that family trips have a profound and lasting impact on kids’ overall happiness and well-being.


Research published in the Journal of Commercial Research has found that experiential gifts (gifts of vacations or outings, for example) have more profound impact on your children than material gifts. Why is this?

For one thing, spending time in a new location is very important for a child’s brain growth. Going to new places or doing a new activity helps to develop parts of the brain that are associated with everything from stress management to improved ability to learn.

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In fact, kids who travel on vacation come back to school and score higher grades in reading, math and general knowledge than their peers who don’t travel. (And no, it doesn’t matter where they go. It could be Paris, France or Branson, Missouri.)

Researchers also theorize that vacations are beneficial not only in the moment, but in the long term as well, as they help to build lasting, positive memories. A study performed in Britain found that the majority of people chose childhood family vacations as their favorite memory, leading researchers to dub these experiences “happiness anchors.”

In other words, family vacations last long after the tan lines fade. They become part of the fabric of our identity, and the way we view the world.