Experts Say Family Vacations Have Long-Lasting Impacts On Kids' Happiness

If you've been conflicted about booking that family getaway, I have good news. According to a number of studies and experts, going on family vacations is good for your child's development and will have life-long positive impacts. Take a look at what their research found and then book those tickets to Disney World!

When it comes to giving their children gifts, many parents are choosing to gift experiences rather than items.

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Instead of toys or games, a lot of parents are now choosing to put that money towards things like a family vacation or annual passes to a local attraction, and experts say that this can have a tremendous benefit for children.

One study from the University of Toronto found that "experiential" gifts like trips create a strong emotional connection.

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"An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it — like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa — and is more intensely emotional than a material possession," said Cindy Chan, one of the authors of the study.

Vacations and trips are also valuable learning experiences because they expose your child to new sensory environments.

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"Enriched environments turn on the genetic expression of key 'brain fertilizers' in the frontal lobes, enhancing executive functions such as stress regulation, attention, concentration, good planning and ability to learn, also improving physical and mental health," according to Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child psychotherapist.

If you're worried about a tight budget, there are lots of free and cheap options that offer the same benefits.

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Going on a walk to a new part of town, regularly playing outside, or visiting your local library all have the same benefits as an expensive vacation.

The most important thing is that you are actively spending time with your child and engage with them in a new environment.