A family vacation may be something that people think of as a luxury rather than a necessity. Still, science has taught us that taking regular breaks from work throughout the year can improve your mental and physical health. The brightest minds in the world count family time among their chief treasures.
Families should take vacations at least once or twice a year for at least one to two weeks. While it’s common for families to visit relatives or a beach, there are also less expensive vacation options available. All families can get a well-earned rest no matter their budget.
Taking a family vacation takes a little planning ahead of time. Still, everyone can benefit from making time to rest and travel. Scheduling regular vacations is a vital part of living a life full of purpose and satisfaction. Not to mention the amazing experiences learning about other cultures, languages and food. Read on to learn more about family vacations and how often you should be taking one.
How Many Family Vacations Do You Need a Year?
As many as you want! Ok, maybe that’s the little, adventurous kid in me.
Don’t think you need a vacation? Don’t take my word for it. Most experts recommend that families take holidays at least once a year. If you like to get all nerdy like me, there are studies to back this up. Such as the nine-year scientific study published by Psychosomatic medicine which suggests not taking at least one vacation a year can increase your risk of early mortality due to cardiovascular disease and stress.
While at least one vacation a year is the minimum recommended for families, most families would benefit from at least two vacations a year. Heck, I like to take as many as I can. Now only if my boss could get on board with that.
This gives the family multiple outings to look forward to for increased morale. It also allows families to take advantage of vacations during different seasons of the year. A trip to Leavenworth, WA at Christmas time is a vacation with a very different vibe than a hiking trip to Bryce Canyon National Park in the summer. Or even a Jamaican warm winter escape.
Two vacations a year also allow families to schedule one “fun” vacation and another trip for reconnecting with distant relatives if families are spread out. For those families who only get to see each other once or twice a year, these kinds of trips are essential for maintaining ties. Even better, have your family members meet for a vacation in Hawaii. Combine the fun and reconnection with relatives.
Taking Regular Family Vacations is Important
Even though many people might be inclined to treat vacation time as an optional activity, families need to have leisure time around each other. All members of the family receive the following benefits from a family vacation :
- Reduced physical, mental, and emotional stress
- Improved outlook
- Lowered risk of heart disease
- Greater drive to achieve goals
- Promote family bonding and chance to experience adventures together
- Helps kids grow more self-confident and real world experience
- Expands social awareness – helps teach empathy, improves social /interpersonal skills important for our global community
- Makes your kids smarter – research shows improves math, reading and general knowledge
Taking a family vacation has real effects on your physical and mental health. It also affects your general well-being positively. Family vacations are a great way to strengthen bonds in families that may not regularly spend much time together.
Studies have shown the positive effects of taking family vacations. There have even been social upheavals by workers in industries such as video game production, when being denied vacation time or forced to work overtime. Working too long and hard without a family vacation can result in the following:
- Physical and mental burnout
- Poor work performance
- Loss of motivation
- An increasingly cynical and negative outlook
- Reduced life satisfaction and sense of well-being
It is easy to see how this could impact all family members. And it’s not just adults that need a break from responsibilities and work. Kids need downtime to, to explore, and well, just be kids.
In response to seeing the negative results of overworked workers, many companies have begun to insist that workers take their allotted vacation time whether they want to or not. This is to protect the company from being accused of overworking their employees, and help improve the health and morale of the workforce.
You may also like 50+ fun gift ideas for travel lovers for all ages!
What Determines How Often You Can Vacation
Many families take one or two family vacations a year, but many factors determine how often a family can vacation.
Money is a major issue, with wealthy families being able to afford much more vacation time than middle to lower income families. However, many budget-friendly activities mean no matter how much money a family has, they can still take advantage of their time off.
Perhaps it’s a day at a local beach, or a camping trip to a National Park down the road. A change of scenery and a chance to do something out of the ordinary is a reward in itself. Not to mention fun. At the end of the day, family trips are about down-time and time spent with family, rather than sightseeing and souvenirs.
Another issue is work schedules. Now only if bosses gave us infinite paid leave for vacations. A person’s gotta dream right?!?
How vacation time is allotted varies wildly from industry to industry. Some sectors are more strict about taking time off than others. For those employees who don’t benefit from paid vacation time, saving up for a vacation doesn’t just entail paying for the trip, it also entails paying for a week or two of missed work. You might need to find some ways to save up a little extra money for your next family vacation.
Families with children are also influenced by the school calendar. Many vacation spots increase their prices during prime vacation times as so many students and their families travel. While some families can pull their children out during the school year for shorter vacations, it can sometimes be challenging to pull off for extended travel periods.
How Long Should Your Family Vacation Be?
Families may go on vacations that span from a three-day weekend to a three-month expedition. A Finnish university determined through a scientific study that the optimal vacation time for increasing mental, physical, and emotional health is at least eight days. Most family vacations average from around seven to eleven days.
After eight days, the satisfaction that many people feel with their vacation tends to wane off. At this point, families may begin to become bored with their destination, begin to feel tired from travel, or may feel the first pangs of homesickness.
An eight-day vacation is the ideal amount of time that allows families to rest for a full week with a few days left over on either end to take care of tasks associated with going on vacation, such as travel days or days full of packing. While technically part of the holiday, these days aren’t considered as restful as the rest of the trip.
Why It’s Good to Take Multiple Vacations
Taking multiple vacations a year is a good idea for several reasons, not just because every holiday helps and the more, the merrier. Here are a few concrete reasons why you should consider breaking your family vacation time up into multiple smaller trips:
- You will get more out of your vacation time. As mentioned in the previous section, vacations past a certain length don’t necessarily increase rest or satisfaction. It’s better to break up three weeks of vacation time into several shorter trips than to take one long three-week vacation. You’ll receive the benefits spaced throughout the year.
- You’ll get some variety in your vacations. Vacationing during different times of the year opens up new potential trips or travel opportunities. You can also take advantage of vacationing during the off-season for increased discounts and savings if you’re on a budget.
- It’s easier to arrange time away from school and work. Many managers and school systems might balk at a three-week vacation if it involves three weeks of missed school too. Spacing out that same amount of missed time throughout the year when you know there are no major assignments due or work responsibilities, can make it much easier to get away, without stress.
Even if a family only goes on a few camping trips throughout the year, rather than making major travel plans, they can still gain all the same physical, mental, and emotional benefits as a more expensive family vacation.
Take Family Vacations as Often as You Can
Family vacations take effort to plan and pull off successfully, but they’re well worth the time that goes into setting them up. Vacations are an excellent opportunity for families to grow closer together while safeguarding their health and happiness at the same time.
How often should you travel with Family?
How often do you like to vacation in a year? What’s your ideal length of vacation? Let us know in the comments below, or connect with us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!
Related travel tips and family friendly destinations: