Summer’s here already. How did it get here so fast? It seems like only yesterday the new year had only just begun and you promised yourself that in 2019 you’d make more of an effort with your work / life balance and try to prioritize the things that matter most in life like friends, family and making happy memories instead of living to work. But, as it has a habit of doing, life got in the way. All those overtime shifts that paid too well to pass them up. All those commitments and obligations. All those extra hours your boss just expected you to put in without complaint… It all takes a toll throughout the year.
You’re getting tired, you’re losing sleep and you’re veering dangerously close to a state of chronic stress and all the potential health risks that come with it. While staying active in your down time, eating well, staying hydrated and practicing mindfulness meditation can all help you get a handle on stress, the fact remains that you need a break.
You need a vacation.
But like the conscientious coupon clipper that you are, you’re worried about whether or not the household can afford the expense. Even with 7 months of careful budgeting and belt tightening, cutting back on unnecessary expenses and relentless bargain hunting, you’re worried that taking a much needed vacation as a family could decimate your carefully managed finances. When we keep a tight hand on the purse strings, it can be difficult to view any non-essential expenses as a frivolity that the family could do without. But if you won’t do it for yourself… Please consider getting a break away for your kids’ benefit. Children of all ages benefit from travel in a wide variety of ways. And besides…
A vacation doesn’t have to cost a fortune
A vacation, even an international vacation, can be surprisingly affordable when you know where to look. For example, did you know that you can pick up Disneyland tickets in Costco for significantly less than you can expect to pay at the gate? Check out this link to buy now and save on your tickets. No matter where you want to go, it’s easy to find great deals, especially if you can afford to be flexible in where you’d like to travel to and which dates you can fly out.
You’d be amazed how much the whole family can save when you buy last minute flights and package deals. What’s more, there are many, many different ways in which you can save money when you arrive at your destination. From finding free things to do at your chosen destination (there’s always something) from knowing the most affordable places to eat and putting in the research to get the best currency exchange rates, you can get outstanding value for money even when travelling overseas.
Plus, the adventure of a family vacation is not only relaxing for the family, it represents the best possible education for your kids. Here are just a few of the ways in which they benefit…
Vacations make happy memories that will last a lifetime
It’s only a matter of time until your kids are all grown up and have flown the nest. Like it or not, with the passing of every year we run out of opportunities to create the kinds of happy memories that last both us and our kids the rest of our lives.
As admirable as it is to want to cut household costs, there are some things that are worth paying for, and a handful of lasting happy memories is most certainly one of those things. When kids travel to new locations, they are surrounded by new sights, sounds, tastes and scents. This causes parts of their brains which are left dormant as they coast through day to day life to wake up. Their surroundings demand their attention rather than allowing it to be subsumed by their phones. And this kind of cognitive engagement stimulates the brain to make new memories.
When we take steps to ensure that the memories made are happy ones, this becomes a gift that our kids will never get bored of. They’ll take their happy memories with them long into their adulthood.
Travel empowers kids with social skills and confidence
In an age where being social is increasingly something that kids do via digital apps, social skills are arguably more important for today’s young people than for any other generation prior. Travel coaxes kids out of their social bubbles and gets them used to interacting with unfamiliar people. It not only encourages them to make new friends in your holiday destination, it also encourages them to share more meaningful experiences with their parents and siblings. This can not only bring you closer together as a family, it can also renew your kids’ confidence in themselves and imbue them with cool stories to tell their friends when they get back home.
The very act of telling their friends and peers about their adventures on their travels can also give them confidence (as well as giving them a bunch of “cool points” within their peer group).
They gain listening and language skills
Interacting with people who speak a different language, or even with people who speak the same language in a different accent, can be a great way to boost kids’ listening and language skills. It also encourages them to put more effort into their communications. Listening is an extremely important skill for young minds and can help them in their academic, professional and social skills for the rest of their lives. Listening requires great awareness not just of what is said but the nuances of voice, gesture, facial expression and body language that make up effective communication.
Gently encourage your kids to interact with locals when travelling overseas and they will gain the kind of opportunity to improve their listening, language and communication skills that they simply cannot get at home or in the classroom.
Kids need stress relief, too!
It’s easy to look through the haze of memory and see our own childhoods in rose-tinted hues. But the truth is that being a kid is pretty stressful. From the difficulties that come with piloting a body that’s always changing to the pressure of exams and the complexities of social relationships… Oh, and let’s not forget that they’re experiencing all of this for the first time and don’t have the luxury of perspective like we do.
As much as we like to tell ourselves that our school years were the best of our lives, it’s easy to forget that they weren’t without their own stresses. Kids need an opportunity to relieve their stress as much as their parents do.
Travel tends to help kids do better in school
There’s even evidence that travelling can help to make kids smarter. Navigating unfamiliar terrain encourages kids to deploy cognitive skills even if they’re not aware that they’re doing it. It encourages them to apply creative problem solving, emotional intelligence and, as mentioned above, listening and communications skills. This can bode very well for their studies when they return home.
They become less picky eaters
Finally, if your kids are insufferably picky at the dinner table, travel can even help you here, too. While you can see the golden arches wherever you go in the world, eating as the locals do can encourage your skills to broaden their culinary horizons. It gets them used to new tastes and scents without the luxury of falling back on the familiar. As such, your kids return home less picky eaters and more open to trying new foods which in turn can encourage them to make better, healthier food choices for the rest of their lives!