The Importance of a (Family) Vacation

August 21st 2015

The use of vacation days and Paid Time Off (PTO) is a hot topic, both within the travel industry and in the national news this summer. Outlets spanning TIME, Fortune, The Wall Street Journal and U.S. News & World Report have published stories about the importance and benefits of taking – and maximizing – PTO. AARP and HomeAway have sponsored surveys about multigenerational travel and kids’ role in vacation planning, and the U.S. Travel Association has launched Project: Time Off, a research initiative aimed to prove the personal, social and economic benefits of employees taking vacation.

Why is vacation so important? In this over-connected era of working from everywhere and documenting our lives on social media, spending a few days off (or at least less “on”) the grid is critical for us to recharge, reconnect and energize ourselves, whether that’s through relaxation or exploration.

While the lasting relaxation benefits of vacation are directly proportional to length of stay, travelers overwhelmingly find that vacation is a time to reconnect… not on Facebook with someone you haven’t seen in 20 years, but in person, with friends, family, or your own individual mindset. Even travelers who spend their entire trip on-the-go return home feeling a refreshed bond with their fellow travelers.

Just days after returning from my own family vacation, I brought up the topic of family travel with my husband. Over the course of our 10 days away with our toddler, all four of our parents, and my sister, my husband had repeatedly said that this vacation was one of the best ever taken. What made this – our annual trip to Maine – the best trip ever?

Sure, our vacation experience was different from what we were used to. We may not have spent our time sleeping in, rock climbing, and enjoying cocktails and craft beer, but our reflection aligned perfectly with what the experts are saying about vacations in general, and family travel specifically: strengthened the bond between us and our son (especially great for two working parents); a great excuse to be active and explore new places; quality time together between and among family members; and, less time digitally connected.

In the tourism business, we regularly discuss that happy kids make happy parents, especially on vacation. What is interesting is that kids are picking up on this as well: according to HomeAway, 54% of kids report that their parents seem happier on family vacation than they do at home.

Our friends at KaBOOM! have it right: play is important! And, not just for the young, but also for the young at heart. At Mfa, we’re committed to living our clients’ lifestyles, and what better way to do this than embracing the grownup (and kid-friendly!) version of #childhoodunplugged, and hitting the road with friends or family.

Because, really, who doesn’t love flying over a new city, checking out a local restaurant, exploring a new neighborhood, cycling through a gorgeous landscape, relaxing on a beautiful coast, or building a sandcastle?

By Samantha Lacher

About Samantha:
Samantha is a Director at Mfa, leveraging her combined journalism and marketing experience to integrate messaging across multiple platforms. With a longtime passion for tourism and hospitality, and a newfound interest in baby/toddler products, she focuses on developing client and media outreach strategies and guiding the team in conceptualizing story ideas and creating meaningful opportunities for various accounts. Sam has a serious case of wanderlust, and can often be found at a neighborhood playground with her toddler.

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