In our last blog article we introduced the theme of active vacations for families. While traveling with kids may not be for everyone (In some cases, either the parents or the kids just don’t have the right temperament for it), as we pointed out in last week’s blog one third of leisure travel involves families. That's a lot of families taking the time and making a serious financial investment. What do they get in return for their effort, time, and money?
In this article we’ll go over three of the best reasons for a family to take an active travel vacation that are based on research and our own experiences.
Keith Bellows, the late editor of National Geographic Traveler, used to say that “Learning happens between the poles, not just between the ears.” Bellows was a legendary figure in travel journalism and I would take his advice on travel any day. He authored several books during his lifetime. One that stands out for the purpose of this article is 100 Places That Can Change Your Child’s Life.
The overwhelming evidence supports the notion that travel can provide incredible opportunities for learning. The world really does become your classroom. Kids ask curious questions, pick up on unusual details and experience a place and its culture in altogether different ways.
And, travel is the best way to understand other cultures, customs, and rituals. Kids are amazing ice-breakers because they are free from adults’ inhibitions and preconceived notions. Sometimes all that stands between you and a lifelong friend is a good excuse to talk, and there is nothing wrong with letting the kids “do the hard work.”
Getting out of your comfort zone, both as individuals and as a family, by using your own will and power is something that builds character and lays out important milestones in children’s growth. Things such as overcoming a hill on a bike, rafting down a rough river working as a team, or hiking to that viewpoint for that perfect picture (or not so perfect but happy picture) take energy and drive. A family team effort to overcome an obstacle or to conquer a challenge is nothing short of an exhilarating Olympian-like achievement. Exercising with the whole family in multi-sport activities is something that is both a challenge and a great chance for self-discovery and to understand others better. Science has proven that exercising amplifies all of your senses and lowers inhibitory barriers.
Bring Families Closer Together
An active family vacation creates time and space for interpersonal bonding. The entire family surrenders to the freedom of the road. The experience creates more understanding and self-supporting family intimacy. I could go on and on, but think of it this way. You are building lifelong memories and you are programming a new code of intimacy based on those memories. Travel stories, even the embarrassing and scary ones, will become tales about respect, growth, and family pride. Stories that never fade will amuse everyone (family and strangers alike) for many years down the road. A soft adventure trip with your family can set a solid foundation for better communication and understanding.
In active travel there is a no-tech approach that is very refreshing, especially in today’s world of ever-increasing technological complexity. Learning how to fix a flat with a tour leader or star glazing on the beach are good examples of things (simple ones) that can replace the need for technological stimuli.
The Family Travel Association defines family travel as guardian traveling with a child. Aside from the formal definition, there is enough evidence to say that an active family vacations builds lifelong memories, and lays the foundation for better, closer family relationships.
The anxiety of being the decision maker/s can ruin the parent’s vacation. Going with a travel company will give parents stress-free planning and peace of mind. The destination and activities are known and tested; the tour leaders will take care of the boys and girls allowing time for the adults to step back every now and then.
Italy boasts an incredible historical heritage, great food, and a friendly attitude. Tourissimo can design an active travel vacation for your summer gateway that includes incredible Roman ruins and volcanoes, warm Mediterranean water, food that the whole family will enjoy and much more.