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3 reasons why family vacations are worth the time and money
Family vacations can help bond a family together and show kids the vastness of the world, Erin Stewart writes. - photo by Erin Stewart
Its that time of year again: Tulips are blooming, and kids cant sit still in class. Thats right: Spring!

Its also the time when moms and dads are looking ahead to summer vacation and wondering how theyre going to spend the time off. If youre like me, I would jam the whole summer full of trips if I had the time and money. I love going somewhere new and having dedicated family time away from the to-do list that haunts me at home. I even love the planning for the trip almost as much as the trip itself. Looking forward to the time away makes the excitement last longer than the actual vacation.

My husband, however, is a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to family vacations. Hed be just as happy staying home, maybe getting wild and eating at a buffet and then letting the kids run through the sprinklers all summer. He hates the idea of shelling out money for a trip that is over in a week, leaving you with only a smaller bank account and a bunch of laundry.

So, if youre in my boat and you have a significant other that gives the old family vacation a big, unenthusiastic thumbs-down, here are the reasons why I refuse to give up on at least one family vacation each summer.

1. New experiences bond people. The same old routine is comfortable, yes. But experiencing new, exciting and maybe slightly uncomfortable things together bonds a family. You share a moment and an emotion and are closer because of it.

2. New places breed learning. Our kids read about places in school but there is something so much more tangible and magical about actually seeing these places. Hiking up to Delicate Arch is going to stick in their memory better than seeing a picture. Traveling to Civil War sites makes history come alive, especially if youre like my parents who always made us charge across the battlefields in a mini re-enactment. And nothing can teach kids about the simultaneous vastness and oneness of the earth like standing on the shore of an ocean, feet sinking into the sand and salty air whipping through their hair.

3. New people foster empathy. We want our children to develop empathy for people who have different backgrounds and life experiences, but thats pretty difficult to do unless you actually meet these people and appreciate their way of life. This could be anything from visiting a different country to even just seeing a different type of neighborhood. The more we expose our kids to different types of people, the less different they seem.

So, yes, when we get home from our vacation this summer, we will be a little poorer. We may be nursing sunburns, and we may be shaking sand out of our suitcases for months.

But well also be bringing home memories, renewed relationships, tall tales and views of the world you can only get by venturing out into it.
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