Tag Archive for: research

Proof that family travel trumps video games

They'll remember this hike forever.

They’ll remember this hike forever.

Family travel zealots (including yours truly) have argued for years that experiences lead to greater happiness than material things. Now, apparently, there is scientific data to prove this point.

A recent article on the Fast Company website details much of the latest research on the subject. You can read the piece for the nitty-gritty details. The gist: While the happiness from material purchases diminishes over time, experiences become an ingrained part of our identities.

The story notes that, “rather than buying the latest iPhone or a new BMW…you’ll get more happiness spending money on experiences like going to art exhibits, doing outdoor activities, learning a new skill, or traveling.” Another particularly relevant section spotlights how experiences are paramount even when we think they weren’t that fun—a situation to which traveling parents can relate after their kids have been particularly troublesome on a family trip. Here’s a snip:

“One study…even showed that if people have an experience they say negatively impacted their happiness, once they have the chance to talk about it, their assessment of that experience goes up. [This is attributed] to the fact that something that might have been stressful or scary in the past can become a funny story to tell at a party or be looked back on as an invaluable character-building experience.”

Personally, I am delighted to read this news. I am a HUGE fan of experiences over material items—not only in my personal life but as a parent and as a traveler as well. On a day-to-day basis, Powerwoman and I reward the girls with daytrips instead of goodies or toys. In the longer term, we value travel and education through travel above all else.

(By the way, I just completed my taxes and Schedule C expenditures for 2014 demonstrate this point clearly.)

Read the story, think about the message, and discuss it with friends. There’s a direct relationship between happiness and new experiences, people. Don’t you want your kids to be happy?

Understanding the science of car naps

Snoozing. On the Hana Highway.

Snoozing. On the Hana Highway.

The world is abuzz about billionaires today, as Forbes magazine has released its annual list of the richest humans on Earth.

If I were a billionaire, I’d spend my cash on running shoes, buy-ins for poker tournaments, and lots and lots of international family travel. I’d also set aside a fat wad of it to fund research into the study of car naps.

Seriously. I mean, what parent wouldn’t?

How is it that these kids of ours manage to stay awake for 85-90 percent of every road trip, only to fall asleep for the home stretch? Why is it that kids who never in a million, billion, trillion years would nap at home, actually fall asleep in a moving car? Finally, why do most kids sleep through any number of noises in the moving vehicle, then awaken immediately when you try to transfer them to their beds at home?

I’ve got questions, people. And as someone who spends a ton of time road-tripping with girls who generally don’t nap, I demand answers.

My kids would be great case studies. This past weekend, for instance, after a fun-filled day in the city, the two of them resisted sleep for 65 of the 75 miles home, then—inexplicably, really—dozed off less than 10 minutes from our house.

Last month we endured a similar scene—I was so happy to see them sleeping in the middle of the day that I sat in the parked car in my own driveway for nearly 30 minutes, just to score them decent rest.

How long must the erratic realities of car napping plague us moms and dads? Is there any hope for us at all, short of blasting music and constantly turning around to tickle our kids in the knees and keep them awake? If a billionaire can’t fund research into this area, perhaps we can get some cash on Indiegogo or Kickstarter. Surely I’m not the only parent determined to find out.