Mindful Family Vacations

Staying mindful with your family, you can get more out of family travel than you ever thought possible!

Are you planning a vacation or short get away? It is important to stay mindful to the experience. Encouraging family bonding and creating lasting memories are just two of the many benefits of family travel. Here are a few simple ways to work mindfulness into your next family trip.

Redefine what “travel” means for your family.

While a week at the beach or an adventure in Costa Rica are awesome family travel experiences, even quick weekends away, whether you’re camping, skiing or visiting friends and family, also count as a family trip.

In fact, frequent and shorter breaks recharge the mind and body more effectively throughout the year than a single long break. Why? Research suggests that anticipation correlates with more intense and satisfying emotions than remembering the past. Begin to anticipate even small and local family adventures and you’ll reap the benefits of travel.

Some ways to do this include letting your children help pack, do grocery shopping and plan some of the smaller activities on family trips. Getting children involved is the easiest way to help them begin to anticipate family connectedness and benefit from this anticipation.

Plan to Get Active

While movement and physical activities are just plain good for you from a health perspective, getting active together as a family is also a way to stay mindfully connected. It’s difficult to be distracted by outside thoughts when you’re skiing a black diamond ski run with your kids, taking a family surf lesson or zip lining through the jungle in Central America!

These activities will help you connect via a shared mutual experience while eliminating distractions so you can better connect and enjoy travel time with your family. Staying in the present moment is key to fulling appreciating the experience.

Just Listen.

Family travel offers a unique opportunity to just listen deeply to your family without judgment or distractions. Perhaps these conversations happen while sitting on a flight or while waiting for dinner to be served. Be curious, ask questions, and stay engaged without letting your attention drift. There are plenty of opportunities to just have a conversation while you’re traveling as a family.

Also, creating space and time to tune into yourself can have a huge impact. Use plane rides or “no-service” cell phone areas as an opportunity for stillness and mindfulness practice. Need some guidance? Download these tracks to guide you. Including items such as a book or journal can help encourage moments of self-reflection.

Investing in family travel is so much more than just stamps in a passport. By removing your family from the daily grind and making a commitment to stay present and experience new destinations and activities together, your time spent traveling together as a family will be meaningful and incredibly rewarding.

And remember, you don’t need to get on an airplane in order to have a meaningful and mindful family travel experience. A day spent hiking with a picnic lunch can be equally as memorable and impactful for your family! Spending time together and staying present is what matters most.

How do you incorporate mindfulness into travel? Please leave a comment!

Sarah Fazendin is a family travel designer, specializing in family trips to Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Learn more about planning your perfect family vacation at A Family Travel Blog and contact Sarah at sarah@afamilytravelblog.com.

7 replies
  1. Amy Ponce
    Amy Ponce says:

    When waiting, I try to either follow the children’s lead or think of a creative way to enjoy the time together. For younger children, this often looks like singing a silly song, offering to let the child lead the dancing and mirror his movements, inventing a story where we each tell a part, then pass the microphone to the next person to continue the adventure or playing I spy. My personal challenge in engaging with my children this way is to not default to thinking about what I need to do next or pulling out my phone to check my messages or look something up. When successful, it sure does make long waits seem a bit shorter.

  2. Karah Spahn
    Karah Spahn says:

    This is great! We’re flying to Arizona with the kids in a few weeks and I know it will be fun but stressful. These are great points to keep in mind. I also travel all over with the kids in the summer and sometimes the most simple little breaks make the biggest difference in our whole trip!

  3. Wendy
    Wendy says:

    I totally agree, one of my favorite things about vacation as a family is the lack of the day to day distractions. I don’t have to check the laundry or clean anything but can simply focus on having fun.

  4. Mary Wilde
    Mary Wilde says:

    Thank you for this great reminder! I love your acknowledgment that the ability to be “present” is more vital for a successful family experience than how exotic or intricate the itinerary. Also, a nice reframing of the downtimes that could otherwise be perceived and interruptions/delays/etc.

  5. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    My husband loves to take photos, so when we go someplace new I get to be fully present and experience the place, knowing he will capture moments for us to look back on later. By not having my camera (aka phone) out, I feel like I get to see more and experience more! I love it!


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