When I was first asked that question, my initial response was “Why Not?” But since that wouldn’t make for a very interesting blog, I gave the question some additional thought. That is when I began to notice that all of my fondest memories from my childhood involved travel.
You see my Mom was a traveler. She loved to go. So she made sure that every summer, if not more often, we went. Of course, Florida was a favorite destination, but we also enjoyed time in Wisconsin Dells, Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago (we lived in Detroit then) New Orleans, California and Washington DC. My childhood was filled with family trips and family meant sisters, brothers, Aunts, Uncles, cousins, neighbors and anyone else who said “Can I go?”
As a child, I loved this family tradition and couldn’t wait to see what kind of trouble I could get into. Here are just a few of my memories:
- Almost giving my Aunt a heart-attack when I brought a frog from the pool into the room.
- Learning that I really couldn’t swim by jumping into the deep end of the pool and being rescued by the life guard (My Aunt immediately enrolled me into swimming lessons when we got home so that we wouldn’t have this problem again with her “little fish”).
- Swiping the tips left on the table for the waitress every time we left a restaurant (What? I didn’t know why change was constantly being left behind!).
Ahhhhh yes. Those were the good old days!
Recently I read a study conducted on behalf of the U.S. Travel Association and I realized that my Mom was on to something. According to the study:
- Adults remember vacations from a young age: the majority of adults surveyed (62%) say their earliest memories were of family vacations taken when they were between ages 5 and 10.
- Half (49%) of adults describe their memories of childhood family vacations as “very vivid.” These memories are significantly stronger than their memories of school events or birthday celebrations (34% and 31%).
- Travel experiences are not only remembered, but also passed on to younger generations: 77% of youth respondents report that their parents have told them stories about their childhood family vacations.
Who knew? Pssst – my Mom did!
Now that I have children of my own, I try to follow in my Mom’s footsteps by making sure we hit the road (well, the sky) at least once a year. And just like then, anyone is welcome to join us. Last year, I took my daughter, her friend, and my niece to New York for a long weekend. We also crashed my Uncle's family trip to Atlanta. This year, my daughter and 2 friends are heading to Ft. Lauderdale with me. Three years ago, we embarked on a true family vacation with 2 Aunts, my Sister and her crew (2 daughters and 1 grand son), and a cousin. My kids still talk about that trip!
And there’s more! Not only does travel bring your family closer; it also strengthens the U.S. economy and puts us a step closer on the road to recovery. Check out these facts:
- Since 2010, the travel industry created jobs at a pace nearly 16 percent faster than the rest of the economy, adding 296,000 American jobs (as of October 2012).
- The total number of American jobs supported by travel is 14.4 million.
- 4 million travel industry workers earn a middle‐class income or higher.
- Traveler spending directly generates $124 billion in tax revenue for local, state and federal governments.
- Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.2 billion a day, $92.8 million an hour, $1.5 million a minute and $25,778 a second.
So get out there and do your part. Grab the spouse, the kids, Grandkids, Grand Parents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Neighbors and friends. Hit the open road. Sing some goofy songs. Take over half a plane and watch an in-flight movie. Get lost in a new place. Disconnect. Make some new friends (or re-connect with some old ones).But most importantly, make some memories that will be talked about long after you’re gone.
That’s the Travel Effect!
*All statistical data provided by the The U.S. Travel Association. For more information, click here.