You made it! You survived the holidays and gift-giving season.  Then January 31st was National Plan for Vacation Day but were you ready to think about spending money again?  If not, I understand, but research show us that not only does travel make us happy, it truly creates bonds in a family that last a lifetime. It is a worthy investment for your family, memories, and happiness.

Mom and Daughter at Cinderella Castle

Did you know? Individuals who plan are more likely to use all of their time off and report greater levels of happiness in every category measured. Don't let your time off go to waste! According to a 2017 study published by CNN Money, "Only 23% of workers surveyed said they used all of their paid time off in the last 12 months. The average U.S. worker leaves almost half of his or her vacation days on the table." Your employer is still paying for you to take a vacation and you're not taking it?!

Research also confirms that vacations are better than gifts; experiences better than toys. Think about that for your son or daughter's next birthday.  Toys will come and go, items will be popular then not, and clothes they will soon outgrow, but memories from a magical Disney vacation with stay with them for the rest of their lives.  

“Family holidays are valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterward in their
memory,” psychologist and best-selling author Oliver James explained to The Telegraph ( “It’s all about…sharing a (Mickey-shaped)* ice cream and moments of time in which your interests are genuinely taken into account. So if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense.” 

Daddy Daughter on Disney Cruise

Traveling with your kids can also be beneficial to their brain development. “An enriched environment offers new experiences that are strong in combined social, physical, cognitive, and sensory interaction,” says child psychotherapist Dr. Margot Sunderland.  YourModernFamily.Com wrote, "You can do that by being involved with your kids. Finding fun things to do, new exciting things to show them and creating a bond that will last a lifetime. Be present in the moment."

"Research, of course, repeatedly indicates that, despite the fact that we go on buying more stuff, adults really regard experiences like travel as far more fulfilling. Children, says James, are no different. It’s just that they value different aspects of that travel. He goes onto say, Dad or Mum, building sandcastles, playing on the beach, jumping over waves; it seems like fun, but it’s also “attachment play”, and it’s vital for bonding. Attachment play also enhances self-esteem, sending a child the psychological message: You have my full attention. I delight in you. I delight in being with you.”

Mom and Son at Aulani beach

When you break it down, you really can't afford NOT to take a family vacation this year.  Your return on investment will be exponential in your family’s wellbeing.  What are you waiting for? Let me plan your next magical family vacation for free! (Contact Shannon at


*Yes, I added the Mickey-shaped part, because everything tastes better Mickey-shaped