Life can be hectic at times, and that’s true whether you’re eight or 48 years old. Everyone needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, whether that involves school, work, taking care of a home, and more. Below are the top five reasons why every family should prioritize an annual vacation, even if it’s just a weekend road trip.

5 Reasons to prioritize an annual vacation for family

#1 – It Improves Your Health

Believe it or not, there’s quite a bit of science showing that taking a regular vacation – and in some cases, even the mere act of looking forward to a vacation – can improve both physical and mental health. When you’re stuck in your daily routine, your brain is altered by a chemical called cortisol, which can lead to things like depression and even weight gain. When you take time away from work and school to relieve stress and enjoy new experiences, this slows down cortisol production and leads to better overall health.

#2 – It Gives You the Chance to Bond

Today’s family dynamic is pretty busy. In many households, both parents work every day while the kids go to school, and the children in the family often have extracurricular activities to attend after school, too. Though this can be a very fulfilling life for everyone involved, it leaves very little time for actual bonding as a family. For many families, scheduling a getaway once a year ensures that they have time to spend with one another outside of running errands, carpooling, and PTA meetings.

#3 – You Experience New Things

If you plan your vacations carefully, then at least once each year, you and your family get the opportunity to experience something brand new. You might travel to a local zoo or aquarium, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could plan your entire getaway around ziplining. Amusement parks are another great option, as are camping trips on the Great Lakes. The possibilities are endless, and there’s definitely something for everyone to do.

#4 – You Can Decrease Burnout

Burnout is a serious issue across the United States, but it’s one you can easily resolve with an annual vacation. For adults, burnout can involve a lack of desire to go to work or be productive at work – all of which can have negative implications for the family and for the company. For children, burnout might lead to reduced academic performance or even a lack of desire to participate in extracurricular activities they once loved. By taking at least a few days a year to experience something new, families can essentially “recharge” and avoid burnout altogether.

#5 – Even Planning the Trip is Fun!

There are some studies suggesting that even the processes involved in planning a vacation as a family can have a positive effect on everyone’s lives up to eight weeks beforehand. Deciding together where you will go, what you will do, and even how you will get there can all help build positive anticipation. In fact, according to one study, planning the vacation provided an even larger boost in happiness than the vacation itself.

If your family is feeling the effects of burnout, or if it’s been a while since you’ve bonded, now is the perfect time to start planning a vacation. Not only can it improve your physical and mental health, but it can provide you with new experiences that you can carry with you for a lifetime.