Studies show traveling is crucial when it comes to kids' emotional growth

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - Before you decide to purchase your kid the latest toy, consider this, experts say spending less money on toys and investing more money in family vacations can improve their general state of happiness.

No, family vacations aren't just about having fun. Recent research shows family gatherings have lasting impacts on the well-being of kids - emotionally, developmentally, academically and socially. 

The Journal of Commercial Research found, while material gifts are fun, their impact is often fleeting. Whereas a trip to a new place, a new adventure, the opportunity to bond with family members - these experiences are often memorable and allow kids to expand their minds and imaginations.

As the holiday season approaches, researchers found a series of additional benefits. Younger travelers showed: better grades in school, a better understanding of finances, a deeper sense of identity and broader perspectives of the world. 

There's more good news - kids aren't the only ones benefiting from the swap.

Family vacations have the potential to ground the whole family. 

So, if you're looking for the best of both worlds, why not gift piggy banks? Experts say, make kids part of the process so they too can enjoy the reward.

For a list of some affordable family destinations and vacations this year, visit U.S. News & World Report's latest travel rankings

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