Why Vacations Are Priceless

Brianna Krueger's picture

Why Vacations Are Priceless

Ok, so vacations aren’t exactly free. You have to spend money and take time off work to take them, but vacations are priceless, and for everything else, well, you know the rest.

As a child I lived for vacations – and not just because they got me out of school. (Though that was a perk – especially the year my dad booked our trip to Disney the wrong week so I got two weeks off of school.) Vacations were always so fun and relaxing, and it was awesome getting to explore a new location. Plus I enjoyed getting my parents to buy me, my friends, and I souvenirs to add to my collection.  


Why Vacations are Priceless


Souvenirs were the epitome of vacations because I had to have something as proof that ‘Hey world I went Mexico,’ and while I loved documenting trips with photos and brochures, they were not the souvenirs I wanted as a child. Those were of a required, finer taste I did not possess.

It wasn’t until I grew up a little that I realized it wasn’t the possessions I valued. The reason I wanted that t-shirt, that Disney Barbie, that whatever, was because I wanted a piece of that vacation, where I could slide on that shirt or play with that doll and be taken back to the where, when, why of it. I wanted that souvenir for a friend so she could have a piece of my vacation… Because it was the vacation as a whole that mattered.

The experiences I gained, the adventures I endured, the sites I saw, the destinations I explored, the time I spent in any location creating memories I longed to hold on to forever and forever, where sometimes it killed me to take a shower after a vacation because it meant I was rinsing away Florida and that the vacation was truly over. Having a souvenir, a piece of vacation, made the void of returning to ‘real life’ less dramatic, but it still wasn’t as good as all the memories.

And that’s why vacations are priceless: People value experiences over possessions.


“Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” -  Mary Ritter Beard


So it took me a little long to figure that out. And off that whole spiel, you really might disagree that vacations are priceless with the amount of money spent not just on souvenirs, but the trip as well, but keeping hearing me out.

Think about how often you hear people say ‘gee, I wish I hadn’t gone on the vacation.’ Chances are you’re hearing crickets chirp, because it’s not often. Perhaps they’re saying ‘gee, I wish I hadn’t spent that much money on vacation’ but they’re not saying they regret spending time in the sun, discovering the Mayan ruins, or immersing themselves in the local culture… All three of which happen to be experiences.

I once spent 4 of my 6 day trip to Hawaii sick in bed. While it sucked to be stuck in my hotel room, I was still in Hawaii, still out of school, and still able to get at least 2 days’ worth of seeing the beautiful island. It’d be so easy to regret the trip and nearly 10 hours of flying, but in my 2 non-sick days, I got to see shark-attack survivor and surfer Bethany Hamilton, where Jurassic Park was partially filmed, and Pearl Harbor. Oh, and get a slight tan, too. While 70% of the trip was a stinker, I don’t regret the trip – though I am slightly bitter, but I still wouldn’t trade going for not going.

Granted, the optimist in me hates the idea of regrets and much prefers mistakes. Regrets are so negative and there’s a connotation that you’re fixated on the past, meaning you’re not moving forward; a mistake sounds less negative because there’s an association that you’re learning from the past, -not holding the past accountable- and learning is never a mistake. So again, no I don’t regret my sick Hawaii vacation, but I did learn if your brother is sick, stay the hell away.


“There are no regrets in life, just lessons.” - Jennifer Aniston


You might have bad memories from a vacation, but not an entire regretted vacation. And if you don’t regret something, then doesn’t that mean it’s worth something?

Especially when you think about what you gain from vacationing.

Pick a vacation, any vacation, and you certainly have a memory or 2 or 100s from the vacation, no matter how big or how small, how old or how new. Memories are unique to ourselves and are a part of how we define ourselves and write our autobiographies because they encompass what you know and experience. You’re not a matter of the objects you own; you’re a matter of what you do with the objects and how you experience them.

You could sit at home with a computer or giant textbook and learn about Gettysburg National Park, but it doesn’t hold a canon to actually visiting Gettysburg. You could sit at home with a bucket of popcorn and watch Disney movies, but it doesn’t make dreams come true like exploring Disney Theme Parks. You could sit at home playing Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?, but it’s not the same as adventuring across state, country, or continent lines. Quite honestly, you could sit at home doing a lot of things, but creating these vacation memories are going to shape you in some way.

While it can be incredibly enjoyable to lounge and marathon television shows, or snuggle up with a good book, or not leave your house for days (and these things will still shape you), but vacations bring a new perspective to life, one that you can’t always have. Such as I live in Michigan; it’s not very likely that I’ll be able to swim with a dolphin in Lake Huron any time soon – and not just because winter is approaching. But by taking a trip to Mexico, I can, and through that swimming with a dolphin I create a new memory and change who I am – someone who is no longer scared to swim with a dolphin.


"Every little detail of your life is what made you into who you are in the end."  - Drew Barrymore


Memories last a life time. They are moments you can physically and mentally carry with you throughout life. If you can carry something with you that long –unlike, say, your baby blankets- I’d say that makes them cherish-able, and for things you cherish there’s never a price tag.*

*Unless you offer me millions of dollars…. Just kidding… Maybe… Maybe not…  

Though there are unfortunately real price tags to my metaphor, I was once sung, “It's not about the money, money, money ... Forget about the price tag.” Because in the end, everything on a vacation you pay for turns out to be priceless.

For your heart and mind.


“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”  – Saint Augustine


What’s your most priceless vacation and what makes it stand out the most to you? Share with us in the comments!





Brianna Krueger is the Chief Editor for Wandering Educators


Photos courtesy and copyright Brianna Krueger