Why I love family vacations

I am on a vacation with my family right now. It’s afternoon nap time for The Girl as I write this, and The Hubs is off doing something fun with The Boy, so I have a few quiet minutes to do laundry and think about why I like to take vacations with my two small children. This may be the last big, plane-trip-taking, more-than-a-week vacation we can realistically afford for a while, since I will be taking a pay cut as part of my disability retirement, but assuming I am well enough, I plan on making sure we still take some vacations, because I think they are good for us.

I have heard lots of arguments against family vacations. Some people say “They’re too small to remember the trip, why even bother taking them?” Well, they’re too small to remember a trip to the park or the zoo either, so should I just lock us up in our house and never leave it? Seriously, that is the dumbest argument I have ever heard. People who make this argument: try again.

Some people say that it’s too expensive to take vacations for a family. And I say, that depends on the vacation you take. A camping trip costs practically nothing–you need a couple of blue tarps, some rope, a few sleeping bags, and a cast iron skillet. Bam! Instant vacation. A trip to Europe can be extremely pricey, especially if you live on the west coast like I do. Every family can afford different things, and every family prioritizes their money differently.

Some people say it’s too much work traveling with kids and not enough fun. I think these are people who compare traveling without kids to traveling with kids, and yeah, it IS a lot more work traveling with kids. But everything is more work when you have kids, not just travel. You have to be mindful that the small people in your life have needs just like the big people do, is all. And you have to do that at home as well as on the road.

I loved to travel before I had kids for reasons that don’t go away just because there are kids along for the ride. I like the change of pace that travel brings, and I like doing things I wouldn’t normally do in my everyday life. And I love watching my kids have new experiences too, and learn what they can do if I only let them try. Who knew The Boy wouldn’t be even remotely afraid of that zip line? Who knew The Girl was so good at walking up and down stairs on her own?

Beyond that, there are the memories The Hubs and I will carry, even if The Kids don’t. Especially The Hubs. I have a feeling he’ll be glad we took this trip in 10 years, even if though we are both sick of listening to The Boy complain about having to try new foods, and even if we are tired from carrying The Girl back to our hotel while fighting off a cold. Nothing in life is perfect, not even family vacations, but that doesn’t mean they’re not great.

4 thoughts on “Why I love family vacations

  1. Yes, yes, YES! My husband has talked about the kids not remembering and my response is “but I will remember”! I love looking at vacations through my kids eyes (at least in between “are we there yets). They bring more wonder back in to life and for that I am eternally grateful.

  2. As someone who never took a vacation without her children and who ALWAYS took a vacation every single summer (benefit of being a teacher), I couldn’t even imagine going somewhere sans kiddos. I would have been miserable. Yes, they were a lot of work but now that we’ve been empty nesters for 2 decades, my vacations still take a lot of work. I research everything and try to fit in as much as possible every. single. day. For example: In 1982 (prior to the internet) we drove from our home here in the sunny south to San Francisco (where fortunately my parents lived), to my brother’s wedding in Coupeville, Whidby Island, WA, and home through Yellowstone and Mt. Rushmore. Our 6 year-old son and 3 year-old daughter sat in their car seats for 8,400 miles although we did stop at every national park (nothing like having a picnic under the giant sequoias or looking for bears in Yosemite or splurging to stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge) or points of interest (even getting photos at Four Corners or driving by the house in Albuquerque where we lived when I was in the 9th grade!). We stayed in a Motel 6 (almost every night at $14.95/night) and brought an ice chest so we could do our own breakfast and lunch while eating our dinner in a restaurant. My children have those photos but those memories will be etched in MY heart until the day I die. In fact, as I wax poetic and bore y’all, tears are running down my cheeks. We were gone for 3 weeks and we spent $899 (spending 3 free days at my folks) including gas. So, you’re right, Beth, I’m proof that you can take an AFFORDABLE vacation as a family. It takes a LOT of planning and organization but it is so worth it. Oh, and I have like 9 million fading photographs to prove it 😉

  3. My grown daughter doesn`t remember Disney Land, but I remember her wide eyed look when Chip gave her a hug!

    1. Hmmm. I have not taken very many family vacations, but after reading this, things are definitely going to change!

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