Story and photos by Allison Taylor
If you travel much with your children or even grandchildren, you’ve likely heard the adage that getting away with your kids is just a trip and getting away with just adults is actually a vacation. As a mom of two boys, I have been on many a “trip,” and to be fully transparent, some trips have gone better than others.
So, as you load up and head out this summer, I have a few tips that have helped my family to upgrade our trips to at the very least “semi-vacations.”
Tip #1: Let the kids help plan.
While the destination may already be set, involving the kids in the specifics of your exploration can help everyone take an interest in the vacation as well as build excitement in the days leading up to your adventure.
Tip #2: Find the local playground.
I know, I know, you’ve traveled hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles and I’m suggesting a playground? If your little ones are anything like mine, they are awake before many of the attractions have even thought about opening. Google Maps has been my best friend on vacations and as a result, we have found some pretty amazing playgrounds. There is one in Huntsville, Alabama that my kids are still talking about two years later.
Tip #3: Inexpensive toys are a must.
Before we head out on a long road trip, I stop at the Dollar Store or the dollar spot at Target and load up on coloring books and small toys that my kids have never seen before. I’ve been known to divide them up into packages that they can open at certain points along the way. This way, the kids don’t tear through their new treasures too quickly.
Tip #4: Avoid an overload.
A mistake I’ve made as a parent far too many times is packing every moment with fun and excitement, leaving no room for breaks. This is a sure fire way to bring on meltdowns from both parents and kids. When there is no time left for a breather or to watch a favorite show, the activities everyone was excited to help plan suddenly aren’t even appealing because everyone is too exhausted to enjoy it.
Tip #5: Let the kids help you document the trip.
Some of my favorite photos from our journeys have been taken by my children. I’m always amazed at some of the shots they’ve captured, and it’s fun to see the vacation from their perspective. Give them a camera and see what you end up with.
A family vacation can create some of the most wonderful memories you and your family will ever share. Even, some of the disastrous vacations I’ve taken have created many memories that my family can look back on and laugh about all these years later. No matter the destination, the memories with your family that you make along the way will be some of your most treasured souvenirs. VT