I’ve got vacation on the brain.
As we cruise into spring and wave goodbye to those three-day holiday weekends of January and February, I need to plan an adventure.
Each summer, we take some time as a family to visit a new place, get outdoors and experience something together. With three kids of varying ages, this is no easy task, but with my youngest turning six this summer, I’m optimistic. No longer do we need to pack diapers or strollers or plan for naps – we abandoned most of these things a few years ago. I finally feel like we all have more stamina. The younger two don’t necessarily appreciate historic landmarks, but we are entering prime traveling years where I think we can all appreciate a getaway, and keep the tantrums to a minimum.
So where to go?
If only money grew on trees, right?
My husband and I started kicking around some ideas about the travel experiences we want to give our kids before they leave the nest, and we landed on a few:
- We want to show them nature’s beauty, often highlighted by our country’s national parks. We’ve actually already taken our kids to a few, and since we live in California, we can road trip to some amazing sights – Yosemite, the Redwoods, pristine lakes and rivers, Big Sur, the Sierras and some killer beaches. We’ve also seen the Grand Canyon and some breathtaking desert scenery. We’d like to venture further out to Yellowstone, parts of Utah and Colorado and all the way up to North Dakota and South Dakota. So much to see, so many miles to drive.
- The East Coast also ranks high on the list, specifically our nation’s capital (one child has already made this trek), New York City and the host of historic sites where America got its start. Flying five people cross-country will require some saving, but we hope to take everyone soon. Nothing beats seeing history in person, and the East Coast definitely has a different vibe than California.
- Thinking even grander, we’d love to do an international trip to give the kids some perspective into how different life can be around the world. America is really a baby when you think about the history of civilization. My husband would love to hit England and watch a premier soccer match. I’d love to visit Italy and the Vatican. Then there is Greece and France and Spain. Maybe Ireland and Germany as well. I think our kids need to be a little older to appreciate a trip of that magnitude, and we definitely need to save a ton.
- Finally, we’d love to engage all of the senses and travel in different ways. In a couple of years, I think it would be cool to go backpacking and just rely on our own feet to feet to take us to our destination. We’ve definitely mastered the road trip, and we’ve done day trips on the train. Two of the kids have yet to fly. And we all want to do some whitewater rafting.
Every time I have the opportunity to travel, I learn something new, see the world a little differently and come back inspired. I also appreciate home. Without a doubt, travel is a privilege, and I want my kids to know we make sacrifices to save and plan. Sure, we’ve taken them to amusement parks, but I want them to see the world – or at least a few corners of it. Learn a little, see a little, play a little and just enjoy these years together.
As the saying goes, “Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
Long live the family vacation.
Do you have any favorites to share?
What’s on your trip list to enjoy with the kids?