Today’s electronics make it easier: DVD’s, CD’s, video games, GPS’s, mp3 players, e-readers, i-pads, smart phones, there seems to be no end in sight. All will keep our young travelers entertained on the road but let us not forget part of our job as parents is to enlighten and educate as well. In many cases these modern devices serve to isolate and encourage withdrawal not to mention the added tendency to induce car sickness as your offspring vibrate along the nation’s highways one bump away from projectile vomiting. You want them to be part of the adventure not complacent and incommunicado so perhaps there is merit in some of the “old fashioned ways” after all.
What did we do that made twenty years of family vacations possible? In a nutshell, here are the secrets…
- Get off the highway – take the road less traveled.
- Where you stay is important. The kids don’t care about room service but they might like it if the hotel looks like a castle or if there’s a pool – there’s just something about kids and water.
- Order in meals, take out or shop at a nearby grocery to help maintain budgets and make restaurant meals special occasions when they do happen.
- Take advantage immediately when unexpected opportunities arise. That way there are no regrets, “Oh, we should have done that.”
- Remember the value of travel. You can pick up a book, look at pictures or surf the internet but travel gives you the opportunity to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.”
- Don’t backtrack, try and make every day a new experience.
- Once discovered, shared interests create family traditions – in our case pizza in the hotel for dinner, baseball and mini golf.
- Every trip has to have a highlight, something special that you’ve never done before.
- Packing picnic lunches is a must because you can’t afford to eat in restaurants and fast food joints all the time.
- Children grow and mature – so grow with them, constant change and adjustment are required.
I never regretted not having done home improvements or saving more money because the framed photos on my wall tell a story of decades of good times and family togetherness – they are my legacy. Our family vacations were about fun things to do, exciting places to visit and experiencing different things but they were also about being together and sharing those experiences. Hopefully Gavin and Adam will someday pass those riches along to their own children.
For further information go to www.thatroadtripbook.com