Guest post by: Carrie Jensen
Quality family time is hard to find these days. Parenting magazines consistently tell us to eat dinner together every night and unplug the tech devices, but with work, practices and appointments it’s hard to synch schedules and actually have that undivided family time we know is so important. An easy way to spend quality time as a family is to exit your ordinary environment; leave the to-do lists and calendars behind and take a vacation.
Many studies have shown that taking time off is imperative to one’s mental and physical health. What they don’t always tell us is how important a vacation can be for the health of your family unit. Taking a trip is a great way to reconnect with one another and form everlasting family bonds. It’s a way to get away from the routine of the daily grind, find new adventures, make discoveries and create lasting memories.
Are We There Yet???
Not every family vacation has to be a Griswold experience with irritated kids in the backseat of the family truckster and parents who don’t know when to stop and ask for directions. Allow the kids to be a part of your vacation planning experience. Where do they want to go? What are they excited to see? Find a place that will appeal to many generations. Some ideas include:
*Anywhere near a lake or ocean
*Water parks and theme parks
*Outdoor adventures and parks, such as Yellowstone
*Train trips across the U.S.
While vacationing, do special things to create and record memories. Have your kids save up money for souvenirs so that they mean more to them. Bring digital and waterproof cameras the whole family can share to capture your adventures. Take along a travel journal and have everyone write in it so you can have a record of each person’s experience. Send postcards home to friends and family.
There are many ways to help your family vacation move along smoothly:
*Look online for resources about traveling with kids. A great website is www.travelforkids.com
*Use a special occasion as an excuse for a getaway – holidays, birthdays and anniversaries
*Research your location; make an itinerary and a budget before leaving
*Choose your travel dates to coincide with holidays and spring or summer breaks so the kids don’t miss school
*Stay in hotels close to places you want to see
*When packing – less is more!
*Don’t forget the stuffed animals; they are comforting to kids who are away from home
Whether you’re taking a road trip for a weekend or planning an excursion overseas, each trip you take with your kids can be a great bonding experience for your family. Family vacations create long-term memories and allow you to spend quality time with one another. Not only will you reap the benefits of time away from work, you will feel great knowing you’ve created an unforgettable experience for your family.
Heather Johnson writes for HoneymoonDestinations.org, the best honeymoon research and planning website.