Travel Resolutions Worth Sticking To
The fresh start of the new year may have you pondering ways in which to get your family the heck out of Dodge to see a bit of the big world.
Finding an optimal time and the ideal circumstances to take off with the family can be a struggle and the logistics of scheduling and planning a vacation can be daunting. Camping, or taking a short road trip can even fill a parent with dread because, “Are we there yet?” Probably not.
Traveling often gets pushed to the bottom of the list of priorities for families. With a few shifts in mindset, and a handful of “travel resolutions” for 2019, meaningful travel can become a reality.
Visit the Treasures Nearby
Every city has its own alluring attractions. It’s entirely likely that someone has booked a flight, or hopped on a bus to visit a landmark or attraction that you drive by daily in your local area. You’re embarrassed to say that you don’t have the t-shirt or the refrigerator magnet commemorating any visits…yet! “It’ll always be there,” you’ve thought to yourself. “I’ll get there eventually.” Exploring destinations that are right around the corner is a travel resolution worth sticking to. They don’t have to be far away or extravagant to be memorable!
Make a point to visit the smaller towns that rely on tourism to survive. Residents of these towns know the ins and outs of hospitality and will likely help make your stay extremely pleasant. Small tourist town businesses make their money during the travel season and often struggle during what they may call the “off season,” when people don’t typically travel. Pack light, and spend your money at the local boutique, peanut brittle shop and grocery store. Patronize local restaurants, or reserve a cozy rental house and eat in with local meat and produce stocking the fridge.
Single One Out
Remove one of your children from the family dynamic and spend a travel experience entirely with that child. It can be absolutely anyplace, for just a day, overnight, or even an entire week, if your schedule allows. Stay at a hotel and swim in the pool. Check a national park off your bucket list and sleep in a cabin or “rough it” in a yurt. Step back in time with a visit to a colonial museum.
Check concert dates for your child’s favorite performers. If a show is near you, make it a road trip! Put on the cut up t-shirt, buy the cotton candy, and take the selfies. A destination concert can be an incredible bonding experience between a parent and a child. They will forever gaze at the ticket stubs in their journal and remember you lifting them up to see better, dancing in the seats, and being up way past their bedtime with just the two of you. There will always be challenges, and there will never be a perfect time to get away. Make it happen anyway.
Keep the Mementos
Those concert ticket stubs, boarding passes with your kids’ names on them, small baggies of sand and shells from the beach—haul it all home. It’s worth it. The littlest things can preserve the memory of a spectacular family vacation. Encourage children to journal about their adventure and to intertwine their tangible memories that made the trip home. Keepsakes from a vacation don’t necessarily need to be purchased at the gift shop.
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Keep it Low Tech
Kids can often use tablets and devices as a crutch whenever there is downtime. On vacations, there can be a lot of downtime. A terrific way to ensure your holiday doesn’t just become a long trip to another place for the kids to play Minecraft is to conveniently forget to pack the non-essential electronic devices!
Try creating travel binders for each child instead. Customize each one to their likes to entertain them on the journey. They can include markers and pages to color, dry erase boards, small foam puzzles, Pokemon cards, a road trip bingo board, and puffy stickers scenes. Most everything for your travel binder can be crafted using your printer, and your friendly neighborhood dollar store. Competitive kids will love trying to spot the next fast food restaurant for travel bingo. Without their heads buried in a device, your conversations with your kids might include the sites spotted along the drive instead of the newest game character they unlocked.
Earn the Miles
If you’re responsible with a credit card, and want to earn some free air travel, bite the bullet and get the air miles card. Trying to determine which card, and which plan is right for your family and budget can be overwhelming. Enlist the help of friends or family members who travel often. Ask which cards they use.
In addition, card company representatives are eager to tell you about how their rewards work. Decide how aggressively you want to utilize the card to earn those miles. Will it be just for groceries and paid off each month, or will you use it to pay for every single household expense to build up the miles more quickly? Keep it under control, otherwise, the benefits of the free airline tickets will be cancelled out with unmanageable credit card debt.
Take the Train
The experience of riding on a train, for children, might be more memorable than the destination itself. More affordable than air travel, and less damaging to Dad’s sanity than road tripping, rail travel can be a wonderful option for families. Kids love trains after all. Pack a picnic, and some card games. Watch for animals and beautiful scenery out the window. Play I Spy. Some trains have tables and if you book early enough, you can secure one for those travel games you bring.
Whether your travel plans include a destination theme park, a museum or water park in your town, or a road trip to Grandma’s, the objective is to create priceless family memories. Your kids will appreciate your efforts to spend time with them. From the planning, throughout the journey, and once you reach your destination, memories can be captured with attainable family travel resolutions.
Angela is a hardworking wife and mother. She is a radio personality and a BabyQuip Quality Provider. She lives with her husband, Scott who also works in radio. Their five children are Lincoln, Sunny, Anthem, Braddock and Loxley. She lives in Lebanon, Oregon.