My husband and I just took the girls to Hawaii. It was our first real family vacation in almost three years, since my oldest daughter was one. Finding time to get out of town, and the money with which to do it, proves a bit painful when you have children. In our young and carefree days my husband and I traveled regularly. We’d pack up the car on a Friday night and leave town, destination unknown, or at least not planned down to the last detail. We didn’t have to do this then. We didn’t have to worry that the room may not have a refrigerator in which to hold milk for the girls-our biggest concern was would it have glasses for our wine.
Now, of course, things have changed. I was watching, well, need I tell you, the View this morning and I thought they made a great point regarding vacations that I had to share.
Now with gas prices soaring and with it being difficult to just get away when you want to, perhaps it is time to consider alternatives to real ‘vacations.’ Elisabeth mentioned that she and her family spent the day in the park for an in town vacation, and I really loved the idea.
Okay, so the park, not so romantic, not so far away, not so, well, exotic as Hawaii, but still, a lot can be accomplished by planning a mini-vacation right in your own town-or the next few towns over.
For one thing, you don’t have to pay for a hotel room, as you can head back home for the night. Not only that, but you don’t have to seek out a hotel room that is clean, comfortable, has portable cribs if you have young children, or separate sleeping quarters so you don’t have to go to bed every single night at 8 AM when the kids do.
You can easily get to the ‘vacation’ spot and don’t have to pack a bag for the plane or a stack of activities for the long car ride. In fact, by the time you sing a song or play a few rounds of I Spy you can be at your destination.
You don’t need a lot of extra planning. Pick up the paper, see if there is anything special going on in the next town.Visit a new musuem, a different park or a great local library or gardens area.
Money isn’t such an object. You can pack a lunch if you need to, or hit a local restaurant for a bite to eat in the middle of the day and still be home in time for dinner. Gas is fairly inexpensive when you travel to the next town over instead of three states away. You don’t even have to stock up on extra snacks for a quick day out.
The best part, though, is that you have a fun family filled day that you plan together and share together. Let the kids pick out what they want to do. Tomorrow, for instance, is my daughter’s fourth birthday. She is in charge of our day, down to where we eat lunch (though I will be encouraging Soup Plantation, of course!) We do this every few weeks, have an Amanda day, where she gets to choose what we do. Picking a close by attraction and telling your child(ren) they are in charge is a great way to get them excited about the trip and the day. It’s also a great way to bond.