The Value of a Family Vacation
Plus, Tips on How to Make it a Priority
When I was a kid, my parents made family vacations a priority. Because of this, I have the luxury of recalling many joyful moments from these trips. While I remember each destination we traveled to, it is the time spent together that I remember and value the most. Without work and school to distract us, we were able to build relationships and, honestly, get to know each other better. Of course, I only realize this as an adult. As a kid, I was simply enjoying the moment of having the attention of my parents and brother.
For the longest time, I assumed my parents took vacations to reduce their stress; and it wasn’t until a pivotal vacation taken many years later did I start to fully understand the full picture.
My Big Ah-Ha Moment
My husband and I had been married for 6 years and we were on our second Caribbean cruise with Royal Caribbean. There we were, stretched out on the pool deck, soaking up the sun with a bucket of Corona between us. My husband listening to music (and napping) and me reading a book, when a family of three parked themselves on the lounge chairs nearby. Their daughter’s animated face and non-stop happy chatter about her vacation adventures was hard to ignore. She was simply over the moon about everything she had experienced on the cruise; and as if it couldn’t get any sweeter, this little girl then hugged and thanked her parents for the trip! I was tearing up more than her mom! This moment was an ‘ah-ha moment’ for me. I finally realized how my parents must have felt seeing my joy while on vacation and it was then that I realized I wanted to make travel a priority for my own family.
Vacations together before the birth of our daughter were amazing and we have great memories. But after our daughter, vacations took on an entirely new meaning. Seeing the wonder of the world through her eyes made travel even better!
Flash forward, 3.5 years later and we took our first trip with our 7-month-old baby girl. It was a family obligation trip, but we still took one afternoon to ourselves (trust me, these 3 hours came with full family judgement). We took our daughter to a local aquarium where she was fascinated by the fish. Her eyes were wide with wonder as she’d track the colorful fish all around the tank! My husband and I were entranced just watching her soak up the new sights and sounds. Those three hours were 100% worth the family gossip!
That was just the first of our family trips; we have been very blessed to have taken lots of trips over the past 7 years.
Tips to Make Family Vacation a Priority.
Making family vacations a priority is hard. I get it. We all have busy schedules between work, school, and extracurricular activities. We have extended family that expect us to spend every vacation day with them. We also have life expenses that make funding a vacation difficult. But if we don’t make it a priority “today”, when will we?
You don’t have to take an elaborate family vacation to leave an impression.
A long-weekend at the lake or a few nights in a downtown hotel totally counts. Anything that takes your entire family away from the day-to-day mundane tasks counts as a family trip. Just remember to put your phone down, focus on your family, and do all the things you wouldn’t normally do.
Talk to your extended family and let them know your family goals.
More communication and setting boundaries before feelings get hurt can save family relationships. Trust me. Let your parents/grandparents know that you absolutely plan on spending time with them, but you are also going to have trips that are just purely about your spouse and your kids. As hard as it might be, your immediate family should be your priority.
Save money by doing a no-spend month.
We did our first no-spend back in January 2018 and it really helped boost our bottom line. If you just do a few of these per year they will really help you stick to a strict budget which can free up money for vacations.
Consider a trip in lieu of presents.
According to child psychologist, Oliver James, two-thirds (1 out of 5) of the presents children receive aren’t wanted or valued. Similar to adults, children also value experiences over material objects; they just can’t voice this thought. Talk to your kids about gifts verses travel. See how they feel about it; they might just surprise you.
Use Points for travel.
Over the years, we have used our Disney Chase Reward points to pay for Disneyland tickets and 60% of both our Disney Cruises. Now, you must be very structured with this travel hack, but it can work in your favor big time. However, I’m not a professional (yet) on using credit card points for travel. Our dream destination is Hawaii and we are hoping to learn some credit card tricks for the trip
Our years with our children (as children!) are limited and it is important to make travel a priority!