The family vacation is a tradition intended to bring families closer together and one that many of us would just not think of giving up. Quality time for the family reinforces the importance of family values. It’s sort of a “time out” from the day to day routine of living and growing. A chance to focus on getting to know better those that are most important to us, our family. Of course, how much importance you place on this event depends on your past experiences.
In today’s fast paced society a vacation just isn’t a vacation unless its costing you a small fortune to get to, and stay at, some exotic venue that usually offers no excitement without dishing out more money. I suggest we put on the brakes and get back to basics. You surely won’t have a better opportunity to do so than on the family vacation.
Let’s not forget that the “family” extends beyond our home life. Most of us have family that we rarely get to spend time with either because of distance or time issues. But, one should always make time for family. Right? I knew you’d agree!
Not trying to make you feel guilty here but, we do have a way of letting life rush us through the years. I call it “non-intentional neglect” and most of us are guilty of it at some point in our lives. So, let’s re-invent the family vacation to include some real quality time that reinforces the value of our families.
Would you consider a visit to grandparents, distant uncles, or a friend’s home a vacation? When I was growing up, the family vacation usually meant visiting family members who lived some distance away. Coming from a family of limited finances, this tradition was budget friendly yet, was sufficient to satisfy our need to escape the norms of home life.
Of course, as the teen age years approached, it became harder and harder for my mom to convince us that “we’d have a good time” visiting the relatives. Some of which we’d already spent several vacations visiting and had, I guess, lost their uniqueness to us as teenagers.
That said, if any of you can figure out what makes a teenager happy, except socializing with their own peers, then congrats! Let me know your secret. All kidding aside, I believe that they still enjoy the family outings but have a strong resistance to acknowledging that they’re actually having fun. In other words, they’re having fun and just refuse to admit it!
I was a single parent for many years and just didn’t have the money for family vacations requiring hotel stays and admission fees. I guess I followed in my mother’s footsteps in hoping that a visit out of town would suffice. And it did. For many years, the family vacation consisted of a visit to a dear friend or family member’s home who was willing to put up with four kids for a week. These are truly “beloved friends and family!”
I’m fortunate to have a good friend for life who’s two children within the same age group as my kids. Since we didn’t get to visit often throughout the year, these visits were exciting for both my kids and hers who had become good friends.
So, by all means plan to visit a family member’s, or friend’s, home for a week. Young children especially enjoy these trips. They make new friends and the family ties are strengthened. This is an excellent way to reinforce family values and the importance of keeping in touch with family members that may live some distance from your home.
Do a little research before you go. Find out if there are any museums, historical sites, low-priced attractions, or state parks within driving distance from where you’ll be staying and plan to visit. Remember to ask the family member or friend you’re visiting if they’ve any suggestions. Since they live in the area, they’ll most likely be aware of popular spots. Ask about bowling, roller skating, or special movie nights in the area and plan accordingly. You can even plan some game or craft activities to keep everyone busy and having fun.
For those of you who have worn out your welcome or simply don’t have family within a reasonable distance, finding vacation spots that will provide a memorable experience for everyone in the family can be a challenge. Especially on a tight budget. Don’t be discouraged, it is not impossible. Plan for your vacation and include it in your budget. This is the easiest way to prepare for a vacation expense and take the stress out of planning.
Wherever you go, whatever you do, don’t lose sight of the value of a family vacation. Be sure to schedule quality time together no matter what your destination. Be safe and enjoy!