Growing up, my family rarely ever took a vacation. I mean a real live vacation. Vacation days were limited, and one set of grandparents lived WAY out of town. So when we took a trip, we visited my dads family. I’ll just tell you, Texas in the car is a LONG LONG LONG trip.
My husband on the other hand, has summers full of vacation memories with his parents and brothers. Grand Canyon, Florida, California, the beach. The list goes on and on.
Before I started traveling with my husband, I had been to a grand total of like 5 states – and I’d only been to the beach once. In the winter. Yes, it was cold.
My husband’s job requires he work every Saturday, so during the school year, we don’t have weekends as a family. Not that we’d have a free weekend anyway, but one can certainly dream! So every year, we take a few days or maybe a week to get away, just the 5 of us. And we vacation.
Vacation doesn’t have to extravagant and expensive to be full of memories. Sure, Disney World is fun and full of memories – but let’s be honest, it takes all.the.money. We have just as many (or even more) memories from the years we didn’t go to Disney World, than the years we did. After all, you can’t take an elevator up to the top of the Washington Monument and overlook Washington DC in Disney World. You also can’t run down Mt. Mitchell because you almost got struck by lightening in Disney World.
We don’t relax on vacation. Weird right?! We pack in everything we can in the time we have. That’s not to say we don’t use the hotel pool every evening. We don’t sleep in, we often eat fast food or a sandwich we packed, and we end the night tired from a full day.
We plan our meals. This sounds like a drag. But it actually takes the stress off of the h-angry moments, and really – 3 tired and grouchy kids at a restaurant is the drag. We eat a quick breakfast in our room, or at the hotels complementary continental breakfast. When our destination allows, we pack lunches. If we have a kitchen, I cook the majority of our dinners there.
We keep the souvenirs to a minimum, but always, ALWAYS buy a picture frame and snap a picture of the whole family at some point during our trip. Our collection of picture frames and vacation photos are displayed on a bookshelf in our living room. We smile when we look back at these photos, memories filling each shot.
We try to go at least one new place every year. You know what’s great about that? I get to see all these great places, for the first time. I would venture to say, seeing Niagara Falls for the first time as an adult isn’t that much different than seeing it for the first time as a child. Of course, sometimes a new place isn’t in the plans, like this year, because, well, Disney World.
Our vacations let us escape the regular everyday, allows us to bond, just us without any outside influences, make memories and see sights we can’t see here in small town Ohio, and we come home needing one of those relaxing vacations other people talk about!