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Like it or not, your kids are going to move out someday. Whether you come to my blog with babies, toddlers, or teens, it’s going to happen. And it’s going to happen sooner than you think. I say all this to shock you a bit. Stop doing what you’re doing and take time now to travel more with your children. Look, I get it. You see thousands of articles and pins on Pinterest with these families who travel full time. That’s not you. and it’s not me either. But as I write this, I have a 14-year-old and a 12-year-old. It is entirely possible I will not have children at home in 6 years!
If not now, when?
Even if you work full time, have limited vacation days, school schedules, etc., there are ways to travel more with your children. Here’s a collection of advice I’ve gathered, from myself and other moms, on how to travel more with your children.
Why Travel More with Your Children
If their limited time at home doesn’t spur you to travel more with your children, there are other reasons we, as a family, want to head out.
- Screen-Free – Generally, when we travel, the kids are off their devices more. This is just a natural occurrence as we’re out and about doing things, seeing the sites, hiking, or simply hanging at the beach.
- More Reading – I know this can go under the category of screen-free, but I also know I get to read more when we’re traveling. Fewer distractions, fewer household chores, you get it. And if you’re driving and can’t read, get an audiobook. I have audiobook recommendations for all ages.
- Games – When we travel, we also play more games with the kids. We’ll head back to the room after a day of exploring and still enjoy more time together playing Apples to Apples, Exploding Kittens, or good old-fashioned Uno.
- Cultural Experiences – If you travel outside of your hometown, you’ll likely be exposed to a different culture. Big cities have more diversity. Other countries may have a different way of living. These experiences show kids compassion, understanding, learning, etc. This article is a beautiful piece of Cultural Compassion.
- Quality Time – Above all else, traveling more with your children leads to more quality time with them. Away from distractions, away from work, activities, deadlines, etc. Traveling with my kids allows us to talk more freely, and enjoy each other’s company.
How do we do it? How do we travel more with our children? Schedule it.
The fact is, as my kids get older, they get busier. Planning family vacations don’t always fit into our busy schedules. Between school schedules, work obligations, extracurriculars, I don’t feel like we get to stop and enjoy each other’s company.
However often it makes sense for your family, sit down with a calendar (we have a shared Google Calendar), and review your free time. For us, that’s about once a quarter. For other families, maybe once a year, every 6 months, or even every month is a good review of when you might getaway.
Personally, I love the paper Planners, and the Go Girl Planners on Amazon are my favorites.
Of course, not every free moment needs to be filled with vacations. Obviously, we have household responsibilities and we don’t always want to be on the go. However, if we don’t intentionally schedule our vacations, we let life get the better of us and we just don’t go.
How many vacation days do you let slide away? Why is it that Americans tend to lose vacation time. If you’re scheduling your time, use your vacation days. You’ve earned them. It’s better for your health, and of course, it’s better for your family. How do you use it, however?
Take a two-week or 10-day vacation. Going away for longer than a week allows you to have the much-needed downtime during your vacation. How many times have you traveled and were go go go the entire time that you did not feel rested upon return? Take the kids out of school for a couple of days, or use a full two weeks in the summer.
Additionally, plan a few long weekends throughout the year. Go somewhere within a couple of hour’s drive. Explore another part of your state that you haven’t been to before. Have an adventure or relax at the beach. Look at these little getaways as still satisfying the wanderlust travel bug.
Who says travel has to involve distance? Even if you explore your hometown with a “staycation” it’s all in how you package it and sell it to the family. Take a whole day full of adventures and call it travel. That can mean a day out at the zoo and a dinner someplace new and exotic. Go into the city and try an ethnic restaurant and pretend you’re traveling to faraway lands. Try a new museum. Hike. There are loads of possibilities.
You’ve scheduled your family vacations (and yes, I mean more than one), now you need to budget for it.
Read How to Figure out a Fail-Proof Travel Budget. In it, I describe two ways to tackle your travel budget, by traveling where you can afford, or saving for where you want to travel.
Related: How to Save Money on a Road Trip
Now the fun part, at least in my opinion! Planning the vacation is also a great bonding tool with the kids. Get them involved in picking hotels, planning activities, researching the destination. The more they know about where they’re going, the more excited and engaged they’ll be.
The following articles are a few that may help you plan your family vacation.
- Fly or Drive, How do you Decide?
- Do you stay in a Home Rental or Hotel?
- How to Find and Book a Unique Hotel
Traveling more with your children is not something you’ll regret. I hope this inspires you to get out and plan your family vacation. I’d love to hear where you’re off to next. Comment below and tell me how you’ll travel more with your children.