Family Vacations—Important or Not?

Image at 26 and Counting

While our family is vacationing in Colorado, I’m going to share my best tips on traveling with families.  We have been vacationing as a family for almost 23 years now, and we have learned a few things along the way.  Things have changed a lot as we have traveled with infants, toddlers, children, and now teenagers and adult children.  We have traveled by car, plane, and ship.  We have traveled in the USA, mostly in the West, and visited a few foreign countries.  We have gone on short overnight trips, and long six-week trips.  We have traveled with friends and relatives and visited friends and relatives and met new friends and relatives.  We have stayed anywhere from tents to crappy motels to beautiful resorts.  In other words, we get around…not as much as some families, but a lot more than others.

I don’t remember Joe and I ever really discussing family vacations as a priority in our family.  We probably did at some point, but it just seems to have evolved over the years, and now we can’t imagine not going.  It is usually a stretch for us financially, and it is getting trickier to schedule around jobs, school, and extra activities, but we still manage to go.  Last summer for example, we had a trip scheduled to the Oregon coast, and then Courtnee got engaged and the wedding date was one week after we were supposed to return from vacation.  We debated going…our extra funds were going to wedding expenses, and the timing was a bit scary.  But, after a bit of rearranging and switching our travel from a car to a plane, it worked, and we went and it was wonderful.

Yes, vacations are a lot of work.   There is planning and preparing and arranging and traveling and documenting.  Times all of those things by your family size (we are traveling with 7), and there is that much more work.  But there is also that much more fun!  But there is also that much more work!  As I have currently been preparing for vacation, and experiencing all that work, I’ve asked myself, “Why is it important for us to vacation as a family and is it worth all of the effort?”  Here are a few answers I’ve come up with:

1.  We enjoy being a family…sometimes we forget that in the midst of all the craziness that comes from family life; vacations help us remember.

2.  One of our family priorities is experience over things, so if we have to choose between a vacation and a thing, we’ll choose the vacation every time.

3.  When we are at home, we are all going in different directions.  When we are on vacation, we are all headed in the same direction.

4.  Our family works hard…it is important to play hard, too.  Vacations are fun!

5.  Good times together make good memories.

I know there are a gazillion other reasons that people choose to go on family vacations.  How about you…what are some of your answers to the question, “Why is it important to vacation as a family and is it worth all of the effort?”

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