Growing up, my mom had booked our summer up by January. My first married summer I followed the same example. My husband and I were traveling so much our new neighbors thought we had a second home. We did, our car.
I’m thankful as a child and into my young adult life that my parents did not fall short on family vacations. My dad instilled in all of us that creating memories was one of the best ways to spend money.
Audrey was born at the beginning of last summer and that didn’t stop us either. We were packed with beach trips, city trips, camping trips and concerts. We even ended last year with a road trip to Disneyland; a 6-month-old wouldn’t hold us back.
Even though we don’t have the budget for elaborate trips every year, some of my favorite getaways were right in the backyard.
I am anticipating this summer and the summers ahead while I get to experience the adventures I had as a child, but now in the role of the parent.
Here are 5 of my personal summer getaways that every kid should experience
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1. Camping. Yes, I mean with a tent and in the dirt. If you consider a 4-star luxury cabin in the woods “camping,” you’re way off. As a child, I met many playmates, climbed trees, collected rocks and found peace while just sitting in a chair. Can kids even do that now? No video games, no television and no “I’m bored.” Learning how to stimulate your children in nature may be challenging, but it will be worth it. Pack the bikes, bubbles, Jiffy Pop, butterfly catchers and fishing poles. Time for some real fun!
2. Disneyland or Walt Disney World. I’m not going to lie: the children may be an excuse for us adults to go. If you haven’t been as an adult, you don’t know what you’re missing! While your patience will be tested with children, there is nothing like bonding and enjoying the same activity. Tip: Staying in a in-park hotel commonly offers child-care which is wonderful when you want to slip out for some adult fun, or just bring grandma. Another tip: You will always need to stay longer than you think. Children not only want to go on all the rides, they get tired, want to go in the pool and want to stand in those 2-hour Meet the Character lines.
3. Road trip. As much as getting the whole family in the car for hours and hours doesn’t seem appealing, it really is as long as their are rules and everyone gets to be a part of it. Our family would pick the destination and then all of us would get to select things we wanted to do such as a certain restaurant, attraction or hotel. Make sure everyone knows car games! Tip: Portable DVD players, separate music players (since everyone will fight over what is playing in the car), magazines, books and snacks are needed. This is another trip that requires patience and a spontaneous attitude; you may not be able to pull a 10-hour car trip, so make a game out of finding the next place to stop.
4. An all-inclusive resort. This may be more of a getaway every adult should experience, but if you are looking to get farther away this summer and go bigger, an all-inclusive resort is definitely a trip that is over-the-top-fun for children and adults. All-inclusive resorts feature a variety of kid activities that will have your children gone all day meeting peers from around the world and having the time of their life. Don’t worry, you won’t miss them too much as you sip unlimited drinks and eat all you want while laying on the beach or by the pool. They don’t lie when they say, “Family Friendly.” However, with all the activities they provide, you’ll get to experience fun things with your kids too. Added bonus: You pay everything up front. Therefore, you are not shelling out tons of money every time your kid says, “I’m hungry.” This time you can say back to them, “Go to the restaurant and get whatever you want.” They will get a kick out of it!
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Above all, make sure to enjoy your children and family this summer. Whether you have a large summer traveling budget or not, remember it is the intimate family bonding time that I treasured the most. My challenge to you: unplug the television. That will be a “getaway” on its own.