This past week was a very busy one for my family. We left very early on a Thursday and made a 9 hour drive to a beach town along the Pacific Coast, coming back home late Monday on a 13 hour trek through a huge snow storm. Living in the desert it is always great to make a getaway to a beautiful beach town, and budget-willing, it is something that we try to make a priority to do once a year. Making time for a family trip is so helpful for families. While some may see it as a bigger pain and stress than it is worth, with the proper preparation it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
As a family, we normally try to aim for taking our trip in October. We are a homeschooling family so it is a little easier for us not having to worry about school schedules. Being able to go while others are in school in some of the between season months makes it cheaper and less stressful. Growing up, even though I went to public school, my parents would always have us kids excused for a week so we could take off during these great months. Hotel rates can be as much as $100 cheaper depending on where you go. We have gotten some amazing deals on family resorts during these times. We normally start looking in about August on a variety of travel websites to find the best deals on hotels that are large and family friendly.
In the week leading up to the trip I make a list of what each person will need. I get the list down to the exact amount of each clothing item will be needed. It makes it easier to make sure that everyone has what they need and no one is short on something once you get to your destination. Starting the list a week earlier allows for some wiggle room to adjust amounts or add on new items as you think about it through the week. Then the day before we all pack and the kids each grab a backpack and fill it with some road fun. Being big readers, books are usually the go-to, but there are also some great travel games that we have come across over the years.
The day of, I am up before the kids and am making sure that everything is together and ready to go before I start shuffling groggy kids around. By having everything ready I feel more prepared, and as I have learned over the years, just feeling prepared helps the stress level decrease dramatically. Once we hit the road I keep the thought in my head that it is a fun trip and that things that might seem like a big deal, such as finding a potty in the middle of nowhere with not a place in sight to pull over on a two-lane highway, will only be looked at as fond memories that we usually laugh about later. So why stress now?
If you are not able to make it out of town, have a stay-cation! Maybe pitch a tent in the backyard or have an indoor picnic and stay up super late making memories. All that matters is that everybody finds time away from all of their obligations every now and then to be able to connect with one another as a family.