3 ways to make family vacations worthwhile ~
Written by Kari Patterson of Sacred Mundane
As I type these words we’re one-third the way through a 6-week, cross-country family road-trip, crossing 20 states and nearly 9,000 miles.
Our 15-, 13-, 3-, and 1-year-old kids are loving the adventure so far, and it’s brought us some clarity about the mission and vision for our family along the way.
Any type of vacation or excursion is costly, both in time and resources, so how do we decide what’s worth our time and money?
3 ways to make family vacations worthwhile
These are the three priorities we used to plan our course:
1 – Educational
It’s remarkable to me how much we can learn in one short experience versus hours of book study.
As we planned our route, we tried to pick stops that would bring history alive, evoke wonder of the natural world, and expose our kids to cultures and customs different from our own.
Seeing room 306 of the Lorraine motel where Martin Luther King Jr was killed certainly evokes a different connection to this historical figure than only reading his words on a page.
In the weeks to come we’re excited to tour Washington, DC, the Florida Everglades, and the Little House homestead in South Dakota. There are so many rich educational experiences to choose from.
Another great way for kids to get writing practice is by journaling throughout your trip. Our daughter Heidi has been chronicling our travels at https://heidify.wixsite.com/life.
2 – Relational
One of the things I most want my children to glean from their growing up years is that relationships are our great riches.
More than things we can buy, or even “bucket list” sort of experiences, more than facts or knowledge or achievements, life is made beautiful because of people.
We decided on this trip that anywhere people were willing to host us, we’d stay. Of course there’s the “inconvenience” of all sleeping in one room and I know there are AirBnB’s everywhere, but it’s been such a rich experience having so many family slumber parties.
There’s something so much deeper about staying in someone’s house, versus just visiting at a park or having dinner.
Most of the families we’ve visited also homeschool, so it’s also be fun to rub shoulders with others who have similar educational philosophies.
There’s been a lot of, “Oh we read that this year too! Did you like it? What’d you think about…?” So fun.
3 – Economical
Perhaps this won’t relate to everyone, but we’re on a budget, and this was a pretty big consideration when doing a road-trip of this length.
One of the ways we prepare our children for life is by teaching them how to manage money well. All of our purchasing choices say something to our children, so we wanted to make sure that we’re saying what we want to say.
For us, this meant a few very special AirBnB stays with pools and plenty of space, and filling in the rest with economical overnights and stays with friends. It meant packing food and getting creative with home-made meals along the way so we save the treat of eating out for special occasions.
This summer, I want my children to grow in their curiosity and wonder at the world. I want them to make people a priority over and above achievement or accumulation.
I want them to know that knowledge, wisdom, and relationships are what truly make us rich.
How about you? How do you make family vacations worthwhile? What have been your most meaningful family vacations? I’d love to hear! Also, I’m sharing about our trip on IG, if you’d like to follow along!
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