home tips speaking resources about contact

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Preparing for Vacations

My family returned last week from a two-week vacation.  It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of planning and work went into making it a great experience.

Years ago, my husband and I decided that family vacations would be a priority.  Neither of us grew up in homes where we took big trips.  It was only after leading the senior high group at our church that we made that decision.

We led the senior high group for eight years before we had our own children, and we often took the teens camping.  Inevitably, we would sit around the campfire and kids would start to share their favorite memories growing up.  And they almost always included vacations. 

We got to thinking of the reasons why.  We believe it's because kids got their parents' undivided attention on trips.  Back then, there were no cell phones or computers for mom or dad to check in with work.  It was just time together without interuptions.  So, over 20 years ago, we decided to make family trips a priority.  We wanted to give our children those same sweet memories of time together.  We wanted to set the stage for those crazy, humorous occurrences that only seem to happen when you are out of your comfort zone ... and thereby create moments of shared experiences that tighten family bonds.

Like the time we were at Volcano's National Park, out in the middle of the dark lava field, watching glowing lava fall into the ocean, and someone had to go to the bathroom.  Bad.  Yep, you can bet we all remember that.  Or the time I slipped and hurt my knee climbing a mountain, and my boys got to help their mom to the top.  You can't buy memories like that.

People always ask how we do it.  How do we manage to take such great trips.  Well, my husband is a great planner and I get us organized, and somehow with God's grace, we pull it off.  We save year-round, pay for it in increments, buy travel books, look on TripAdvisor.com for advice and are always dreaming about where we want to go. 

These aren't always expensive trips.  When our kids were small, we bought a tent trailer and camped all over the West Coast.  We've shared rental homes with other families.  We've found a variety of ways to make trips affordable. 

For the next week or so, I'm going to share some tips on how to make vacations a great experience.  From the planning to the packing to the actual trip, I'll show you how to get organized so you can begin (or continue) making great memories for your family.

My tip today is to make a dream list.  Where are all the places you want to go in the world?  What's in your own state that you've never been to?  Don't self-edit this list saying "that will never happen," just write it out.  Ask your husband.  Ask your kids.  

Once you've got a list, start penciling out which trips you might take in the coming years.  We started this list 10 years ago, knowing our oldest son (at that time 8-years-old) would experience a major life change with college or independent living.  We identified some places that were must-sees before he turned 18.  This summer my husband is taking our three sons on the last of those must-sees:  a canoe trip.

Now that you have that list, put it in a safe place.  Maybe even buy yourself a three-ring binder, put "Vacations" (or Holidays) on the spine, and tuck it in a bookcase where you won't lose it.

That's it for today.  Check in with me on Wednesday for the next vacation organizing tip.  Happy dreaming ... and planning.

In His Love,


No comments:

Post a Comment