To Go or to Stay

Some of the great memories I have with my family are of going on summer trips.  They were always highlights compared to the holidays when I always seemed to get sick.  But with the state of the economy affecting many families, taking a vacation becomes a big question.

I definitely encourage doing something together as a family, even if it is just 3 day trips this summer (1 each month).  Maybe they’re trips to nearby local parks or nearby national parks to have a picnic lunch, walk around, play Frisbee, take a hike or do some other activity there for the majority of the day. Maybe it is going to a local beach or lake that you can make into a day trip.  Basically, it’s time spent together as a family, and it’s doing something special as a family that you don’t typically or frequently do.

Another option is to take that trip. Maybe you don’t spend it in 5 star hotels and at the most expensive restaurants, or going to every scenic attraction you can, but you do spend that quality time away from home with your family.  If you’re in a divorced situation, maybe look for ways you can split up the trip or take two shorter trips so the kids can go on trips with both parents and the money will be less of an issue.  Actually taking the trip can not only be great family time, but it can be great relaxation and rejuvenation time for the parents too.

If those just don’t sound possible for you, what about a trip every 2 or 3 years?  You can be honest with your kids and say that you don’t have the money or can’t go this year for whatever reason but that next year or the year after you can’t wait to go on a nice trip.  Maybe even get the kids involved in paying for it.  Instead of giving them the money for chores and assorted tasks they do around the house, or for doing well in school, you can put money in a vacation jar.  They will be happy to contribute to going on a trip they are looking forward to.  (And it will also teach them the value of saving money and planning for the future.)

So whatever you decide to do this summer, I encourage you to get out and enjoy the beauty of nature, or the fun of an amusement park with your family.

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