We didn’t go on vacations when I was a kid. We lived near enough to Branson that we made day trips to Silver Dollar City and White Water most years (which we loved). Once when I was in middle school, we went to Destin. We drove the whole way from Missouri. My brother and I still had a great childhood. I don’t feel as if we missed out by not having vacations. But, I’ve been feeling lately that family vacations will be more important for my own kids. The level of distraction from social media and the pressures of school continue to grow. And I’ve been working on making a conscience effort in my own home to focus more on experiences rather than things.
I’ve heard time and time again that people only regret the trips they don’t take. But I could never shake the feeling that I couldn’t justify the cost of vacation. We’ve been lucky so far to be able to go on some great trips without having to pay much. We’ve joined my mom and aunt on multiple beach trips, and last week we stayed with friends in the Smokey Mountains in a cabin that they recently bought. This fall, we’ll be going to Disney and are fortunate to be able to stay with my in-laws at their time share. The trip will still be pricey, but significantly less than it could be. I’m so grateful for these opportunities and the memories we’ve created.
While we were walking around in downtown Gatlinburg, I started thinking about all of the unique places I would like to visit with my family. We’ve committed to setting aside money each month to make those dreams a reality. There are a LOT of other things I would like to do with that money. But I don’t imagine that any of the ‘things’ I could buy would mean as much as the memories we’ll make. I’m hoping that every year we’ll have the opportunity to go somewhere, even if it’s a long weekend trip to somewhere within a few hours away.
After a few Google searches, I came up with a basic list of great sounding places to research in more detail and divide up based on age appropriateness. A few of the places that made the cut:
- San Antonio, TX
- Washington DC
- Oahu, HI
- San Diego, CA
- Mosquito Bay, Puerto Rico (the bioluminescent beach!)
I look forward to memories of kids jumping in the waves, exploring museums, and even being super bored and relaxing a good bit of the time. And I’m willing to give up some of the stuff I could have bought to create those lifelong memories.