I am not well traveled.
I’ve been to like 10 states and Mexico.
But as I think back on my life, some of my fondest memories are of trips I’ve taken.
As you could probably guess, they’re not all fabulous trips to amazing places.
Some great trips have simply been to my grandma’s house for the night or for an overnight trip to a nearby city a few hours from where we are living.
The point isn’t that the location was so fabulous that I just HAD to have a good time.
Instead, the trip was fun because we had a good time together. Trips do that.
And then, sometimes they don’t.
I remember one camping trip we took with about twenty members of my husband’s family and my friend, Kara. The three of us drove about an hour and half from our home town and spent the night in shanty town of campers and tents.
I say we spent the night because I’m not sure I actually slept at all.
The family dog barked every 16 minutes – just long enough to start to fall asleep only to be jolted awake by the rumbling bark of a 150 pound German Shepard.
Someone snored. (To date no one or group has taken responsibility for the snoring, but there has been much finger pointing.)
Which may sound cute, but it wasn’t. It was loud. Bone rattling loud. At one point, I got up and walked to the restrooms several hundred feet away and I could still hear the rumble inside the building.
The snoring OR the dog would have been bad enough, but in concert they created a feedback loop of insomnia that could have easily led to violence.
So, as we drove home the next day, completely sleep deprived, my husband, Chip, was going like 40 mph in a 70 zone. Kara and I started joking about how an old man on a bike might pass us.
Chip imagined that it would be the old dancing man from those Six Flags commercials, and he commenced to singing The Vengabus song. He continued the un-welcomed performance every time we mentioned his speed.
As I type it now, I see that it’s not funny. But at the time, it was comedy gold.
We laughed for
hours days about that.
And now if anyone even hums the tune from those commercials, I laugh.
Great memories from a horrible trip.
So take the trip.
Even if you don’t have the time, energy, or money.
Trips are worth it.
1. No Time?
I know that seems like a trite answer, but very few people in America actually work seven days a week. There are days that you have off. Plan them in such a way that allows you to take a few days to relax alone or with people you love.
I wonder how much better the American family would be doing if each year we didn’t lose 658 million unused DAYS of vacation.
Vacation time works differently than home time.
While on vacation, you feel more relaxed which results in calmer, happier days. You have the time to disconnect from everything and recharge. You can detox from that horrible coworker, your inconsiderate boss, and the stresses that no one understands.
You can just relax together.
No one worries about the daily mundane activities that dictate your everyday life at home. And the necessary maintenance activities that you just have to do are better because you’re in a totally different place.
Doing laundry while on vacation at Disney?
Taking the time to get away from the usual, everyday life to reconnect with your family is necessary. If you feel worn down, chances are the rest of your family does too. You’ve got to make time to go somewhere different, and you should do it as often as you possibly can.
2. No Money?
This is really just a question of priorities for most people.
I know that there are some families that legitimately have no margin in their budgets. They never eat out, make impulse purchases, or even buy holiday gifts.
For families in this situation, hang in there. We’ve been there and it’s so hard. But if you keep working and taking the next right step that God shows you, it will get better.
For the rest of us, it’s about priorities.
If you drive through a fast food restaurant for dinner just once a week, that costs about $25.00. for a family of four. Over the course of a month, that’s $100.00. Over the course of a year, that’s $1,200.00.
You can stay at a value resort at Walt Disney World for four nights for about $500.
Two day park tickets for a family of four are about $700.
That’s what you spend driving through Burger King once a week.
Which one of those things do you think your family will remember more?
And I know that $1,200 doesn’t include the travel to Florida or food once you’re there.
But last year we flew with Spirit Airlines and round trip tickets for four of us were less than $350.
And as far as food goes, Disney does periodic promotions for free dining.
You get a free dining plan if you plan your trip at the right time.
And let me tell you right now, Disney food is WAY better than Burger King.
So, if you’re excuse for not taking trips is that you can’t afford to, look at your budget again. I’m not saying that you should go to Disney World every year. But surely you can save up enough money to make a weekend trip somewhere.
(Interested in taking a trip to Disney? Consider using a certified Disney Vacation Planner. Their services are totally free to you because Disney pays the agents, but they take all the stress out of planning your trip! We use Marsha with Crazy Imagination Travel and she’s awesome!)
3. No Energy?
It’s true. Parenting is draining in almost every possible way.
But it’s also true that you only have your kids as kids for a little while.
Did you know that you only get 940 Saturdays with your children before they turn 18?
As parents, we should treasure that time together and doing our darnedest to squeeze every ounce of joy from it.
Sometimes we get so worn down from all the other things in life that we forget our most important job is parenting.
We have the awesome responsibility to raise humans.
How they turn out is a pretty direct reflection of our efforts and raising them.
So take the trip even if you’re tired.
Vacations are energizing. Getting away from your regular routine and focusing on your family will give you energy. It will restore your faith in the future of humanity because you’ll get to just have fun and hang out with your child. You’ll get to see that they probably aren’t going to grow up to be a shiftless bum because they don’t EVER CLEAN THEIR ROOM. You’ll get to just play and have fun together and kids need that.
They need that from you.
They need to know that they’re more than just another responsibility that you have weighing on you.
They need to know that you’re capable of having fun with them.
Because they already know that your resources (time, money, and energy) are limited. Show them that you are willing to spend those resources on them.
Consider this – if your child is in school, you’ve got less than 600 Saturdays left to spend together before he isn’t a child anymore. How are you going to spend them?
Where would you love to take your family? Where do you wish you had taken them?