Keeping family vacations simple.

2:57 PM

   Recently my husband and I took our two toddlers with us on a trip up to Seattle to visit friends when it suddenly occurred to me....THIS is the way to vacation with little ones.

   Ever since our children were born we've tried to travel almost as much as we normally would.  Trips to Iowa to visit my family or to attend a high school graduation, out-of-state weddings and several cross-country trips to the sunny beaches of Florida, a mission trip to Canada, a quick trip to Pheonix, and other places as well.  And while I am grateful for each and every one of these memories and I'm glad we went on them together as a family, they certainly didn't always go smoothly and without some setbacks and major headaches.  

  Enter, the beauty of the short road trip.   For this last one, we were only gone for a few days, driving about five hours each way, and everything went so smoothly I was left wondering why we don't do this more often.  So, here are my top 5 reasons why short road trips are the new "vacation".

1.   Minimal planning.  Anyone that knows me knows I am much less of a planner than I am a "hey-let's-just-wing-it-and-see-what-happens" person, and so short trips are right up my alley.  With little-to-no planning involved, you truly can just make it up as you go along, and it ends up being just as much fun and good memories as that Disney trip that took 6 months to plan.  Or at least I think so because we haven't been to Disneyland/world yet. :)

2.  It's cheap.  You're not flying anywhere, gas is cheap right now, and we stayed with friends, so lodging was free.  We did the touristy thing for one day, but for the most part our kids were thrilled to just stay at home and play with their little friends, and we were equally thrilled to stay home and watch football and play board games.  So no expensive theme parks, rides, zoos, etc were needed, and our wallets were much happier for it.  Plus since you're not traveling as far, you're not taking off as much work.  Again, happy wallet.

3.  Easy packing.  I thought I hated packing before I had kids.  Then, just when I had mastered the art of minimalistic packing and could go almost anywhere with just a carry-on, I had two kids and I laughed at what I once found difficult.  Kids require WAY TOO MANY THINGS and so the shorter the trip and the shorter the distance, the easer it is to pack for.

4.   Less risk.  For example....say you book an expensive trip to Paris, and you both (or the kids) come down with the flu and you all end up stuck in your motel room for most of the trip instead of seeing the Eiffel tower.  I mean....does it even get any worse than that?  But if you just took a short road trip to a place near you (in our case, Seattle, California, etc) than you really didn't have as much to lose.  We were in Florida one time and Randy was sick for about two days and it nearly killed me that the poor guy had to be holed up inside a dark little bedroom while we were all the way across the country and those white sandy beaches were mere MINUTES away.  But if you were just a few hours up the coast?  Not as big of a deal, and since you're so close, you can always just go home if things get bad enough.

5.  Easy on the calendar.  As I mentioned before, I'm of the "let's-wing-it" variety.  And so it is much easier for me to say "SURE!" when my husband comes home and proposes that we spend the weekend at the coast, than it is for me to painstakingly plan out a huge trip months and months in advance.  Of course those are fun too, but if those were my only option, we would go on trips WAY LESS.

   So there you have it.  My humble opinion on why short, local road trips are an awesome option for your next family vacation.  Now it's your do you do family vacation?  What are some of your all-time favorite trips, and what are some that you would never want to repeat? I'd love to hear.:)

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  1. We almost always take trips within driving distance...except for the one to Disneyland (which doesn't take that long to plan, I promise :) ). I do have to say Disneyland is a highlight- Addie Mae still talks about it and she was only two (and free) when we went.

    Anyway, we are also fans of close trips; cheaper and easier but still lots of fun, like you said. We usually organize and plan out ahead no matter where we go though, but I think that is some of the fun! We take an occasional last-minute overnight-or-two trip, but not that often.

    Our never-to-repeat vacation is Ocean Shores, WA. We went in the off-season (because we don't clam) and it was not impressive. The place we stayed was really nice, but there was hardly anything to do/visit (a run-down, dirty family "fun" center and a restaurant or two). We spent time on the beach, at the pool, and the park, but we stayed too long for having a baby and toddler and not much as far as interesting things to get out and see and do.


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