Some of my happiest childhood memories are the few times that I traveled with my mom and dad for a family vacation. I remember playing in the sand for hours with my brother as we uncovered buckets full of mole crabs in the Outer Banks. And early morning walks with my parents’ through pastures in Chincoteague where we tried to catch a glimpse of the wild ponies. I even remember the less than stellar moments, like eating a crab cake for the first time in an ocean front smorgasbord, sadly, not a moment that I enjoyed.
Those trips were few and far between, but they made a lasting impact on me. When I had children, I vowed to travel with them as frequently as possible and for the most part, that’s what my husband and I have tried to do. It hasn’t always been easy, but traveling has been a priority for my family. There are three things I keep in mind when I’m planning a trip.
You don’t need to travel far from home.
Traveling doesn’t always need to take you across the country or around the world. It’s wonderful if it does, but don’t overlook what you have nearby. I love to travel like a local and explore my home state of Ohio. Staying close to home is perfect for quick weekend getaways and often easy on the budget.
Save money with FREE attractions so you can travel more.
Sometimes my family has a bit more time and prefer to travel outside our backyard. To make our trip affordable, we often seek out free and low-cost attractions. Traveling Mom has an entire section of things that you can do free in 50 states that is a helpful resource when it comes to family travel planning. I also seek out roadside attractions, state parks and national parks as well as utilize our reciprocal memberships to stretch our travel dollars.
Unrealistic expectations can ruin a vacation.
I don’t expect perfection when I travel with my family and they’ve learned not to expect that from me either. Sometimes things happen that are out of our control and sometimes we don’t handle things well that are within our control. I’ve learned to say I’m sorry, and to not allow little irritations to get under my skin. I try to remember that travel is all about building memories and relationships.