As we prepare for a new year and start planning our family vacations, our team is reflecting on our travel experiences — and the valuable lessons we learned — in 2015.
“This year I learned how to work with my teenager’s school calendar rather than against it. Missing even a day of school means a lot of make-up work for him, and he hates it. So, we make the most of long weekends, and eke out extra hours on those half-days. If it’s a road trip, these few hours can give us a good head start on the driving. If we have to leave on a school day, he’ll go in for the first two periods, and I’ll pick him around 9 a.m.. At least he’ll get his science lab work done, since that can’t be done at home at all!” — Traci L. Suppa, Go BIG or Go Home
“As kids get older, it gets easier to get out and explore on your own. Find well-marked trails near your home for an easy weekend getaway with minimal costs. Trade in your on- week resort budget for a summer of camping and adventures. Try something new even if you don’t think your family will enjoy it. You may be surprised.” — Sarah A. Pittard, Solo Mom Takes Flight
“If you try something out of your comfort zone, you might inspire your children to do the same or at the very least make them smile.” — Stacey Zable
“For kids too old for a stroller, but too young for lots of walking (like my 7-year-old daughter), a foldable scooter that fits into a suitcase can be a lifesaver!” — Andrea Guthmann
“Take an inexpensive shoe bag with you — I bought mine for $7.99 in Target. Hang it in your room and keep books, shoes, tech devices, etc. in the pockets. Cleaning staff will kiss you.” — Wendy Irvine
“We as parents need to loosen up on the reins when traveling together as a family. This means not planning everything to a T, this providing the space and time to go off track and explore the nooks and crannies of a place. More importantly, loosening the reins means allowing your children to make decisions on behalf of the entire family. Give them a few options ahead of visiting a new town or as you embark upon a long road trip, and let them pick where to go and what to do every so often. They will feel a sense of empowerment and you will watch your kiddo slowly blossom into a seasoned traveler with a passion for the thrill of discovery.” — Jeff Bogle, Out With the Kids
“Cheerfully embrace the needs, interests and developing skills of your growing family members, and you will find joy, enlightenment and personal growth!” — Jackie Perrin
What did you learn while traveling with kids in 2015? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.