Many families get so caught up in having kids, working hard to buy a house and getting involved with all their kids’ activities at school, that they think they either don’t have time for a vacation, or that they can’t afford one. How important are family vacations? They are really important for several reasons and the question is not can you afford one, but rather, can you afford not to take one?
When we were kids my dad always took us on Sunday rides and during the summer he and Mom always packed us up for a two week summer vacation. We could afford the two week summer vacation because we went camping.
All five of us kids in one tent with Mom and Dad. We had a huge tent where we all put our sleeping bags and often times there was a play pen in the middle of the tent with the youngest of us in it. Each night a story was told around the fire place before we went into the tent to sleep. We cooked on a portable Coleman stove or over the open fire and ate at the picnic table. Dishes were washed in a pan of hot water we heated up over the open flame. The days were filled, with swimming, hiking, fishing and just plain running around.
In the winter when it was cold and snowy my parents took us to museums or an outing of sledding, followed by hot chocolate at the local diner. I thought every family did this and it wasn’t until I got a little older that I realized that this wasn’t the case. I also realized that those kids who didn’t do these things were not as family oriented as our family. On weekends everyone went their own way and in the summer everyone took their own time off separately.
As I grew up I realized what a positive influence this family activity time had on my brothers and me and vowed to do it when I got married and had kids. What I learned from my Dad and Mom is that not only are vacations and family time important but they are an important part of learning the proper family values as well as bonding with my siblings. The following are reasons why families should take vacations and spend family time together.
Not only are vacations fun but they are educational without trying to make them educational. I learned so many things on family trips and the best thing about it is I did not realize that this was taking place till afterwards. My dad always kept track of mileage and gas per miles in a log he kept in the car when we traveled. Each time we stopped for gas or for a bathroom break it was logged into the book. We would put how far we traveled, how much gas we used, and where we stopped. We logged in the mileage as well as how much gas we got. He also gave each one of us kids chance to be the navigator. Not only did this give us the chance to ride in the shotgun seat but we were in charge of the map. I bet I can read a map better than most of my peers today.
I also have probably one of the best kept logs as to how much gas I use and how many miles I travel. We also learned how to start a camp fire, how to cook on one, how to plan a hiking trip and what to wear on one as well as many more valuable lessons. The lessons I learned were bountiful and made me a better a person.
Family Bonding Time
When you are at home attending school and after school activities and your parents at work you have little time to spend together. When you are all at home, chances are you are all overextended and worrying about getting homework done and your parents are just trying to get things done like laundry or the lawn mowed so they can get up and go to work the next day. When you are on vacation or an outing none of these extraneous factors interfere and you can all relax together. This goes a long way towards bonding with your siblings and parents. I can remember camping one time and each of us kids had an air mattress in the water and we invented the submarine game. We were each on top of our own and the goal was to sink each other and the last one on top of theirs was the winner. I did a lot of bonding on that vacation.
Your doctor is always telling you to relax, distress and take some time off. How many parents and kids do this? During the year it is difficult to do this so taking day trips during the year and then a vacations allows you to do this; it allows you to unwind and reduce your stress.
It is important that every family create memories. The family is built and grows on these and they will be passed down from generation to generation. They not only help your family grow but they will help create a sense of cohesiveness between each generation.
There are many more great things that happen when families take time for day trips and family vacations. I hope what I have shared with you convinces you how important they are so that in the future you won’t ask yourself if you can afford a vacation, but rather can we afford not to take a vacation. Remember, as my Dad and Mom taught us kids, vacations do not have to be expensive. The day trips when we went to the beach and had a picnic, swam and played games all day, meant as much as the much more expensive trips that a lot of families take to Disney World or similar places.