Every September, millions of school-age children are asked to write about how they spent their summer vacation. If your child is anything like mine, he makes mention of summer camp and the town pool. I correct him at back to school night when I remind him of our travel through the jungles or jet skiing in Jamaica. How quickly they forget.
As a child, my family (Mom and I) traveled whenever it was possible. It was just the two of us, so we were often invited to join our friends on their family vacations. My earliest memory of travel was when I was seven years old. My mom drove us to Disney World. It was awesome! Sometimes looking back, I don’t know how my mom did it. She has been a single parent since I was two years old. I grew up in a nice town, Montclair, NJ, but we certainly weren’t a well-off family (a common misconception). My mom has always been a hard worker, so when a church group had a bus ride to Disney it seemed like the perfect time for us to go. Unfortunately, the cost of the trip was too expensive for my mom, so she drove us instead of riding on the bus. I don’t know how she did it. She drove day and night.
Although we only went to Disney once, we frequently vacationed in the Poconos with friends. Now I have come to realize that the Poconos was our version of the Hamptons. Sometimes we stayed in deluxe stationary trailer homes, other times lovely two and three story homes. Each time, we were happy; no matter where we were.
As a parent, I have new expectations, requirements, and desires for travel. Before having my son, I would make plans with my girlfriends for both luxury and frugal getaways. Now, I am more interested in my son knowing that there is more to life than New Jersey (where we live). Jordan and I have visited the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Turks & Caicos, Panama, as well as, Hollywood, The Palm Desert, and Las Vegas. Some of the places we have traveled are simply because my son Jordan has an amazing bucket list.
If your family has decided to take the plunge into international travel, I recommend the Bahamas as your first destination. The Bahamas is easy to travel to for most families living on the east coast of the United States. If you live in the mid-west or west coast, I would recommend Los Cabos or Cabo San Lucas, Mexico as an ideal family vacation destination. Traveling with children can be complex, so I usually recommend the first vacation flight to be for fewer than 4 hours.
The Bahamas has several islands to visit, but Nassau is one of the most popular places to visit. This island has many resorts that are all inclusive, meaning your hotel stay, food, and beverages are included in the price of travel. Booking through a travel agency often means this vacation will also include pre-arranged transfers to hotel and airfare to the destination. Most times, all-inclusive travel is better for families who are budgeting their vacation.
Atlantis is located on Paradise Island, Bahamas, and is a great option for families with a larger budget. Set on a beautiful beach, Atlantis is surrounded with exotic pools, waterslides, and an underground aquarium.
If you decide to travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, I strongly recommend staying at the Riu Palace. This resort sits on a well-manicured beach and has lovely, well-appointed rooms. There are activities for children, and the staff keeps us adults happy near the pool. Have you ever done the Cupid Shuffle poolside in paradise? Even if you are looking to relax and not engage in activities, there are plenty of places to sink into oversized furniture and read a book, hit a few rounds of golf, or my favorite, spend the day in the spa.
Instead of big gifts during the holidays and birthday, our family keeps a vacation planned. Do you think your family would make the change to enjoy family vacations versus gifts at every occasion? My son enjoys collecting stamps from the different countries we visit, and he has never asked for gifts instead of travel. (He, of course, gets gifts, too).
– Summer travel/vacations can bring extra happiness to your life.
– Travel can provide an awesome bonding experience.
– Your family can be global citizens.