This week, let’s talk about travel. Everyone has either already been on Spring Break, on Spring Break right now, or about to go on Spring Break. Travel is in the air and everyone is thinking about it. Traveling has always been a big part of my life. When we were kids, we’d go on vacations all the time. At least once a year we would either go to the beach somewhere, or go to Colorado to go skiing. Travel is important because it’s a way for us to escape the everyday hustle and bustle, right? It’s a way to disconnect with the world and reconnect with your family. It can be so totally awesome to get away from things and recharge your batteries a little bit. To have those fun, new and exciting experiences with the people you love most is really a great way to feel more alive.
So, in the interest of sharing more about myself with all of you, I’m going to share some stories of my travel history… starting with the worst vacation I ever went on. You know, when I sat down to think about this, I realized that I really haven’t been on any awful vacations. However, when I was about 10, and my little brothers were 8 and the twins were 6, we went on a ski trip, just like we did almost every year during Spring Break. To start off the trip, my little brother got hives. Terrible, terrible hives that just made him miserable the whole trip. Then, one of the twins broke his femur while he was racing down the tack with our other twin brother. He tried to go through the flag, one leg was in and one leg was out, the flag was taped to the poles and it completely cracked his femur in half! That little incident put a huge wrench in our vacation, and we ended up spending a lot of it in the hospital. My brother had to be flown back to Texas, and it was just a huge, huge mess. So, when I think about the worst vacation I was ever on, it was because of the events that happened, not because of where we were or who we were with.
Now, when I stop and think about the best vacations I’ve ever been on, this is a hard one! I have wonderful memories of great vacations when I was a child, then there were great vacations when I first got married, and now we’ve had some wonderful vacation since having children. Here’s a little bit about the three vacations that were the best in my mind.
As a child, my favorite vacations were always the ski trips. I know I just talked about one of them being the worst, and it was, but in general, they were always my favorite of the trips we took as a family. We had so much fun as kids growing up skiing on the mountain with our parents. Those trips were full of laughter while we were on the mountain, but also when we would get back to the house. We’d sit in the hot tub, cook dinner together and just enjoy the after-ski camaraderie.
When I married my husband, he was stationed in England in the Air Force, and so I got to move to England for a year. While we were in England, one of my most treasured trips was when my parents and brothers all came to England to see us. While they were there, we all went to Slovakia, which is where my Grandmother is from. We got the chance to see the house where my Grandmother grew up, and her brother was still living in the house. We got to see all of our family who still live in this tiny little town in Slovakia, and that trip was just amazing. It was a trip that took us back to our roots. To see where my Grandmother grew up and feeling connected to her and my family on that side on a whole new level. She was no longer alive when we made the trip, but that didn’t make it any less special. It was an amazing opportunity and to be able to experience that with my whole family and my husband, it just doesn’t get any better than that.
Since having children, our best family vacations have been taking our children skiing. We’ve taken them both skiing with us for the last four years now. They are always my favorite trips because I love watching them learn, I love the family unity and community that we have while we’re there, and, believe it or not, I love the road trips. We always drive, and sometimes it does get long, but we still have fun memories of getting there. These ski trips have a huge soft spot in my heart because it’s so special to get to take my children and do something with them that I did with my parents when I was there age. That to me is full circle and it’s so awesome.
Do you have a dream list of places you’d like to travel? I do. Honestly, my list is too long to go through the whole thing, but I think it’s so fun and important to touch base with your dreams now and again. These are my top 3 places on my dream board:
- Ireland- I am part Irish, so I just think it would be so cool to see that beautiful country.
- Australia- Honestly, I’m not looking forward to traveling to Australia, but wow, do I want to go see it. I want to experience it.
- Hawaii- I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, but I haven’t made it there yet. It is on my dream board!
Before I go, I want to share with you my 5 tips for making travel with your family easier. As I said above, I’ve done it for a few years now, and I’ve got a pretty good system in place. It can be stressful getting ready for a trip, so hopefully these tips will help to make the process a little bit easier.
- Make a packing list. Before you ever start packing, make a list of everything you’re going to bring, and I mean EVERYTHING. I write down what kind of clothes everyone is going to need and how many of each item they’re going to need, I write down everything we need for the car ride- from snacks to games to the lunches we pack. I write it all down and then I work off of that list. It is ultra helpful when you’re dealing with the stress of packing for a trip.
- Pack in stages. How many of us sit down the night before we leave and pack everyone’s bag at once? If you’re a mom, you know you’re packing not only your bag, but your children’s bags as well. Pack the kid’s bags a few days before you leave since they’re the easiest to pack for.
- Be prepared. This one is mostly applicable to road trips. My children inevitably, at least one of them, almost always throws up when we are on a road trip. So, I have learned to have trash bags stuffed everywhere! I’ve got bags stuffed in the sides of the seats, under the seats, in the glovebox, the console… everywhere! The minute they tell me they don’t feel so good, I tell them to grab a bag. Really try to think about what you might need that could make your trip easier. Is it a backpack full of fun things for your kiddo to carry on the plane with them, or snacks that you can take inside an amusement park? Anything you can bring with you to avoid paying an arm and a leg for when you arrive is a good thing!
- Only concern yourself with the things you can control. How many times have you been on a trip and something happens that is completely out of your control? The plane is delayed. You can’t control that. There’s horrible traffic. You can’t control that. Sometimes when things like that happen, it can totally set your mood into a tailspin. But why? Don’t let that happen. When things happen that are completely out of your control, do your best to let it roll off your back. Take a deep breath and continue to enjoy the people that you’re with.
- Forget perfect. Forget trying to manage every detail and just put your fun hat on! I am a planner who likes things in order. One of the things I’ve learned is that when I can go on vacation and just forget the schedule and forget everything being perfect, my whole attitude is different. I have so much more fun when I let go of the pressure of perfect.
I hope these tips help. I hope everyone out there has safe travels for Spring Break. I hope you enjoy your time with the people you love. Just don’t forget to enjoy the time that you have with the ones you love most. What a gift. Have FUN!
Y’all have a blessed day!