Family Road Trips by Age

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In this first installment of our 2018 road trip series, let’s tackle the all-important question–destination.

Baby

Oyster.com recommends taking infants to Norway! Sounds crazy? Well, their point is that babies don’t really remember. This is one of the last chances you have to go somewhere you want to go. After this, your child will start factoring in more. If this is your first child it may not seem like it, but in many ways, your life is less impacted by your infant now then it’s going to be when he/she has the ability to go find trouble whenever they aren’t entertained.

rv-2788677_1920So how are you going to road trip to Norway? Well, you won’t, but the point still stands. As does Oysters next recommendation. Take the train. Lot’s of places you explore with lots of sitting and resting while you get to the next location. That’s not quite how the train works in the US, but the point is a good one. This could be a good time to try out an RV. Cruze America offers the chance to take a small RV anywhere and the added flexibility of being able to just stop when you need to could make it a good option.

GoRVing has a ton of resources and destination recommendations.

Toddler

Toddlers need to experience smells, textures and tastes to be entertained, making the beach the perfect option. There’s something about the coast. It slows you down. The rhythmic melody of the waves. The squawking of seagulls overhead. The smell of salt and fish in the air. Everywhere you turn there is something completely new for your toddler to experience.sand-166897_1920

It doesn’t have to be an ocean to have a beach. If you live farther from the coast than you want to be couped up with a two-year-old. Pick a lake or river with a sandy shoreline. Just the feel of sand between their toes is great and sand castles are a chance to create, or better, DESTROY!

Don’t forget your floaties. If the water is too cold or the waves too strong, the hotel will probably have a swimming pool and this is a great chance to learn to swim.

Elementary

Disneyland/World! It’s time for your child to make a life memory and to believe in magic. Life’s realities are going to settle in all too soon and this is your chance to take a stand for the things that can’t be proven, (but that we’re better off believing in any way.)

disneyland-105271_1920.jpgIt’s not only aimed at entertaining kids, it’s safer than many forms of vacation. For all the hype about kids being stolen at these theme parks, the reality is that they are hyper on guard for it. Your kids will also have the stamina to stand in the hot sun now.

Reputable Hotel accommodations are close by. Transportation isn’t too big a hassle with shuttles. And they can rent you things like strollers if you don’t want to lug it back and forth.

If this is a short section its because I don’t really have to really have to sell you on Disneyland. If your daughter is a princess, or your sun is Tarzan all you need to know is the best age to take them.

Middle School

This is the age when adventure really takes point. Opportunities to engage with active learning could make the difference between your child enduring school and your child falling in love with learning.

Camping can make it more affordable to pull off a series of smaller vacations, which could look like a long summer tour or one extended trip each year for four years. Either way it’s worth spending some money on proper equipment to make your experience more enjoyable. mt-rushmore-2437860_1920.jpg

The two factors that make camping a great adventure are 1) the experience of camping itself and 2) the destination you go to.

No matter where you go, camping provides a chance to learn skills like fire building, hiking/orientation, plant identification, animal observation, fishing, and so on. Middle school kids thrive when given challenges so don’t be afraid to include an element of danger or an obstacle to overcome. Of course, at the end of the day temper your efforts with the reality that this is still meant to be a vacation. Don’t exhaust your kids or turn it into a chore.

Destination ideas include…

Arches, Bryce Canyon, Zion, etc. etc. The list is endless.

High School

It may actually be time to buy that timeshare resort. We’ve all known people who felt burnt by there timeshare, and people who thought it was the best investment they ever did. It is true that vacations, in general, are something you’re either into or you just never quite fit them in.

pool-2128578_1920So now that the kids are only a few years from college why would you plunk down that kind of money? Well, because your vacation needs and your teen’s vacation needs are now a world apart and you want to rack up wins wherever you can. Pick the right location and your kids won’t mind hanging out with mom and dad through their first few years of college even.

Most resort packages include the ability to take friends along, giving your teen the option of a friend. (Try to steer them toward the ones that are a good influence.) This allows you to get your message while your kids are at a kids-only pool. The ability to vacation at a different pace than your teen while still combining for an excursion or meals will ease tensions for both parties.

Well, we hope this has given you some things to think about. It’s never a bad idea to have a game plan for your time off in the next dozen years. Even if you ultimately opt for something different, the goal is to be intentional about your opportunities to connect with your kids. They aren’t young for very long and it goes quickly. Up to 80% of your time with them happens before they turn 18.

If you are wondering where all this vacation money is coming from, consider how much money you can waste overpaying for vehicles, or repairing a lemon. Have your cars inspected before you buy them by a reputable inspection service that works for you like our sponsor Tire Kickers.

 

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