Both my husband and I love to travel so when we got to “T” in the A to Z Challenge, travel seemed like the obvious topic. Keeping with my previous themes, here are the The 3 Stages of Travel that we have been through since we met.
Stage 1 – Pre-children or as our friends called us back then, DINK’s (double income no kids). This seemed like simple times. We had no children, no mortgages, no pets and no worries. Travel was easy and helped cement our relationship.
Our first trip was Texas and Louisanna which involved the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans and a road trip through Texas. We followed that up the next year with a 21 day tour of Europe and the year after that a river cruise down the Nile in Egypt and a backpacking trip through Greece where we got engaged and shortly there after married.
My hope for my children is they have the opportunity to visit parts of the world before they settle into the responsibilities of life. Travel makes you understand the bigger picture of life and appreciate what you have at home.
Stage 2 – Travel with Children. This stage involved: the happiest place on earth a couple of times, Mexico a couple of times, and then our many camping trips. Each trip was very different in content, cost and level of relaxation but equal in quality time and memories.
We did Disneyland when the kids were 1&2 and again when they were 7&8. People told us the first trip would be a waste of money but I can tell you it was one of the best memories for us, as parents. It was a chance to see a child’s imagination while it is still innocent: they thought it really was Tinkerbell flying over the castle. They absolutely loved that trip! No they don’t remember it now, but we do so I would recommend it to all parents. The 2nd trip was more memorable for the kids and was still fun for us parents.
Our 2 trips to Mexico were both to all Inclusive resorts and they truly were vacations for the entire family. These were our most costly holidays but sometimes we all need time to relax and not worry about meals, cleaning or organizing activities. All inclusives are the perfect solution for a busy family, and the planning was simple even with endless options for kids clubs, resort amenities and tourist attractions. Plus, their buffets enable everyone to eat exactly what they want, whenever they want.
Then there were our early camping trips. These were by far the most work but worth it in memories and experiences. When the kids were really young we stayed in BC opting for lake trips with sunshine and swimming. As they got older we ventured out on longer road trips through the Alberta Badlands, Oregon Coast and Yellowstone National Park. These trips gave us many great memories while providing some educational opportunities.
Stage 3 – Travel with Teens. As the kids got older we got busier. 3 more Mexico’s all inclusive called out. We headed back to Disney for an older take on that experience. And added a trip to New York & Washington, DC in for good measure. In between all that we continued to camp; enjoying new areas and returning to our familiar favourites.
With teens travel is easier. As parents we could relax and enjoy the sights, pools, beaches and activities more. It was fun to watch our children become more independent and opinionated. They knew what they wanted to see and had ideas for where they wanted to go. One of our Mexico trips was planned almost entirely by our then 16 year old daughter… and she did a great job!
Camping became more about the company. We joined other families for trips and stayed closer to home trying to balance the kids’ work and sports schedules. We selected campgrounds with great beaches, lakes, weather and which had electricity & WiFi. We organized group games and activities that got everyone involved. We also started a yearly camping trip with a large group of families in hopes of keeping the kids coming back for years to come.
Each stage has been very different in organization, destination and content but they consistently provide memories and quality time that bring families together.
CampThatSite has provided a great place to document and share all these great memories.