Why is it that the idea of planning and taking a family vacation makes you want to find your bed and put your head under a pillow until school starts back up again in September? The kids want to go somewhere exciting. All their friends are going to Disney World, as usual. They just saw the latest Pixar blockbuster, and they’ve got adventure on the brain. “Mommy has a headache” will only keep them at bay for so long.
Listen, you’re not a bad person! We understand. We know that you want to build memories with and for your kids. We also know that it can be really freaking stressful to figure out how and where and can we do this without taking out a loan? Back in the day, we kids crowded in the backseat of a Chevette and toured the country while our parents drank gin and tonics in the front (okay, the second half of that isn’t true). Nowadays, a minivan seems barely spacious enough to keep the peace. Also, the gas guzzling. Also, driving? In traffic? Nice vacation. But seven plane tickets? (Now you want that gin and tonic, yourself.) What are you supposed to do–hire a charter bus service?
Actually, that’s not a bad idea. It’s so not bad, it even made it into our top 3. Check out these brilliant ideas for having a truly fun, hardly stressful family vacation this summer.
1. Charter Bus Service. Like we said, this is actually a good idea for road tripping with the family, or a group of families. When parents don’t have to be in charge of their own van-o-gon, they can sit around and enjoy each other’s company. Other perks? Air conditioning. Bathrooms on board. Way cheaper than flying, and with a better view.
2. Trade Houses. Couchsurfing.com and 1sthomeexchange.com are two examples of websites that open up possibilities of trading your home with another family. Homes beat hotel rooms for comfort and space, and you get to experience actually living in a community rather than being an outsider. There are participants all over the world. Who knows, some Slovenian family might be dying to experience life in suburban Kansas (ever since the kids saw The Wizard of Oz). Have you ever seen the Slovenian coastline? Talk about beauty and adventure.
3. Camping. Maybe this isn’t novel, but it is a relatively inexpensive way to break from the routine and truly rejuvenate in nature. The trick is not to be those campers who have every possible gadget and comfort of home with them. Do not bring a DVD player. Do not bring video games. Do not bring the giant grill from the deck. Keep it simple, breathe fresh piney air, see real stars. And for the family on a very serious spending freeze–try camping in the back yard! Fresh air? Check. Real stars? Well, depends. But better than ceilings, and lots of fun.
Fact is, you don’t need a million different ideas, you just need one good one. We’ve given you three. The rest of the recipe is in those smiling faces around the dinner table when you announce your plans.
Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got charter bus service waiting outside…