Family means a lot more than it used to. No longer is family just a couple of kids, a mom and dad, and a pet in a home with a white picket fence. Families have one parent, caregivers, same gender parents, extended family members in the home. And more.
Now, my family could be defined as ‘traditional,’ but even we stretch the old school perspective. My wife is adopted. Our oldest son was born before we were married. And we don’t have a picket fence.
While we escaped for the last weekend of spring break, it gave me some time to reflect on the start 2015 has had for us. We’ve been from Bermuda to San Francisco to Banff to Montreal to Los Cabos. All of the vacations different in their own way because of who went on them.
As summer vacation planning starts to take hold, think about your family and what kind of trip you could take. Growing up we took our long road trips with groups of families. 20 or 30 of us in a caravan of cars chatting on the CB from Kingston, ON to Cape Hatteras, NC. That was a family vacation.
Here are 5 other family vacations you might consider taking with whomever you call family.
1. One Parent And All The Kids
When my wife took off for a work retreat, I took the boys and headed out to the mountains. Just me, my two sons, and two nights of Rocky Mountain air to experience.
Getting away on your own with the kids breaks the routine. This is why I love to go camping with my boys. Whether I do it one-on-one, or take them away for our annual Father’s Day camping trip, just me and the boys is one of my favorite things to look forward to.
When you take these trips, you’re also giving your significant other a break. Whether it’s time alone at home, or their own solo vacation, getting out with just the kids is good for everyone.
2. One Parent No Kids
When one parent has all the kids, the other parent has none of the kids. When I take my boys camping, my wife likes to spend weekends reading, having pedicures, and just not having to deal with people under foot.
You can also use the time the other parent has the kids to schedule a weekend away of your own. I have an annual trip to visit some of the best men I’ve ever met at the Dad 2.0 Summit. It’s 3 nights away spent talking about family, learning how to be a better dad, and digging in to the details of my ‘blog business.’
Others might do a guys’ weekend golfing, a girls’ weekend in Vegas, or whatever. Taking time to reconnect with yourself or your peers is just as important as connecting with your spouse or family. Take it.
3. Parents Only
This one is the hardest to swing. We live about 600 miles away from our nearest family members, but my wife and I have still managed to have weekends in Vegas, a week in Brazil and Argentina, a trip to Iceland and, this year, an escape to Bermuda. We either fly to my parents’ place and drop the boys there before heading off on vacation, or we fly them here and get out of town.
This year’s trip to Bermuda gave us a chance to date again. We walked, wandered, relaxed, romanced, slept-in, and got addicted to Suits on Netflix. Get away on your own, if you can.
4. Whole Family
Of course going away as an entire family is still important. You’ll have fresh new shared experiences, you’ll break the routine, and you’ll explore the world together.
Our trips to Mexico have seen the boys explore new cultures, try new foods, and gain independence. Next summer we’re looking at Australia for all four of us. Go big or go home. When you raise world travellers, you make the world a smaller place.
You don’t even have to get that exotic for a family trip. A simple road trip can get the job done. Last year we did a 2 week one, the scenic route from Calgary to Vancouver. This weekend, we kept it a little shorter for a ski trip at Sunshine Village near Banff.
5. Kids and Extended Family
We have a family tradition where the grandparents take the kids to Disney when they’re 5 or 6. It started with me in 1975 and continues to this day. Zacharie went to Disney with his grandparents in 2013, and Charlie’s turn is coming up quickly. These kinds of vacations not only give the parents a break to have some date nights, but also deepen those important bonds with grandparents, especially if you don’t live in the same town.