Jump to content

Menu

Big families--are vacations worth the hassle?


Moxie
 Share

Recommended Posts

I think not!

 

DH is taking next week "off" (kind of a joke since he'll still have to check email and answer his phone) which is great but it means he is working until 8 every night this week.

 

We're thinking about taking the family somewhere for a few days. Any ideas what a toddler and a 12YO will enjoy at the same time?? Here's a hint--there is nothing!!

 

If we do go away for a few day, I need to make sure the laundry is caught up. I also need to plan some food that we can take with us to eat in the (over-priced, crowded) hotel room because eating out with 5 kids is neither fun or cost effective. Are we having fun yet??!? I also need to get the oil changed and clean out the world's filthiest van.

 

I'm sure my kids will have fun. That's all that matters, right???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly, my thought would be the beach.  Is there a lake or any other type of beach you could get to?  Kids can run around doing preferred activities, in the water, in the sand, playing a game, even the adults get some relax time when they get a chance to sit.  It's what my family did growing up.  When we were at the beach the various ages could do what they preferred there.  Some of the other trips out did not go over so well when trying to accommodate a range of ages.  The young ones couldn't participate or the olders were bored.

My other suggestion would be a destination with some type of interesting aquarium/animal show. 

Hope you can find something everyone can enjoy at least a little bit.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I "only" have four and I feel the same way that you do.

 

Pert of our problem is that my dh and I are both big time introverts and we have 3 of our kids who are SO NOT.  We just get worn out on the drive to wherever from the constant chatter and interacting.  Dh and I can seldom get much time if we are not home to regroup, leaving the two of us irritable and short with everyone. Add to that all of the dollar signs that pop into my head every time that we eat or do an activity...it's not pretty.

 

However, I do enjoy traveling with my dh. He doesn't feel the need to talk nonstop and gives me lots of space.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We do things like drive to a lake that is 2 hours away and rent a house - this allows us to cook our own food/do laundry.   Same for the beach, we rent a condo.  Best vacation ever was Disney -- we rented a condo with a washer so I didn't have to pack a full week for each person.  This summer we are driving 20 hours across 4 states and will visit museums, parks, etc. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with renting an apartment at the beach. I've only got 3 kids, but 2 of them have autism, so we face the same issues. Everyone likes the beach. I love being able to cook breakfast and keeping sandwich supplies and drinks in the fridge. I love having a washer! It makes our vacations peaceful and means that dh and I can also have a good time. If you're not near a beach, I'd try to get a cabin near a lake. You do have young kids, so it won't be totally restful yet, but it will still be fun. Once everyone is a strong swimmer, you'll be able to kick back and relax.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We definitely don't qualify as a big family since we only had 3 and they are all within 4 years of each other, but we considered vacation (or other) trips a big part of our guys' educational experience and planned accordingly.  Some of the things that were absolute "musts" on our bucket list for our kids to see included:

 

The ocean - from more than one location to get an iota of an idea of just how big they are

Tide pools

Palm trees

Pine forests

Hardwood forest

Plains

Deserts (preferably more than one type)

Snow - real stuff, not man-made

Sand dunes

Lakes - from small to Great Lakes

Waterfalls of different varieties

Rivers of different varieties (salt/fresh, large, small)

Mountains - both eastern and western as they are different

Local critters of all sorts (wild critters)

Volcanoes - both active and older

 

I'm sure I'm missing some things - but things along these lines...

 

Then also (but these are often better when your kids are older):

 

Different cultures

Some city experiences (not our favorite and more costly, so these were limited, but DC was a biggie)

Important battlegrounds (Gettysburg, Valley Forge, etc)

Various historical sites (Underground railroad, Trail of Tears, etc)

 

Some extra "fun ones":

 

Southernmost part of the US (both in HI for overall and FL for continental)

Easternmost part of US (in ME)

Highest points in various states

Lowest point in western hemisphere (Death Valley)

4 Corners

See 7 States (from the top of Lookout Mt in GA)

and stuff like that.

 

We've enjoyed our travels and it's done more for my guys' education than learning about the same things in books.  We shopped in many grocery stores as we traveled to save money over eating out and we often camped to save money over hotels.  My guys have played with children from many different places at local playgrounds where we'd picnic after getting grocery store food.  We all pitched in to do laundry at coin operated places en route.  We often met more local folks this way.

 

We'd often come home to relax, but that's ok... ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Another vote for rent a house at the beach. Our favorite and routine vacation is renting a beachfront house. Everyone has a great time. In fact, we go for a month (in the fall, which is cheaper than a week in the summer). No one ever gets bored. We have been doing it since our oldest was a baby, and she is a 16 now, and we ha e never had problems entertaining anyone.

 

Beach, chairs, umbrella, sunscreen, a few shovels and boogie boards, and you are golden.

 

If we couldn't do the beach, I would rent a house or cabin on a lakeshore. I would want a swimming beach or dock at the house and some boats for the older kids. Floaties, water, all fun.

 

I always kept the young kids in life vests at beaches and lakes, fwiw. This allowed me to relax!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We only have four children, so I guess we aren't a big family. But, when the boys were little, since they are only 3 years apart from top to bottom, it was a bit draining. However, I always considered it good for them, and kind of sucked it up laughingly telling dh he should give me a private vacation after taking the kids on vacation. That said, dh was VERY good with the kids and helping, which made it better.

 

The best vacations were the ones where we rented a townhouse on the beach. It was fully outfitted including a washer and dryer. So, I packed a minimal amount of clothes, and groceries. We could make meals there, walk all of 30 ft. to the beach, cook out on the beach, etc. This was in an area with nature hikes, and an outdoor amphitheater where many a family friendly play or concert took place for a piddly sum of ticket money. We also took excursions to the fish hatchery. It didn't take a lot of work to keep up with the laundry, and dh always helped with that as well.

 

The worst vacations were camping. Tent camping. Cooking over the camp stove. Heating water to wash dishes. Hanging clothes and towels up on a clothesline in a very shady state park and trying to get them to dry. Entertaining little ones while dh and my dad fished.

 

So, the rule was, if the guys planned a week of "camping/fishing" and wanted mom, the kids, and me to come along, then we women got a week later on in the year in which there was very little for us to do work wise and the guys spent most of their time entertaining kiddoes so mom and I could explore quilt stores, go to museums without littles, have a few days at the beach NOT chasing children, and napping, reading, or whatever. Dad, dh, and my brother were always VERY good about making good on this promise.

 

That said, due to our 4-H summer commitments and rocketry team, we don't all get to vacation together like that anymore and sometimes I miss it. It would be much easier now since dd is grown and married. She and her hubby would be off doing their own thing, and our boys are all teens so they can help cook, clean up, and tidy as well as do their own laundry.

 

I highly recommend you rent something at the beach or mountains where you can cook and do laundry, and then have hubby help with all of that in the evening. It also helps to enjoy nature and not focus on having a lot of formal activities to attend, or high priced places to go.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sometimes I joke with dh that a little known fringe benefit of traveling with our large-ish family (5kids) is how relaxing being back at home can feel once it is all over. ;)

 

Makes you appreciate what you have. Lol

 

On a more serious note-I have a large age span and I do think vacations are worth the hassle- but you do have to rearrange your thinking and not expect them to be the same kind of relaxation for mom and dad as holidays were before kids.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On a more serious note-I have a large age span and I do think vacations are worth the hassle- but you do have to rearrange your thinking and not expect them to be the same kind of relaxation for mom and dad as holidays were before kids.

 

Yes, bottom line, vacations with kids are more of a hassle than vacations without kids.  Even with older kids, there's a lot that the parents have to do even if the DC pack their own bag.

 

Still worthwhile though, but yes, a lot of work.  I can see why the rich and famous have their assistants handle most of of it  :glare:. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A well planned trip is worth it to us. But we like traveling in general and really REALLY wish we could afford to travel a LOT more.

 

Keeping up on laundry and house/car maintenance is just part of life whether in going out of town or not. It's not like I don't have to do those things anyways.

 

We go for hotels that serve breakfast, eat sack lunches, and enjoy dinner out.

 

I wouldn't mind renting a fully equipped cabin/house, but I'm not lugging everything I need to cook clean sleep on for 12 people. I literally can't fit it in the van with luggage even if I wanted to.

 

We always plan a mix of things. Usually something calmer in the morning and something that allows little ones to burn lots of energy in the afternoon. Or vice versa. A zoo or smusement park in the morning and a museum or theatre in the afternoon/evening for example. And we plan in decompression time.

 

Like most things with a large family, it takes more planning

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a wide age group here as well (and the youngest has special needs -- so her interests and abilities are closer to a 5yo than an 11yo) and we take a vacation at least once a year -- sometimes we take 2 5-day weekend vacations and sometimes we take 1 10-day vacation -- it just depends on finances and other commitments. 

 

We usually go to the beach or Disney World -- the older ones are responsible enough that I can just send them off with a cell phone and say "Meet us for lunch at XYZ at 123 time" and they can do their own thing...leaving us with the youngest, doing her thing.

 

We don't stay in hotel rooms as a rule because most of them require 2 rooms for a family of 6 and that can get expensive quick.  We usually rent a condo or a house -- if you go off-season you can rent them by the night (so you could go for a weekend or something like that)...in-season usually requires at least a 7-night stay.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure the kids have fun on our vacations, and I think dh does, but I find it a tremendous amount of work and come back exhausted.

 

We have gone to the beach several times and between dh waiting until the day before we leave to book a cabin, the sand all over everything, the mosquitoes, the food we have to take....I'd just as soon stay home!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We're thinking about taking the family somewhere for a few days. Any ideas what a toddler and a 12YO will enjoy at the same time?? Here's a hint--there is nothing!!

 

If we do go away for a few day, I need to make sure the laundry is caught up. I also need to plan some food that we can take with us to eat in the (over-priced, crowded) hotel room because eating out with 5 kids is neither fun or cost effective. Are we having fun yet??!? I also need to get the oil changed and clean out the world's filthiest van.

 

I'm sure my kids will have fun. That's all that matters, right???

 

 

For me (for us) vacations are well worth it!! I wouldn't do a hotel room though; I'd rather have a rental where we can make our own meals, youngers can go to bed before the olders (and these days I can go to bed before the older! Ha!).  To keep costs down further, we've always tried to go off-season.  Everything gets less expensive once school time or near-school-time comes around.  

 

And eat easy! Don't cook overly difficult meals that will take away from your relaxation. Easy no-cook breakfasts and lunches with low-prep dinners make for a relaxing vacation.  

 

Things to please a toddler and 12-year-old?  We've done everything from Washington DC to the mountains to the beach with kids ranging in those ages.  What do you do as a family now? My kids are used to being outside and generating fun and while we do lots of hiking, beach-going, museum stops, sightseeing, biking, etc on vacations, there is no expectancy that we will have to provide entertainment. 

 

Yes, there is always work to clean, pack and prepare for the vacation (both at a vocational job and home) and work to clean, unpack and re-enter routine once you get home, but I have seen our vacations through the years as family bonding experiences, adventures together and times of rest from the phone/demands/urgencies of life.  

 

HTH,

Lisa

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Those of you using the "b" word, please stop, you're killing me! If you look at a map, we are as far from any beach as you can get--days of driving. We do have some "lakes" (mud holes) we could go to but that isn't DH's idea of fun.

 

We are going to a city so no cabin to rent. We do stay at a hotel with breakfast (the highlight of vacation for my kids is the sugar cereal) so that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

We're thinking about taking the family somewhere for a few days. Any ideas what a toddler and a 12YO will enjoy at the same time?? Here's a hint--there is nothing!!

Why not? My kids love going anywhere new and anywhere involving nature. We don't do tent camping because it isn't worth it but we do go cabin and yurt camping and the kids absolutely love it. Camping at the ocean is our favorite. Yes I 100% think vacations are worth it!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Those of you using the "b" word, please stop, you're killing me! If you look at a map, we are as far from any beach as you can get--days of driving. We do have some "lakes" (mud holes) we could go to but that isn't DH's idea of fun.

 

We are going to a city so no cabin to rent. We do stay at a hotel with breakfast (the highlight of vacation for my kids is the sugar cereal) so that helps.

I'm sorry I missed that part. I'm sure your state has some kind of state park or national park for you to visit right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

See now Disneyland. My Dh keeps saying, "let's save for Disney!" and I'm saying, "heck no! I'd rather put a fork in my eye." The 24/7 lines, noise, sugar, crowds would drive me insane.

No thanks.

 

Martha, it seems like a huge money sink. However, we did it once. We won't do it again. It was worth every penny for the huge extravagance it was for my family. It has to be planned ahead to deal with crowds -- we went at the end of January. we had the added "benefit" of having a child with a disability so we got a special pass too. It was great because there was something for everyone (shows, thrill rides, etc) and I felt safe letting an older child wonder off on his own. We started the day together, split up after lunch and met for dinner. Oh, and WDW does food allergies, so I did not spend one second thinking about food. That was when I realized how much of my brain at the point had been devoted to figuring out food for each meal.

 

I won't do it again, but well worth the family memories it created. Everyone really did have a great time--even my dh who like you wanted to stick a fork in his eye. His happiness was really about seeing how happy his dc were, not something we take for granted because we've been through some tough things.

 

OP, I agree a beach or lakefront vacation might suit your family well. You can bring some meals you've made and frozen ahead so you don't cook every day (or at all).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

While I have no practical advice (sons are under age three and we are broke as the day is long!) but regarding the question of it being worth it--YES!.  "Stuff" wears out but the memories of time spent together (good and bad) will stay forever.  Dh and I have decided to dial back birthdays and holidays and just plan a trip or outing all together (taking loads of pictures) instead.  I know how hard it is taking just two out and about, however.  Any way you can drag, I mean invite, along a family member or friend to help out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We traveled to Yellowstone this year and everyone loved it. We stayed in a cabin at a KOA. We are looking at going to a different national park next month for a long weekend. We also love the beach and places like Disney land/World or SeaWorld.

 

We have stayed at Residence Inns with 4 or 5 kids. They have 2 bedroom suites. (Often for less than $150) Free breakfast and a full kitchen.

We also try to do a range of activities. Some appeal to the older kids and some to the younger. If an activity can't be done by the youngers we split up.

Travel with many children is tiring but then so is life with them. We find travel well worth the effort.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My favorite family vacation is going to family camp.  I don't have to cook or clean!  I love it.  Lots of fun for the whole family.

 

My 2nd fave weekend recently was renting a beach cottage right on the beach ...  I still had to do food and clean up more, but it was so relaxing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I usually vacation with my parents and sometimes sisters. Mom spoils us with an extra share of cooking and cleaning (and some child care!) so it's almost like a Normal vacation, lol.

 

As for age gaps, we only do day trips, but all my kids (2 to almost 15) love Knoebel's Amusement Park. Very affordable.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wait, so what is the question? I am confused. I thought you wanted suggestions on WHERE to go and what to do, not that you already had a place to stay and a location but wanted suggestions.

 

If you already have a place planned, they go online and see what all is available there to do in that area. Who cares if not everyone is perfectly happy every day!

 

We needed to take a day trip last week near the beach. I wanted to go hang out at the beach for the day, but my boys just aren't into walking or hanging out at the beach for too long, so we went to a Battleship at the beach and spent several hours on it and we all had a great time.

 

Most hotels do have some sort of washer/dryer and even if I am in a hotel, I use one every couple of days while DH takes the kids to the pool or we are relaxing.

 

We try to stay in at least a 1 bedroom type hotel (Residents Inn type) so that we have a kitchen and extra room.

 

Dawn

 

 

Those of you using the "b" word, please stop, you're killing me! If you look at a map, we are as far from any beach as you can get--days of driving. We do have some "lakes" (mud holes) we could go to but that isn't DH's idea of fun.

 

We are going to a city so no cabin to rent. We do stay at a hotel with breakfast (the highlight of vacation for my kids is the sugar cereal) so that helps.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd love to go to the beach, but my husband hates the beach!  *sigh*

Mine too!! That is my dream vacation--rent a house, play in the sand all day, eat sandwiches for each meal. DH will do that for about 5 hours and then he is bored.

 

Dawn, really there is no question. Just venting, thinking out loud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Our big family vacations involved camping at the beach. The amount of stuff that needed to be packed for camping, cooking, and beach activities was ridiculous. I've always hated spending the week before packing because it was stressful and exhausting. My kids are even further apart in age than yours and we managed to find things that appealed to all the kids (swimming, science museums, zoos, aquariums). Now that some of my older kids are moving out of the house, I'm glad I made the effort. We have lots of great family memories from those trips despite the lack of relaxation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Family vacations are what we lived for! (And still do! haha) We have five children too, and we made sure to leave as often as we could -- for one night, for three, whatever we could afford. Yes, it was much more of a challenge to do it inexpensively with five children, but for us it was well worth the trouble. It is still what my grown-up children remember the most fondly. I became quite good at finding inexpensive places that would fit all of us into one room (we laugh at a lot of those places now).

 

Some places you can check out are KOA's (they have little cabins that sleep 6, but we would bring a little fold-out cot for the 7th), privately-owned fishing resorts (I say fishing resorts because those seemed to be cheaper and simpler than an actual beach resort), older inns where you can get a cheaper room because the bathroom is down the hall, even hostels. Bigger cities in the U.S. often have hostels that may work for a family.

 

There are chain hotels that sometimes have rooms that sleep 6 (two beds + a fold-out couch). We would bring along a sleeping bag for #7. Most chain hotels don't make a problem with a 7th person; they just kind of have a "Don't tell us and we won't say anything" rule. Ones that had a free breakfast of course were the ones we aimed for. Sometimes small motels were inexpensive enough that we could get two adjoining rooms.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree - the beach is one place where EVERYONE has fun.  We haven't been in a long while, but I remember not having to plan any "extra" activities.  At most we might go mini-golfing.  Everyone was just happy to dig in the sand, look for sea creatures, splash in the water.  We would get a cheap hotel with a kitchen and make most of our meals there.

 

Another place is camping.  Which is a ton of work, I know.  BUT if you find a place with cabins it can be much more relaxing for everyone.  Like the beach, no one seems to need much "entertaining" and we go hiking, looking for bugs, "fishing" (with a stick, string, and safety pin), roasting hot dogs and marshmallows on the fire, kicking rocks, throwing rocks into the river, climbing trees, and playing Robin Hood.

 

I understand the hassle factor.  The week before we leave on a trip (which for me is right now) I gear up, do laundry, set aside "trip clothes" as much as possible, find road trip activities, plan menus and grocery shop, etc. 

 

It IS work, but so rewarding - especially for your kids who will remember the ups and downs of your trip forever.  It's the stuff family stories are made of.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have five kids and vacations are rough. However, we have our default vacation and that's what gets me through. We have access to an inexpensive beach house (kind of small and nothing fancy, but it's clean and well cared for) and that's where we go every year. I have my menus set (Costco lasagna one night, other Costco entrees other nights, sandwich stuff for lunches) and even though it's work, it's not as bad as if we went different places every year, had to deal with hotels, eating out every meal etc. the beach is a couple blocks away, there's a nice aquarium in the neighboring town that's pretty cheap and in the evening the kids overdose on Little House on the Prairie and Brady Bunch re-runs. The kids are happy to play on the beach every day, so it works for us.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have six kids.  Part of how we manage the vacation idea is by using strict vocabulary to talk about it.  :)  A trip with myself and my husband, alone, is a VACATION.  Anywhere we go with the kids is a TRIP.  We have not had a vacation in 2 years and I am longing for it.  

 

Generally, we get more "recharge and refresh" out of a day trip with the whole family than we do an overnight trip.  We are fortunate to live in a state with absolutely fabulous state parks.  We can drive about an hour or hour and a half and sit by a lakeside, walk a trail, enjoy a waterfall or cave.  

 

We do go camping, but we have done it enough to have it down to a science, more or less.  I try to precook food so we can merely reheat.  It's still a lot of work.

 

We feel like overnight trips are valuable for our family, but we do not in anyway, shape or form consider them to be relaxing.

 

When possible, we plan a day of recovery after the family trip.  

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also, one more thing about age range.  For us (our children range from 5 to 15), everyone finds outdoor activities enjoyable.  I think we would have trouble if we attempted an amusement park or history museum all day.  if we do go to  a museum, an hour is about max, honestly, before they get overload.  

 

Oh, yes, there is also one more thing that I love to do with the kids as a day trip.  They also enjoy it, too.  We call it "downtown day."  We head toward the downtown of our city and go do all the free things--the main library, the nature center, the historic museum, the big park, the bridges, etc.  There are also trolleys to ride.  One time we took the city bus downtown and that was also really fun.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you are looking for another year, what about a star party? There are gatherings throughout the U.S. One club near us rents an entire campground in another state. People live in their tents for a week, but meals are provided, plus swimming pool and lots of kid activities. Since most people are there for the same amount of time, it could be a nice way for your teens to find a congenial group..

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, I think they are worth it -- for the family memories. Our times away together weave the cloth of our family identity (along with all the every day stuff)... there is just something really special about "remember that time we were in ____?" 

HOWEVER, I think you need to completely lower any expectations that it will be relaxing/refreshing/fun for you. For that kind of replenishment, dh and I go away together. Vacations, when you have five kids and some of them are little (as we do), are about the kids. Kind of like Christmas. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I love to travel, but if I had seven people in one hotel room...I'd go mad. If you get two hotel rooms, it's not very economical. We are a family of six and find that VRBO.com has been a great solution for us. There are rentals across the country. I'd check and see if there is a small house or condo you could rent. It is typically less expensive than a hotel. Having extra space is a relief, and the kids always enjoy staying in these types of places. Bring some fun board games, rent some Red Box DVDs, bring fun snack food and have a great time. 

 

We've done VRBO in Boston, Michigan, New Mexico and Texas. We've done big cities and small towns.  We've always been pleased.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

It can be done.  It can be a little stressful for mom to get everything in order but I was always more than happy to get away from routine for a while..   We have taken several vacations with our 4 children and it was never a big hassle.  When my dd was 3 and oldest was 15 we took a cross country trip that all enjoyed.  We enjoyed several Disney trips, beach trips, mountain trips, New England trips with all 4.      It's doable.  Have the older kids help with the getting ready part and enjoy a break from day to day routine.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can't believe I didn't post before!!!  I love vacations and agree with the PP who said that she lives for them.  I am a different person on vacation.  I am relaxed and I have a LOT of fun.  At home I feel SO uptight.  I want my kids to have memories of a fun mom too!!!

 

Our favorites are cruises because there is something for everyone.  I didn't think I was a beach person until we started doing cruises.  Now?  I LOVE the beach!!!  

 

Those of you using the "b" word, please stop, you're killing me! If you look at a map, we are as far from any beach as you can get--days of driving. We do have some "lakes" (mud holes) we could go to but that isn't DH's idea of fun.

We are going to a city so no cabin to rent. We do stay at a hotel with breakfast (the highlight of vacation for my kids is the sugar cereal) so that helps.

I don't know where you live, but there are a TON of beaches in Michigan and OH and WI along the Great Lakes.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think not!

 

DH is taking next week "off" (kind of a joke since he'll still have to check email and answer his phone) which is great but it means he is working until 8 every night this week.

 

We're thinking about taking the family somewhere for a few days. Any ideas what a toddler and a 12YO will enjoy at the same time?? Here's a hint--there is nothing!!

 

If we do go away for a few day, I need to make sure the laundry is caught up. I also need to plan some food that we can take with us to eat in the (over-priced, crowded) hotel room because eating out with 5 kids is neither fun or cost effective. Are we having fun yet??!? I also need to get the oil changed and clean out the world's filthiest van.

 

I'm sure my kids will have fun. That's all that matters, right???

I really think that age group is hard. My heart goes out to you. I remembered while I was typing this how frustrating it was when my kids were that age and I was divided into 4 different directions with 2 young ones wanting their demands met NOW and 2 big ones wanting to go play NOW. It is HARD.

 

I do think the reality is mom doesn't get to have fun while chasing toddlers, but the days are fleeting. These are the good ole days and we need to seize the moments. (I am talking to myself here, too)

 

We went to the Ohio State Fair and the announcer was speaking on the PA system "Welcome to the Ohio State Fair. Have a Fun and Exciting Day at the Fair." When we left that afternoon, my daughter (9) said, "That was fun, but it wasn't exciting." I think that sums up this season of life.

 

Here are some things I did to have fun:

 

I like staying at a hotel/campground that has several washers and dryers to use for free. In fact, we were in Pittsburgh and had access to four washers and dryers and I half jokingly said I wish I had brought the rest of the laundry to catch up on the wash. I still don't know if I was joking. lol.

 

I bought a pass to our states historical society. with that pass I can get into all of our historical society sites for free. 55.00

Our historical sites have quite a bit of walking AND wide open space.

 

Caves are fun for everyone.

 

I bought a museum pass in our city that has reciprocity, many zoo's have a pass like this also. we got into the Carnegie Science center for free. 56.00 spent saved almost 80.00 on that visit. the science centers are fun for all.

 

I looked for sale coupons, bought tickets online and saved 50% on admission to an amusement park.

 

for an amusement park you need 2 adults. one for the littles and one for the bigs. The reality is that I didn't find it exciting, but it was fun.

 

When my kids were your kids' ages they loved going to the air force museum in Dayton. The museum is in a hanger and the bigs could look at the planes and the littles enjoyed the wide open space. Again not exciting, work for mom, but fun. Actually, all military museums are fun this way.

 

When I pick a pool, I would pick one that had a fence around the kiddie pool and let the bigs go to the big pool, while the little ones were somewhat confined.

 

Hiking is good because the kids get worn out and sleep so mom can rest later. Last year we went to a national park and saw all the waterfalls. we drove from waterfall to waterfall, but took short hikes to the falls. I had no idea we had so many waterfalls.

 

I take audio books so that they are quiet in the car.

 

KOA's are usually near towns/cities easy access off the highway, state parks have cabins w/ bathrooms attached, so do other campgrounds. I am recommending a cabin to stay at because of the amount of people needed to accommodate.

 

Unfortunately, I don't know that there is a hotel that takes 6 for under 100.00. There is a regional chain, Drury Inn, that take 6 people (I don't know about 7). it is more spendy, but they serve breakfast, popcorn and soda during the day AND they have 5:30 kickbacks---a dinner spread like a breakfast bar so one wouldn't have to pay for breakfast or dinner--that really made it worth the extra expense. It wasn't 5 star food or even 4, but the convenience was fantastic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It can get crazy with a big family but I am so glad we have done family vacations over the years! Some of our favorites were the Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain National Park. We found trails easy enough for the whole family to hike. We also enjoyed the Ozarks and NYC, though our youngest was 7 the first time we went to NY. When we traveled with a baby, he/she went into a carrier. I love the beach idea. Just do it! It is worth all the effort it takes to get there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here in the Midwest we can head up to the Kalahari or similar "resort" in the Wisconsin Dells and find lots for the kids to do.  True, taking care of everything and everyone is not fun (most of it falls to Mom) but then then we are doing these "vacations" for the kids at this time of life, not ourselves.  Been there, done that, with four kids (one with autism - McD french fries every day!)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are sooooo relaxed at home that I don't expect any vacation to be easier or more relaxing than that. DH has a desk job, so if we travel he wants to DO something. Even if its just hiking.

 

Our trouble is we're so content at home that its hard to make the effort. Also, the Venn diagram of what we all like to do is pretty much 4 distinct circles.

 

We all do individual, interest-driven trips with our friends each year that are true, selfish 'vacations.' Family, trips, however require lots of compromise along the way. We're used to it because our interests are so diverse and our kids are old enough not to get offended if the activity we're doing that minute doesn't fascinate them.

 

We LIKE our trips, but we don't require them to survive because we really do recharge at home and we all have interests that we pursue locally. It IS one of the perks of city adjacent living.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...