Family Vacations: Buy Experiences, Not Things

By | June 19, 2015

Photo Copyright - Justin Stum

Photo © Justin Stum

Getting out of the house and taking a vacation is an excellent way to spend some quality time with your family and unwind from the humdrum of everyday life. It’s easy to get into routines and just as easy to let the summer slip without the memories you’d really wish you had. If you plan a trip, it will be even more relaxing if it’s planned in a way that is conducive to your family’s interests. Family vacations with my kids far from home or near our own backyard have offered time to get away from work and schedules and enjoy new things together.

Happiness and Research
The research is clear, people find happiness in experiencing things with others they are connected with. You don’t hear people reminiscing about the iPhone 4 or some past possession, instead they revel and laugh about times they once had, things they felt, places they’ve connected with those they love. We live in a society of digital connection and if you want to unplug and connect real-time you can do so through a well planned vacation. Buy experiences, not things … possessions bring pleasure not happiness. When your kids are grown, the time for memories when they are young has passed. You can with a little effort seize today and plan something local or out-of-town; they’ll cherish those memories with you the rest of their lives.

Where To Go
Finding and coordinating a fun and affordable destination is absolutely doable. Now, if a 10-day gig isn’t or doesn’t fit you, do something for 3 days, regardless whatever you can afford there is something you can do! I recently did a local weekend; we rented wave runners from Ideal Sports of Southern Utah, and had a blast at Sand Hollow, great times and it was local, I call them staycations. Ideal Sports of Southern Utah

You might be inclined to head to popular tourist destination, this is fine if it suits your interests, yet keep in mind that popular tourist destinations are price-inflated so you’ll be spending a lot more money at those locations. Finding a place that meets the needs of most if not all family members will help yield a great time away … time to love, laugh, squabble a little, and otherwise bond together. Get out of the box and talk to friends or neighbors about where they travel, get the information on great things to see and do as well as comfortable and affordable places to stay and places to dine. The destinations are limitless, just start looking. It is best to start planning you family trip ahead of time. Talk to your spouse and to your children about this trip to get a better idea of what they would like to do or where they would like to go. Planning a trip is a lot of work but your vacation will be more relaxing if you take care of details in advance.

Lodging and Travel
Look for a family-friendly lodging. Hotels are not an good alternative, specifically if you have some children or teens. Your time will certainly be a whole lot more peaceful if you can discover an area where you have the ability to find activities, good lodging space, and new experiences. Think about accommodations at a bed and breakfast, renting a small condo or even taking the family an outdoor camping trip. I often use websites like or to find places to stay that accommodate a family and are complimentary to families. Hey, you can always use your trailer or tent camp at a KOA , some of my best memories are with my kids in a KOA swimming, sitting around a fire, heading out to local attractions, etc.  It’s really helpful to find a practical and relaxing way to travel to your destination. If you are going to drive there, plan a route that has stops that might be enjoyable to see, or places to eat, etc. Flying to your destination is another option you could consider, it’s more expensive but it can take a lot of travel time out of the schedule if you are going out-of-state.

Look for enjoyable things to do that the entire family might like doing. If you have children, try discovering a zoo or visiting a theme park. Some museums offer excellent programs created for children, most large cities have a children’s museum, Salt Lake City, Lexington, Newport, etc. If you have adolescents, mix up the flow and find points they will certainly prefer as well. Time for them to just relax, hop on social networking, and otherwise chill-out at a pool. Some families find it enjoyable to head out off-grid and go camping, soaking up the serenity that nature can offer while be offline from the internet. Wherever you go setup and create time to connect, for example, don’t sit up and watch movies every-night at the rented condo, get out some favorite games, head out for a hike, or spend some time at the beach throwing the ball. It’s important to plan your time away to help meet the needs of all the family. Parents that coordinate trips that aren’t set up with some intention in mind end up with fighting, bored kids, and frustrated parents returning home thinking they need a vacation after their arrival home! I’d also suggest hopping online and visit to obtain great suggestions of which attractions you will have access to which your family might find fun. Use your GPS on your smart phone as well to save time and prevent headaches in finding and navigating to the places you’ll visit.

Relax and Be Present
Make sure every person will certainly have lots of alone time to unwind. Investing quality time as a family is necessary however your vacation will certainly are much more delightful if you do not over-schedule the activities. More is not always better. If you’ve ever been to an extended family reunion or family gathering that is over-scheduled you’ll know exactly what I am talking about here. Make sure you have time to relax and unwind.

Happiness is most often found in connections, relationship bonds, and rich experiences with those we love. Plan with intention to create memories now, ones you will remember and enjoy long after the kids are grown.

Have an idea of where you have liked to travel? Toss it down in the comments below this article for others to see. You can do so anonymously, share something with the other readers, be well.

Additional Reading: Buy Experiences, Not Things –

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