Hello Friends, you know, I am a huge advocate for families to get away and travel. Getting out of the house and into a different environment can have many benefits for your family. Exposing your children to new experiences, cultures, and adventures will open their eyes to how others live. Together you can meet new people and see new sights. Different situations and cultures have a way of bonding families together and helping children appreciate what they have back at home.
A trip to another country can be particularly enlightening and cohesive experience for your family. However I am fully aware that finances are a huge issue for many of us. Please don’t think that you must wait to save up tens of thousands of dollars before leaving your home to take that vacation to southern france. Your family travel doesn’t have to be that extravagant. Finances are very challenging for many of us as our economy continues to struggle.
This is a wonderful opportunity to harness your creativity gene! There are many fun and affordable trips that can be found by taking a little bit of time to plan ahead, do a bit of research and finding what best fits your budget. My own mother modeled these principles for me which is how I learned about hard work, discipline, and stewardship. You can teach your children to be good stewards of their money by searching online for discounts and mapping out a course of travel to your destination. Many hotels will also honor a AAA membership and give you an additional discount, however I would recommend calling in advance to confirm.
Road trips provide plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and play boardless travel games like “I spy“, “Who am I” or “Spot the Banana.” Road trips not for the faint of heart, however they give you an opportunity to learn patience as your little one’s pepper you with questions like “Are we there yet?” or “How much longer – I have to go potty.” They also provide plenty of opportunity to learn and practice character growth such as patience, holding one’s tongue, and forgiveness. 🙂
If an overnight stay is not in currently in the budget then a pack some sandwiches, cut up some veggies, grab some bottled water and go to a park or beach that is new to your family. Visiting a new place or a different section can feel like a refreshing new experience. Search online for discounts at websites like Groupon.com or Retailmenot.com and and don’t be afraid to call and ask if they give discounts to AAA members.
You also learn to have dependence on God’s provision as you find your way after being lost. Some of the best memories that you will create will be lessons learned on the road with your children as you lean on the Lord (even when your GPS steers you wrong). These are excellent opportunities to teach your children that no matter where you are, God is present with you in your circumstances.
I can still remember the road trip that I took with my family and friends, and we went to Lompoc. All of the adults were in the front of the van, and the three of us kids were packed in the back seat, giggling and joking. I remember this small, brown Nissan Sentra packed with four nuns, fully clothed in their habit. They zipped by us on the left side of our van. After our initial shock wore off (first at seeing actual, live “nuns” – then realizing that they were “beating us) we started yelling for our driver to catch up so we could get a better look. It was the funniest thing! When we pulled along side of their car, we pressed our noses against the glass and made silly faces at them. I know – totally dorky. But that’s what was so precious about it… 🙂
What happened next was even funnier. We arrived up north and were eating at this fish restaurant, and as we all were sitting, just getting ready to order, who walks in? ALL FOUR NUNS! YES! I thought, “Oh Lord… do they recognize me? Maybe they won’t since my face was squished against the glass…” Just then, one nun turned and looked at me with her piercing blue eyes. I gulped and just sat there like the frozen chosen. Then, her eyes softened and she winked. The three of us burst out laughing and still, to this day, we all talk about “The Nuns.” Ahh… this is a memory I cherish.
That time was absolutely priceless and those memories are something that I deeply value and hold dear. Whether it’s a trip to a chateau in Southern France, a Best Western in Solvang, or a park in the neighborhood across town, take a trip with your family. Children come to appreciate what they have when they begin to see how others live. There’s nothing like a bit of real world experience “in the flesh” for God to begin stirring in their hearts and awaken that sensitivity in them. Gratitude is always a wonderful thing to see in an adolescent and teen. Since children are mainly self-focused, many of them believe that everyone else lives just like they do – and that’ s simply not true. Slowly exposing them to how others live and other aspects of life, while they are still in the safety of Mom and Dad’s warm presence, will help them to be balanced and well-rounded.
So have fun as you plan your day jaunt or ultimate road trip and remember, in all things give thanks, love God, and love each other!
Dr. Christy 🙂