Vacation or Trip?

Published 07/27 2012 12:00AM

Updated 07/31 2012 11:41AM

Traveling with children during the summer may be termed a vacation but as most parents realize it is really a trip.  

According to the dictionary a vacation is a period of suspension of work, study or other activity usually used for rest, recreation or travel.  For most parents I do not see any rest in the planning or execution of a family vacation.  Lots of fun and so many great memories and stories from family vacations and adventures, but not always a restful period, hence the term family trip. 

When traveling with little children it takes a village of stuff to get away. Just the list alone takes weeks to prepare:  the car seat, pack and play, toys, favorite blanket and pillow and of course snacks for every possible situation. We once left several bags on the median at a major airport as we loaded the rental car. We did remember the carseat and child, (only had one at the time), but after a day I kept asking where is the .....? only to realize that we had left several suitcases behind. Unbelievably, they had been sent to lost and found and were flown on to us!! These days they would have blown them up! We were definitely rookie parents. Live and learn!  

Once a child is older, they too want to make a list, and I can remember my boys appearing at the door as we lined up the luggage with sacks full of their stuff, all of which was important and could not be left behind. Trying to condense and choose what went and stayed behind (usually involving some tears) was sometimes exhausting and we were not even loading the car yet!  Even worse for plane travel as you had to condense further, and now with bag charges it costs a fortune to just check bags. I guess the new rule may be, everyone gets one favorite item, but that too must be a lengthy discussion, so plan ahead. 

As the kids get older they just want to take their electronic stuff, but I think one of the points of a family trip is to engage with one another, so limiting electronics and having rules for how long and when they can be used is equally important.  That discussion never seems to go as planned!  The good news/bad news about technology. Some people pay big bucks to go where there is not any internet service and then the discussion is moot. 

So, I hope wherever you are traveling on your family TRIP, that you are relaxed and resting while navigating the highways and skyways with your children. 

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