I was complaining to a friend of mine the other day about how heartbroken I am since I have not had time to spend traveling with my children while they are home for summer break. We are used to being able to have plans to look forward to during the summer months, however this year I have been particularly busy. She said something to me that really hit home and that I needed to hear during my time of sadness. She reminded me that although we may not be doing things we are accustomed to, that every day I spend with them, no matter what we are doing, we are still creating memories and those memories are real.
In today's society it is hard to shake the "I must keep up with the Jones's" mentality. With instant gratification at your fingertips, bigger is better mind sets, and constant on the move lifestyles, we are seeing less and less quality time spent on day trips that are close to home, low key, and free (or at least inexpensive) that mean just as much as traveling across the globe. I am guilty of it myself, planning and researching many trips to take the kids somewhere far away and exotic, but hey I am a travel planner so it is in my nature. When my friend reminded me that I need to cherish these day trips I am making with the kids, it was a long overdue reminder that I and probably many of you, really needed.
What is the definition of travel really anyways? Travel; to move or go from one place or another usually for pleasure, to journey. I do not know about you but if I really think about it so many of the greatest times me and my children have had were on day trips or small journeys we made to places we had never been before. For instance, one day during a walking trail me and my younger son Robert took, we were pleasantly surprised with a beautiful little beach at the end. We sat and talked about life and found a beautiful pink rock in the shape of a heart to bring home. A memory stuck in my mind forever and this little trip was just about thirty minutes from our home.
If money is a problem this summer, there are many amazing places to take the kids that are inexpensive that most people never even think about. Many of the museums in New York City only require a donation to enter. Depending on my finances I typically will donate anywhere from $5.00 per person up to $15.00 per person when we visit and we will have a picnic lunch in one of the nearby parks. I am a fan of checking our local hometown park events, and also love visiting historical landmarks with the kids which usually are inexpensive. We always enjoy grabbing lawn seats for a concert and just chill in the parking lot having sandwiches from home beforehand. The other day while spending the day at the beach we visit every summer we stopped by and visited their nature center and interpretative center that we had never seen before, it was free and so much fun.
It is up to you to make these times just as special as a week long vacation in the Caribbean. Each moment, each adventure, is just as meaningful to our young children. Trade in your travel guilt and know you are doing what you can to make each day special. Now get out there and enjoy a day trip with your little ones!