My family of seven doesn’t get the chance to take many exciting vacations. Seven people on vacation means two hotel rooms, minimum, and lots of money spent on meals out. Our vacations typically consist of packing everyone in the minivan and driving all day to visit out-of-state family. As much as I love to travel, I have often wished that I could afford to take my kids on high adventure trips, or to exotic, culturally rich locations.
As we ventured on our last family vacation, though, I realized that where we go doesn’t matter as much as who we’re doing it with. Vacations 30 minutes from home can be filled with just as many poignant and lasting family memories as those dream vacations halfway around the world.
Recently, I loaded all 7 of us into our Nissan Quest, full to the brim with suitcases and road trip snacks. We drove 14 hours until we arrived in Orlando, Florida, where we met the rest of my husband’s family. After we returned and many times since then, I have reminisced about all of the things we were able to do while we were in Orlando. Our days were full, and instead of trying to search for things to do to stay busy, we had to pick and chose from a long list of things that we could do together. That was a nice problem to have!
Typically, the kids get bored and my husband gets restless when we go on vacation together. Not so this time! They were having so much fun together that they didn’t even have time left over to fight or complain.
From letting my teenage daughter drive our family minivan packed full with suitcases and kids for part of the drive South…to watching my kids belly-laugh together when my youngest son’s shorts were filled up with wind from the airboat ride…to sharing cup after cup of butterbeer with the extended family at Universal’s Islands of Adventure…our week in Florida was simply priceless. I can’t get over how nearly perfect everything was (and we didn’t even make it to Disney World!).
I think the best part of this trip for me was the
time that we were able to spend together each morning. Rather than rush off to the parks at opening time, we slept in, ate breakfast together, and often caught a morning swim before heading out for the day. At night, while I blogged about our trip, the kids would pull out games to play with their uncles and aunt.
Yes, the theme parks and sunshine were more-than-enjoyable, but we could have been anywhere to enjoy each other’s company.
Oh! The memories we made!