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It’s finally spring, and summer vacation is fast approaching, so it’s a great time to discuss traveling with kids — specifically, how do you figure out what kind of family vacation is right for you? Before and after becoming parents, have you and your partner agreed on what sorts of vacations to take? Has your idea of the ideal vacation changed since you’ve had kids? Do you prefer hotels or Airbnb when traveling as a family? Do you return to certain destinations often, or do you like to mix it up? How are you tailoring your trips to your kids’ needs and interests?
Personally, I’ve never had a specific image in mind for the “ideal” vacation (although I do avoid camping and cruises), but one thing has changed since I became a mom: All-inclusive family resorts now appeal to me, when I scoffed at them in the past (and never stayed at one as a child). I’m not talking about Disney-level destinations — we haven’t done those yet — but more along the lines of Great Wolf Lodge, which my son and husband and I all enjoy. (Note that the quality apparently varies among locations, as I learned from comparing notes with Kat. I like the Niagara Falls one, which is on the Canadian side.)
I’ve found all-inclusive resorts to be very family-friendly because they’re so low-effort in terms of logistics: (1) You don’t have to make daily decisions about where to eat, because the answer is … the resort! No Yelp searches or long family discussions/arguments! (2) You don’t have to research area activities, because all your choices are … right there. (3) You don’t have to drive your kids anywhere — really, you don’t even have to go outside. (I like indoor waterparks vs. outdoor — no chance of sunburn!) (4) It’s easy to entertain your kids, because that’s what the resort is made for. We’ve also taken our son to places like London and Washington, D.C., for that sort of family vacation — museums, sightseeing, visiting friends/family, etc. — but for me, the easiest and most low-stress option (for now) is a family resort. (If you offered me the choice of GWL or London as a free family vacation, rest assured that I would be on my way to England soon.)
How about you, readers? How do you figure out what kind of family vacation is right for you? Has it been a matter of trial and error, or did you pretty much choose well from the beginning? Do you travel with just your spouse and kid(s), or your extended family/in-laws, or even other families? Have you taken any trips that you’ve immediately crossed off your family-vacation list? How about trips that didn’t seem like they would be ideal family vacations but ended up fitting the bill?
Stock photo via Stencil.