Growing up with a single mother to three kids, we didn’t have many luxuries, but, somehow, my mom managed to budget and provide us with some perks and additional gifts beyond the basic necessities. We went on a summer vacation – mostly to Puerto Rico since our family was there, and we didn’t have to pay for hotel – and two trips to Disney World. I have very fond memories of my trips to the island and have always been grateful for them because I think it gave me the travel bug.
During my single days, I was always looking for the next deal for a Miami getaway with my friends. Once I met my husband, who is also an avid traveler, we would try to go somewhere every couple of months, figuring out long weekends where I wouldn’t have to take off of work.
Now that we have kids, nothing has changed.
Both of my children have had passports since they were three months old, and that is when each of them first traveled out of the country – something they’ve been doing ever since. We take full advantage of the fact that they are both in preschool because we know once school starts their schedules will be more limited.
At their young age, we don’t travel the world. We usually do sunny islands with beaches and pools because that is their idea of fun. We also try not to go beyond five hours of traveling time. They have flown A LOT for their age, and during plane rides, they have never been that restless screaming kid – they’re chill.
As kids, of course, they have their moments of defying me or being unreasonable, but, for the most part, they’re easy-going children that just “roll with it,” and I credit some of that to traveling. When we travel, we don’t stick to our daily “schedule.” Sometimes the kids are at the pool or beach all day, and fall asleep at 5 p.m. to wake up at 8 p.m., so we’ll go to dinner at 9 p.m. Every day is a different adventure, and I make it so that they are living in the moment. This easy-going nature teaches them how to be flexible in life.
I know not everyone has the resources to travel, but the concept of vacation is more a state of mind than anything else. So, if you can’t get on a plane, take a road trip or take a train ride somewhere – just be spontaneous.
While I wouldn’t have their daily lives be unpredictable because I know kids need routine, I do, however, sprinkle in that essence of vacation throughout our “regular” daily lives every so often. For example, their bedtime is 8 p.m. and, recently, their older cousin had a band performance at their school at 7:30 p.m. Part of me said, “No, we can’t go. They have to go to bed, and I have things to do around the apartment.” But I knew how much they would love it, so I just got up and told them, “Let’s hurry and get dressed. We’re going to see Louie perform!” We got home a couple of hours past their bedtime, and yes, they were tired in the morning, but they had an awesome time with their cousins, and they just went to bed earlier than usual the next night – no big deal because they’re flexible.