5. Schedule Down Days
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On our honeymoon my husband wanted to maximize our adventure. He had us scheduled for every fun activity he could find, whereas I just wanted to lay on the beach with him and enjoy his company. A decade and two kids later we’ve somehow duplicated ourselves. Our son needs down time, whereas our daughter wants to move from one activity to the next.
When we travel we’ve discovered that we absolutely must schedule in down time. Sure, activities are the best, but there’s nothing worse than coming home from a trip or vacation and feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation.
The purpose of the trip does set the tone but scheduling downtime, if possible, can create deeper enjoyment. I know that my son and I have a better time out and about if we are well rested. So, in general we don’t schedule early morning activities.
Instead we sleep in a little bit, I drink my coffee slower than normal, we allow ourselves more time to get going for the day.
On our trip to New York I kept whole blocks of time unscheduled. One of the days this enabled us to take an impromptu ferry ride down the East River. We had nowhere we had to be, so we could move slow, take in the sights of the city and just enjoy experiencing something new as a family.
As you prepare for your next trip try not to overschedule, see if allowing slowness creates something special for your family.
One of the best gifts we can give our children is travel. Seeing the world will open their eyes, deepen their empathy, and bring to life history. When done right, traveling together can deepen family bonds and develop memories that will last a lifetime. I still remember the camping trips of my childhood and look on those days with sweet nostalgia.
For my own children, I dream of memories created while exploring and discovering God’s great world.
As you prepare for your next trip with your children, or embark on your family’s maiden voyage, my great hope is that you are able to find joy in all of it. I hope that you and your children are inspired by planning and preparing, and then excited by discovering something new, or rediscovering someplace old but in a new way.
Someone very wise once told me that, “life is a great adventure” and a life that includes travel, well, I’d argue even more so.
Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/fizkes