What kind of vacations did you take while growing up? My family did a lot of hiking, backpacking and skiing. I’m not sure that we ever took ‘normal vacations’, but I look back on them fondly. They were full of variety.
We got to hike and backpack when you could drink the water from the trailside streams and rivers. I had my own Sierra Cup that hooked into my belt. (wish I still had it!) My parents brought eggs to hide one Easter weekend up in the Olympic Mountains and there was always coffee for them. (I did not yet imbibe.) One hike along the beach was a disaster because there was grilled steak for dinner and “someone” [not me], failed to pack the steak knives. So we ate it with our fingers. My brother and I were cool with that.
Costs of these weekend outings were generated by: gas, freeze-dried and real food, paper topographic maps, a battered copy of Trips and Trails by Bob and Ira Spring, the occasional purchase at REI Co-op (my dad had a very low membership number), and maybe a hamburger at the XXX Root Beer Drive-In on the way back. I was a cheap date (plain hamburger-no condiments). My family didn’t drink soda back then.
While in high school-I did get to a fake mountain-the Matterhorn.
My high school band director entered my name for the McDonald’s All-American HS Band and I was one of the 100 musicians selected.
The band made two trips to march in parades at Disneyland and in New York City! Cost to me: free, save for the missed homework. (Oops, there was the family investment in the private music lessons-but as a teenager, I wasn’t bearing that cost.)
Like many families with children, we began to travel for athletic events. I distinctly recall the trip we took to a swim meet in Santa Clara. I was the spectator and my mother was the competitive athlete, however. (Masters Swimming!) My brother went to her swim meet in Toronto.
While many of my peers travelled to Hawaii while I was in high school, I didn’t get there until I was over 30! (Cost of that trip: airfare for two, shared meals and entertainment, thank you gift to the owners of the time-shared condo). Loved visiting a coffee plantation on the Big Island.
Eventually I went to Europe when I was older. The 3-week trip was paid up ahead of time due to our DINK status (Dual Income, No Kids).
In summary, we didn’t take extravagant vacations while growing up, we didn’t know what we were missing, and I have some adult habits that have served me well. (see them below)
- Save where you can by sharing costs with others
- Vacationing in nature (the beach, the mountains)
- Don’t buy junk food on vacation
- Plan ahead if you can with mileage,savings, special equipment, going with another family to have a playmate for your child(ren)
- Take advantage of trips by making them dual-purpose (build around college visits, athletic events, musical events/competitions)
What are your family vacation lessons?
Please tell me about them in the comments!