My wife and I have always loved going on vacations together and even keep a collection of flags from every place we have visited. And, when we became parents, we naturally wanted to make sure our kids were part of our adventures.
However, even though I love going on vacations with the family, we are currently in the process of planning our next trip (which is now to Florida first and North Carolina for a couple days on our way back home) and, as we are doing that, I have started to realize just how much my kids have affected our itinerary. In fact, they have directly affected this particular vacation in three main ways many of our childless friends and family probably would never understand.
First, we can’t be as spontaneous. My wife and I used to avoid booking hotel rooms in advance because it allowed us to be flexible about where we stopped for the night and would give us the option to just keep driving if we wanted to. That’s not something we can do as easily with our young daughters and, as a result, our vacations are a bit more pre-organized.
Second, I have to allow for extra driving time. If I go by the online map I used, our total driving time to Florida is roughly 20 hours. However, since I have kids that will need to stop for bathroom breaks and, at times, will just need to get out of the car for a little while; I know the actual drive will be closer to 24 hours. And, I have to take this into consideration when planning both our destination and where we might spend the night while on the way.
Last, we have to be pickier about hotel amenities. Our daughters are no longer able to share a bed without fighting and, as a result, we now have to look at hotels that allow us to add a roll away bed. And, while not always required, it’s always nice if the room has a refrigerator and microwave so we can save some money by not having to go to a restaurant. Needless to say, a free continental breakfast is also always a nice touch when we have to feed two extra mouths.
Again, I love going on vacations with the family and this one will be no exception (especially since the kids will get to see the ocean for the first time). But, if you see me a bit stressed out during the planning stage, at least you’ll understand why.