Summer travel: Make the most of it
It’s that magic Friday, halfway through June. School is done for most of us and the summer months stretch out like one long beautiful dream. Today I’m itching for the summer travel that’s about to begin, but before I go I thought I’d offer a few tips for those of you who might be dragging your feet or dreading the hassle of packing the car or worrying about disrupting baby’s nap schedule with some summer galavanting. Today I want to answer one question:
How can you make the most of your summer travel?
Make your summer travel as slow as you can. My family is very lucky in that we have the chance to spend close to three weeks every summer in Vermont. This gives us time to really slow down our pace, spread out, and relax. If this kind of summer travel is available to you in any capacity, I urge you to take advantage of it. Whether you are visiting an old or a new place, there’s something about spending multiple days in one spot that makes you take possession of it in a way that brief visits don’t.
Or, if that’s not possible, maximize your summer weekend or day-trip opportunities. Of course, slow travel isn’t your own summer option. Even if you don’t have weeks to spend traveling, you can still make plan weekend and day trips that will make it seem like you’ve hit the road. The great thing about these type of trips is that they don’t have to break the bank – you can take advantage of free museum days, summer festivals, and camping as a way to save money. One fun approach to this is to pick a theme based on your kids’ interests like “summer art” or “outdoor life”. For the former, plan outings to new museums or galleries and have your kids bring their art supplies to make sketches for a backyard art show. Or if nature’s more your thing, check books about local birds and plants out of the library and go on a scouting hike with a new eye. Even local summer travel can seem like an adventure if you apply a creative lens to it.
Relax the rules a bit. I like to loosen up all the rules when we travel in the summer. Bedtime is less strictly observed. I let my kids have some screen time in the morning (and I also let myself have coffee in bed sometimes). There are days without formal sit-down meals and many where we have ice cream as an afternoon snack.
If you’ve got really little kids, you probably want to adhere more closely to the sleep schedule, but even babies and toddlers can enjoy some of that summer mellowness in the form of a lazy nap with mom or dad in the hammock. The pleasure of the scent of a warm baby’s head on a summer afternoon cannot be overstated.
Try something new. Even if you’re returning to a favorite summer haunt that you’ve visited since childhood, there’s sure to be something that you’ve never done before. Maybe it’s that small historic site you’ve passed on the drive there for years but never bothered to stop and see. Or perhaps you’ve waited to try that longer hike with your kids because you wanted their legs to be longer. You might check out the Fourth of July parade a few towns over or sample the pie at a new diner.
I’m going to be following some of my own advice, you can be sure. We leave next Tuesday morning for a quick day trip to Washington, DC followed by a week in Wisconsin. I’m looking forward to visiting old favorites like the Air and Space Museum and seeing a new place I’ve never visited (the far northern Midwest – we’ll be spending a few days close to the Canadian border). Like I did last summer, I’ll be sharing “postcards” from the road on my blog.
I hope you’ll come along on our adventures and that you’ll also let me know what your summer travel plans are in the comments below.
This post was written in conjunction with my relationship with Vacation Roost as one of their ambassadors.