I’m always fascinated when people let me in on their traveling traditions. You probably wouldn’t be surprised that people come up with great traditions when it comes to traveling.
Holiday traditions abound, like always spending Christmas in your hometown at Grandma’s. A lot of people aim to hit the slopes skiing at least once a year. Others make sure a beach vacation is taken once a year. Whatever your tradition is, I think it’s important to set traveling goals together as a family to make these traditions happen. That way, when the opportunity arises, you can take full advantage of it. We’ve grouped our traditions into a few different categories to try to help you come up with some of your own.
Spectator Events: Hubby is a Steelers fan. A big one. So we agreed that if the Steelers made it to the Super Bowl, he was going to try to attend. Since we’ve been married, he’s gone to 3 Super Bowls. A few of them he flew to alone, and attended alone, but for Hubby that part didn’t matter much. He tries to take the boys to an NFL game, an NBA game, or an MLS game every once in a while too. It comes with the territory if you live in a house full of sports crazy boys.
Active Sports: When the boys got old enough, we decided we needed to come up with a few more traditions. A lot of them started so that we could enjoy active vacations together. Snow skiing was at the top of the list, so we try to get on the slopes once a year. It’s the one sport I can actually do better than Hubby, so I’ve gotta keep that going! Water Skiing on the lake was another big “must learn” activity. We are very lucky to have friends that have a lake house and let us use all of their toys.
Celebrating Milestones with kids: On our travels, we’ve run across grandparents taking teens on a trip when they reach a certain age. Hitting the teen years was the most common age (around 14 or 15). It seems to be a great way to get to know each other without other family members around and bridge that generation gap. But if your kids’ grandparents aren’t healthy enough to travel, or are no longer with us, there are other ways to celebrate age milestones with your kids.
We have a family tradition that when our boys move schools, they get to go on a long weekend trip with mom and dad, and leave the brothers at home. So, when Bo moved from elementary school to middle school, we took him to San Francisco. When Junior moves from middle school to high school next year, we are taking him to Chicago. The boys get to research and pick the city, within reason. Paris was requested once, but got shut down. We have utilized points and rewards for these trips to mitigate the cost, but if you start with Paris, where do you go from there? No matter where they pick, It’s nice to have one on one time with just one child since our lives are usually so busy and intertwined at home.
Couple Trips: Hubby and I don’t travel for every wedding anniversary or milestone birthday. But we like to travel as a couple at least once or twice a year. Although we’ve enjoyed traveling on some of those big occasions, it doesn’t have to be fancy. One year we found a great deal on a hotel downtown, and played tourists in our own town. We left early Saturday morning, stayed one night, and came home late on Sunday. Our marriage seems rejuvenated after traveling together, in a way that date night at home just doesn’t do. I also like sending the message to our boys that our marriage is important on its own, and needs to be properly tended to.
Holidays: Families can be pulled in all different directions for the Holidays. If you are married, it’s your parents or your spouse’s parents. If your own parents are divorced, it can be even more chaotic. If you haven’t seen the movie Four Christmases, it explains a lot. Anyway, who says Christmas is the only time you can get together as a family? A divorced friend of mine with grown children decided to do something different. She commandeered the 4th of July as her Christmas. Every child and their families are expected to show up at the lake house for 4th of July. She can spend time with them all together for several days in a row. And it helps take the stress off of the end of the year craziness. She still gets to see them at Christmas depending on the situation, but sometimes it’s just for dinner before they head somewhere else.
Bucket List: I don’t know if I’d call this a tradition, more of a guideline. I’m usually planning our travels about a year in advance. Sure we have spontaneous things arise during the year too, but we needed a little focus. Hubby and I sat down and listed some destinations for a bucket list. Some of them included the boys, and some of them did not. So when planning vacations, we aren’t just wandering aimlessly. Not that there is any problem with that, but I’m over 40. With aging parents, we know the importance of good health in order to keep traveling. The boys will continue to grow and eventually have jobs and families of their own. Those things make me feel like the clock is sort of ticking.
Usually, we make the trips we want to take the boys on a planning priority. But recently, our bucket list led to a great deal on a couples trip. I caught wind of a great flight deal to Iceland early next summer. But with most of these deals, you have to act fast. A quick call to Hubby (at work) with the details, and we booked the trip. If we hadn’t discussed our bucket list prior to the deal becoming available, it would have been a much tougher sell over the phone. And if we’d waited to be face to face, the deal might’ve been gone. Stay tuned this summer for posts on that adventure!
Several years ago, my best friend’s father passed away. Of all the sympathy cards and kind words she received, one phrase stood out. A close friend said, “Your father was a memory maker.”
What a compliment. Obviously, there are lots of ways to make memories. Traveling traditions make great memories too. Get out there and make some.