We all remember the family trips we took as children. Chances are that when you were younger, your parents loaded everyone into a station wagon or van every summer and drove to your aunt’s house, the beach, some camping destination, or even some amazing place like Disney World. These days, the family tradition of a road trip is less common. It seems more likely that families jump on a plane when traveling long distances and save car rides for trips that can be made in a few hours. No matter how you travel, consider starting a family tradition on your next trip that you can keep up no matter where your travels take you or how you get there.
Make the Trip Itself Your Family Tradition
Your travel family tradition may be returning to the same place year after year. Maybe you go back to the same campground every year and spend a long weekend enjoying nature, making smores, and watching the stars come out at night. Maybe you rent a beach house for a week every summer and spend your days enjoying the surf and the sand before a dinner of the freshest seafood. Or maybe your family tradition is spending time each summer with extended family, catching up and letting the kids play with the cousins they do not get to see often enough.
There is nothing wrong with taking repeat vacations. There is something comforting about returning to the same place every year. It is nice to have that familiar feeling when you are away from home. You can also go back to all your favorite spots and eat all your favorite things.
If you like to mix up locations, your family tradition could be packing up the car for a week once a year and hitting the road. Make a road trip adventure your family tradition for traveling. Every year you can choose a different route and make stops at cool spots along the way. Maybe the road trip in itself with four or five different overnight stops is the tradition. Or maybe the tradition is that the road trip ends in a cool destination like the Grand Canyon one year and an amusement park the next year.
If your family is into a particular sport, you could make yearly trips to different stadiums your family tradition. Baseball fans could take a trip to Chicago and spend a few nights watching the Cubs play at Wrigley Field and the next year take a trip to Boston to watch the Red Sox play in Fenway. Then spend a few days exploring the city and eating the food. You get the cool experience of visiting different baseball parks and seeing cool cities at the same time. If your family is not into baseball, choose whatever sport that you all enjoy – visit different football or hockey stadiums or watch basketball in different cities around the country.
This same concept holds true for any interest your family shares. If you like hiking or being outdoors, make traveling to a different national park your yearly family tradition. If you enjoy amusement parks, aquariums, or zoos, there are plenty around the country that you can center a yearly trip around. Go adventurous and visit a different country every year. The sky is the limit on what you can do! You will be making the most amazing family memories while doing something your entire family enjoys.
Family Traditions to Add to Your Travels
Your travel plans alone are not the only thing that can be part of your family tradition when you travel. Start some fun traditions on your next trip and make them part of your travels from now on.
Every good road trip needs snacks. Start a family tradition of bringing certain snacks on every trip. Your family will start to expect every trip has licorice, Swedish fish, or peanut butter sandwich crackers – whatever your family loves as a fun snack. Not driving? That is okay. You can still bring that unopened bag of licorice through TSA and break it out on the plane. Then one day when they are all grown up and you take a trip to the beach and you pull out that bag of licorice, your kids will smile and be brought down memory lane to all those trips they ate licorice as you headed off to your next adventure.
Another fun family tradition for your travels could be leaving painted rocks at all your stops and at your destination. Before you head out on your vacation, paint a handful of rocks with fun designs, pictures, or inspirational sayings. On the bottom, you can write where the rock is from and/or note the year. This activity has gained steam over the past few years and people hide and find rocks all over the place.
If you are taking a road trip, leave a rock where someone will find it when you make pit stops and save a few for your final destination. It will be a fun game for your family and you can spend the car ride imagining who will find it. If you are traveling by some other means, you can stow your rocks in your luggage and save them for your destination. It is a fun family activity for your family that will also brighten someone’s day when they unexpectedly find your works of art.
Another fun family tradition you can start if you do not do this already is picking a fun memento of your trips – spoons, postcards, coffee mugs, shot glasses, tacky knickknacks, whatever would make you and your family smile. It is always fun to grab a coffee mug from the cabinet and be reminded of that trip to the Great Smoky Mountains or to see a silly little turtle made out of seashells and googly eyes from Key West on your bookshelf.
Display things like postcards or tiny spoons in a shadowbox where you can see them. It is an easy way to remember your trips as a family. You can even make picking out the keepsake on each trip part of the family tradition.
Before you embark on your next family trip, buy an empty notebook and pack it along with your other things to start a family tradition of chronicling your travels. Whether it is in the style of a journal where you jot down details of your trip at the end of every day or it is more of a scrapbook where you collect keepsakes like ticket stubs and brochures with little notes about your trip, this is an easy family tradition to start and keep going trip after trip.
You can even let everyone in your family write a little something at the end of each trip like what their favorite part was or what was the funniest thing that happened. You can even ask little ones who are too young to write and write down their answers. Then one day you can look back through all your trips as a family and remember things long forgotten.
Whether or not you already have a family tradition when you travel, it is always easy to start one or to add a new tradition or two to the mix. The best memories are made as a family, so it is worth a few traditions to help preserve those memories. One day when your kids are grown, they may just pick up those same traditions with their own families and keep the legacy of picking up those tacky little knickknacks from wherever their travels take them.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out this article on 15 Fun Road Trip Games to Keep You and the Kids Laughing.
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