When I think about what makes my heart sing, it's travel.
And the best kind of travel are those trips where my loved ones are part of the journey. As a child growing up in the Midwest, our big summer vacation meant a visit to see my grandmother and other family members on the east end of Long Island. Now, I understand why we never complained. They live in what is currently referred to as The Hamptons.
We also camped, spent Spring Break in Florida and in time, began taking ski trips to the West. (I was the oldest of five, so my younger siblings probably did less camping and more skiing. The sibs, and the next generation, still gather in places far and near and it continues to be a source of joy for all of us.)
It was clear, the West was calling my name and I didn't waste any time moving to the land of big skies, deserts, mountains and rivers. My children have been raised living in Arizona and Montana and spending as much time as possible exploring the natural world.
And we traveled.
We skied in Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming. We hiked, biked, fished and rafted throughout the West. Trekked along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, explored the deep reaches of the Amazon, floated through the Grand Canyon, snorkeled in Maui and fished for bones in the Bahamas. We've spent time on golf courses, in National Parks, on horseback and in the backcountry.
We also toured the Big Apple, lived in Washington DC, spent time in London, Paris and beyond and each one of us feels like we are just getting started. We've stayed in some fancy places, in resorts, ranches and on cruise ships. We've camped under the stars and spent the night in a few places we won't recommend!
All this to say, that if I can help sort through some of the many choices for you, it would be my pleasure.
Here's to happy traveling!
All the best,
Lynn O'Rourke Hayes
PS: My husband and I continue to explore the world. And, our family continues to grow. I now have two amazing daughters-in-law and the latest addition....our first grandson, Hunter. I can't wait to take him on our first multigenerational trip!
According to advocacy group Project: Time Off, more than half of American workers leave unused vacation days on their company’s board room table. Meanwhile, the research shows that by planning ahead, more families will actually take much-need vacations and thus reap a multitude of personal and professional benefits.
Here are five ideas to consider:
Make planning a priority.
Whether you begin by tossing up a tent in the backyard or strategizing to experience a safari in Africa, there is no time like the present to begin planning a family vacation. As children and grandchildren get older, their schedules become more complicated by their own commitments making it more difficult than ever to plan time together. With dates on the calendar, you’ll feel less stress at work, knowing you’ve provided the boss and coworkers with plenty of notice about your plans.
According to Project: Time Off , 75 percent of those who plan ahead were more likely to take a full week or more of vacation in a single stretch. By crafting a strategy in advance you’ll have your pick of departures, the best cabins on a cruise ship and more options in popular resort areas. While you are at it, scan the year ahead and be the first to claim vacation days around existing holidays and school breaks, creating a longer stretch for relaxation and enjoyment. Knowing good times are on the horizon, you’ll have the added benefit of anticipating the getaway.
Taking time to create a thoughtful bucket list can make it easier to plan for meaningful vacations, those that are a deliberate reflection of your values, hopes and dreams. So before you begin listing desired destinations, ask yourself what aspects of the world - geographically, spiritually and culturally - you want to share with your children, grandchildren and perhaps other friends and family members. As your ideas take shape, know your list will evolve over the years. Therefore, think about which destinations you hope to visit while your children are in the nest and which might best be saved for later. And, when it comes time to involve the children in creating the bucket list, remember that kids don’t know what they don’t know. Certain theme parks and resorts will likely be on their radar screens. But they may not be aware of the glories of Yellowstone or Yosemite or the historical significance of Gettysburg or Montpelier.
Celebrate milestone events.
Geographic spread, busy careers and school and sports schedules make it more difficult than ever to spend time together. Therefore, planning ahead to celebrate birthdays, graduations and anniversaries can be an important touchstone and meaningful part of a family’s legacy. With plenty of advance notice, you’ll increase the odds that more family members will be able to take part in the fun. Ask your clan to save a date and then get to work creating a gathering that will be a lasting memory for all.
Reap the benefits.
In-depth research indicates that Americans who take time to plan their vacation time in the year ahead are happier than their come-what-may counterparts. Planners are happier with their health and well-being, their financial picture, their personal relationships and even their overall mood, according to the research. Further, an overwhelming majority of American workers report that time off helps them relax and recharge, and offers the opportunity to pursue personal interests Nearly two-thirds of employees say their concentration and productivity at work improves with time off. Business leaders echo this sentiment. Of those surveyed, 91 percent believe employees return from vacation recharged and renewed—and ready to work more effectively.
Ready to make a plan? Find out how we can help or check in with our FamilyTravel.com Vacation Planner!
Take advantage of National Plan For Vacation Day. For more information: www.ProjectTimeOff.
It took Sally Black a while to figure out exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. In the meantime, she's been a single mom to three kids, a Pediatric Nurse who delivered babies, an internet pioneer and all while circling the globe while knitting. After all this hard work she finally settled on the idea that vacations are something she does best.
Travel and vacation planning can be overwhelming.
Certainly, there are plenty of trip ideas and experiences to consider within FamilyTravel.com. But if you are ready to take the next step, we offer the following options:
Consult with me, Lynn O’Rourke Hayes, the editor and owner of FamilyTravel.com. After traveling to more than 100 countries, and 48 of our 50 states, often with my own kids and other family members in tow, I have a few ideas to offer.
More about that here.
Consult Sally Black and her team of travel agent pros at VacationKids. Since 2000, Vacationkids has created extraordinary, customized family vacation experiences worldwide. From Disney adventures and island cruises to off the beaten path exploration, handcrafted family and multi-generational vacations (with unexpected delights) is what they do best. As Sally likes to say, “happiness is always included!"
You can take the first step in the planning process here or give her a call at 610-681-7360.
We have more ideas in the works.
But for now, we hope this moves you a little closer to a great vacation with the kids, grandkids and those you love!
Thanks for stopping by!