Monday, October 25, 2010

Family vacations

Will and I both love to travel. We are lucky enough to have been to some amazing places together. We visited his childhood home in China. We got engaged in Thailand. We honeymooned in East Africa. And we spent our first wedding anniversary driving on the wrong side of the road through the beautiful hills of Ireland. We purposely traveled as much as we could over the past few years because we knew that once we started a family it would no longer be as easy as it had once been. However, it is definitely manageable and I know this from my own experiences as a child.

My parents took my brother, sisters and me on all sorts of vacations growing up. These trips took us as close as Cape Cod and as far away as Europe. We went to festivals, amusement parks and museums. We spent two weeks together in a cottage near the beach or a condo in the mountains every summer. We visited Disney World, went on a Caribbean cruise, did a road trip along the California coast and got our first passports stamps in England.

Planning vacations for a family of 6 could have been very expensive but my parents valued the importance of travel and found ways to lessen the financial burden. When we visited NYC, we stayed in vacant college dorms across the Hudson River in Hoboken. We were able to fly to England on a $99 each way airfare sale. Our first stop was always a grocery store, allowing us to cook most of our meals or pack picnic lunches instead of always eating out at restaurants. I look back now and realize that planning those trips must have been a lot of hard work for my parents but I am so grateful for them and family vacations are a tradition I absolutely want to share with Nathan. So last week we headed down to Charleston, SC for a few days and had our first official Chenivan vacation.

Following in the footsteps of my parents, we tried to make the trip as affordable as possible. We redeemed credit card miles to get free flights. We traveled mid-week to get less expensive hotel rates. And we ate at family friendly, a.k.a inexpensive, restaurants. Charleston was the perfect spot for our first vacation. It was a short flight from NYC. It was a small city with a slow pace. The people were friendly, the food was delicious and the weather was warm. We had a great time and I look forward to many more trips in the future.

Although our destinations over the next few years might not be as exotic as we'd like, we hope that they will leave Nathan with some wonderful memories and infect him with the infamous travel bug.

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