Family vacations change as your kids get older. You go from taking your toddlers to amusement parks and zoos to enduring decidedly unamused teenagers sulking in the backseat of the minivan. But when your kids are older, you may just find that the family vacation you take with your adult children can be really enjoyable. I’ve gone from pushing a stroller through Disney World to trying to humor brooding teens and I have to say, I’ve got plenty of reasons why traveling with your adult children is the way to go.
YOU CAN TAKE CARE OF YOU
Vacation with small children means packing for several people, lining up snacks and toys for the trip and making sure everyone has their favorite place in the car, which of course changes not only trip to trip but mile to mile. You have to pay for everyone to travel. You can’t expect the 2nd grader to buy a plane ticket after all.
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With adult children, you pack for your own needs, load the car with snacks you’ll enjoy and have the opportunity to watch the scenery instead of the ruckus in the back seat. You’ll pay for only one set of tickets or load the car with only a set of luggage, not half the house.
When the kids were small, chances are you hit the amusement parks or the beach. You planned each day’s activities, making sure there was time built into the day for naps and balanced meals. You worried about the kids going too far out in the water or wandering away near the roller coaster.
With adult children there’s no need to hold hands as you cross the street. You don’t have to have them in sight every minute. Even better, they can buy their own sodas and souvenirs.
Once you settle on the dates and location, get yourself there and relax. Choose the best room for yourself and feel no guilt about it! Consider it compensation for all those years the family shared a tent or a single hotel room, one with the beds packed in so tight you couldn’t see the floor.
NO MORE PACK MENTALITY
With small children, you move as a herd. The day’s agenda is the same for everyone. If Tuesday is waterpark day, everyone gets sunburned noses. If Wednesday is hiking day, everyone puts on a backpack and avoids the poison ivy. Traveling with adults means that while you can spend time together, you’re not joined at the hip 24/7.
Set aside one time a day when you come together as a family. Get everyone together for a big breakfast or meet at a favorite restaurant for dinner. Hang out together if you like, or go your separate ways. They’re big kids now; they don’t need you to caution them about strangers or swimming too soon after lunch. Go antiquing if you like. Maybe one of the kids will come along giving you a chance for a little one on one time. Play a round of golf with your son. So what if he drives 50 yards farther than you do? He’ll probably buy you a drink in the 19th hole.
The world is a big place and sometimes it seems our kids seek out the farthest corners to call home. Rally the troops and get everyone under the same roof. Rejoice in the fact that they no longer battle over the last chocolate chip cookie or argue over whose turn it is to do the dishes. Someone besides you can be in charge of meals and laundry.
Get the grownups together, enjoy the wonderful people your children have become and remember the very best part: grownups pay their own way. This is a vacation you can really enjoy!