On Wednesday afternoon we returned from a 4d/3n trip up north to one of our very favorite Minnesota cities, Brainerd. We found an amazing deal on Crowd Cut that required us to sit in on a timeshare spiel. And it was interesting to say the least.
Alex and I love to vacation. Seriously, love to vacation. And our vacations include lots of relaxing. If our vacation at the end leaves us wanting another vacation, then we did not plan our trip well. We travel not only to see new places but for rest and rejuvenation.
I’ve been reading Kent and Barbara Hughes book Disciplines of a Godly Family, and I was so encouraged that they made a point to talk about the discipline of family vacation. As a family we make a “disciplined investment” in taking family vacations.
To share with you just how important vacation is to us I’ll share the answers we gave the timeshare man in response to his questions. Realize we had to answer individually and we ended up answering simultaneously with the same answers.
1. How many weeks/how much time do you spend on vacation each year? 4 weeks
2. How important, on a scale from 1-10, is vacation to you? 10
3. How much to do typically spend annually on vacation? 6% of our take home pay
The last question we obviously answered more specifically for the man but to give you an idea of our vacation budget, we spend 7.5% of our take home income on groceries, household items, and clothing. We value vacation. In fact, just to illustrate that I’m selfishly human, there are times all year long that I get a bit jealous of what everyone else can buy, spend, decorate, etc. I’m often reminded by my husband of the sacrifice and investment we make in taking vacations. As soon as he says it I realize I’d much rather be gone in the winter than have such and such for our house or more time at the salon, etc.
Elizabeth will turn 2 in 9 days and in her little lifetime she has been on an airplane for 4 trips, only one of which had direct flights. So that’s 14 plane rides. She’s become quite accustomed to the airport! We’ve been up north with her twice as well and the memories we’ve made already make my heart swell. In those 4 weeks of vacation, we usually spend two of them traveling in the January and March to escape the cold, Alex uses one for his annual guys ski trip and the other 7 days are split between long weekend trips.
In our timeshare presentation, after answering his questions, the man just kind of stared at us. Apparently he doesn’t get that many couples in his office like us. And then he asked a question that I’m sure helped explain things for him. He asked if we traveled a lot as children with our families and both of us answered yes.
Vacationing for us is really important, obviously, but as our two girls grow up it’s taken on a new level of importance. We really want to expose them to other places, other cultures, create family memories, and create opportunities for us to do fun things, without normal tasks getting in the way. We can’t wait to take them all over the United States and overseas. We figure we are 5 years out from being able to take them across the pond and show them some of our favorite spots.
If you’re thinking we’re either crazy or that we’ll wake up and realize we don’t want to be with our kids, or take them on vacation…it may help to understand what vacation is to us.
Vacations are a means of creating and fostering family relationships, creating positive family memories, and having fun as a family unit. Right now our vacations are more about keeping things really simple, relaxing and trying to fit in one or two fun activities that are age appropriate but that mom and dad enjoy as well. As the girls get older we’ll have to be a bit more strategic in creating great vacations but ones that also have some learning components as well.
For instance, for 4 days up north in MN we did the bare minimum. We rented bikes and went on an hour bike ride, we went to the beach/lake at least twice a day, and we relished naptime when we stretched out and read books. Alex even managed to play 27 holes of golf.
I think we like and value getting away so much because everyone is unplugged for the most part. Work isn’t taking the forefront, nor are daily chores, instead there’s eating out or eating in simply, playing together as a family, extra screen time for Elizabeth, ice cream and lots of quality time.
Things I’m sure will shake up a bit when our next little one arrives, but we already have earmarked trips in January and early April. Obviously everyone can’t afford or set aside money to take big family trips. We’ve been blessed until this point with either free lodging, inexpensive lodging, and free airline tickets via credit card points. We usually eat in our unit and eat out less. Our trips are far from extravagant but they are really enjoyable and rejuvenating. Even a stay-cation for one night in your town or camping can be great ways to get the benefit of family vacation on a budget.
As far as this past trip, it was so enjoyable. Elizabeth is at the perfect age for vacation, she adapts well to being somewhere else, and she’s game for almost any activity. Growing up with a lakeside cabin in the family makes time at the lake so special to me. After our trip I told Alex that we have to start planning that every summer, starting in a few years, we will head up north in the summer as a family for a week. I need the lake. The view, the memories, the boating, the sand and smell of lake water. We’ll see how that pans out…but a girl can hope, especially since I’ve been told a cabin is not in the long term plan!
And while the timeshare spiel was enticing, we turned it down. Too many unknowns.
But that’s okay because the vacation was worth it!
Do you vacation as a family? Where is your favorite spot to go?