More Ecclectic Momma Musings: The Learning Curve of Vacationing as a Family

familySo…. we are definitely learning how to vacation as a family and the curve is HUGE! I am an early get up and go person. My spouse is a sleep in, fiddle around, get out late-afternoon person. Our son is a get up early, dance around, get out and stay out and moving person. So we have that challenge to overcome along with the fact that neither adult grew up in New England so we’re still trying to figure out which place works best for all of us and our varying desires and needs. AND I didn’t grow up “vacationing.” In southern Cali you just drove to the beach whenever, sometimes you stayed a weekend at Big Bear or Lake Arrowhead, but if you vacationed you got on a plane and went somewhere. I’m not accustomed to packing a car with all the necessities and driving two hours for a 10 day stay.

So far we have agreed that a cottage very close to the beach with a¬†pool and a playground if possible will be best. How much are we gonna pay for that?! This is so that the boy and I can get up early and hit the beach without driving or feeling guilty we left daddy behind and so that daddy can sleep in and wander to the beach if and when he feels like it. We’re also struggling to balance the child (4.5 y.o.) activities with adult activities. Art museums and nice dinners out and park concerts vs. pirate ships, bouncy houses, and face-painting.Beach House

When I was single and when we were without child our stays were always in NICE hotels, all meals were had out, and we always got up late and stayed out LATE! NICE hotels are just not practical for us or our budget (the nicest we do is a place with a kitchenette like Fairfield Inn or Spring Hill Suites)! Waking up early is the only option as the boy child is an early bird and staying out late is out of the question…without a nap our son is good until 8 p.m. at best, with a nap, 10 p.m. might be pushing it.

We didn’t plan well this year because we had TONS of family obligations right up until the night we left, so we just packed and drove to the Cape! But here’s what I’m thinking and I’m hoping other vacation-savvy families will share their stories:

car travel

  1. Plan ahead with a map and those touristy books full of things to do, etc.
  2. If possible only travel in good weather, except the Cape places book up fast and it’s New England…how do we know it’s not gonna rain 6 months in advance???
  3. Decide what type of vacationing fits you: We like the beach (vs. a lake vacation) but also need the convenience of a pool for rainy days or days that are too hot
  4. Decide what accommodations fit your family: We should be in a cottage or condo vs. hotels because then we can save money by cooking and pack less with a washing machine in the house
  5. Pack wisely: We know we should pack less stuff (Elspeth if you’re reading this don’t laugh!)
  6. Schedule appropriately: We think we should do kid stuff early in the day, take a nap and then accommodate daddy (LOL), maybe daddy should travel with a late-nigh hang-out buddy!
  7. Find travel buddies: We think we should invite another family with same-age child (anyone else have experience with this?)
  8. Shop around: We feel like we should also check out another vacation spot in case we like somewhere else better….like Ogunquit, ME (anyone vacation in more than 1 spot?)
  9. Count your blessings: We know we should be blessed that we can all go on vacation together and get some R & R. We’ll enjoy wherever we go!

I’ve reviewed almost all of our adventures on Trip Advisor, so check out my thoughts on the Cape! More to come.