Creating A Family Vacation Bucket List
If you’re on any type of social media, you’ve probably seen the anxiety-inducing “you only have eighteen summers with your child - make them count” that went viral a few years ago. I remember how it made me feel. That overwhelming, stifling feeling that childhood is going to fly by faster than I can imagine and that my daughters will be out on their own before I’ve had a chance to experience everything I want to do with them.
So what does a Type A mom do when she feels like time is rushing by? Well I booked a coffee date with my husband to make sure our family doesn’t miss out on a thing. We dropped our five year old off at Nutcracker rehearsal and took took our sleeping three month old into a nearby Starbucks to make a plan. After a couple of hours, we had a list of “Munn Family Vacations” for the next 18 years. Yep - all planned out until our younger daughter graduates high school!
Ok, now that you’re done rolling your eyes, bear with me. It’s one of the best things we’ve done for our family! We aren’t left scrambling for last minute ideas during school and summer breaks, it makes budgeting for travel a breeze, and we aren’t swayed by the travel commercials shown during the kids’ YouTube shows or by where all their classmates are going.
Has it worked out perfectly? Of course not! (Most things with kids don’t.) We didn’t ski during kindergarten spring break; our six year old’s coordination and independence wasn’t where it needed to be for a worthwhile trip. We also nixed the “rent an RV and drive across several states” after we saw how our two year old handled a few hours on a Colorado road trip. But those are still memories we want to make as a family, so we simply moved them ahead to another year on the list.
Brainstorm. With your entire family or just your spouse, come up with a list of places you want to see and things you want to do. These can be as simple as visiting your state capital or as big as visiting every state capital. Chartering a yacht or renting a lakehouse. Paris or Disney World.
Prioritize. I suggest creating a few lists in order of priority, then a quick analysis to see which vacations are at the top of the lists, and making those the next trips you take. We took into consideration the ages our daughters would be each year. For example, we decided to do a Mexico beach vacation while the girls are fairly young because it’s a quicker flight than Hawaii. Our larger budget trips are out further into the future. We also want to visit NYC when the girls are small, then again when they are quite a bit older.
Calendar it. I jotted down each year, the girls’ ages that year and the trips we wanted to take on a page in my planner. At the end of that year, I tore it out and it’s been taped to the inside cover of each planner after that. I find having our travel bucket list written down and right in front of me makes it more of a goal or to-do list that gets made a priority rather than just something we dream about.
Just in case you’re wondering what’s up next on our list - we’ve already booked our 2020 Walt Disney World trip and if plans work out, will be spending Christmas break in Chicago.