In the history of humanity, we have never had so much luxury when it comes to traveling and vacationing for pleasure. Our ancestors migrated when they had to, only able to live where there was pre-structured shelter, land for crops, or stable living conditions. Today we can just get in the car and go!
The days of planning a trip with a travel agency are also over, although businesses have changed models, only to offer us the same types of pre-determined timeshares (with the need for timeshare remediation or a timeshare exit strategy), destination vacations (where everyone and their mother-in-law is destined for), and cruises (where you’re going to gain 17 pounds in five days of non-stop buffets!). Healthy travelers–couples, families, or solo vacationers–can’t just be isolated to the same places everyone else is occupying and overpaying for. Convenience and overpaying constantly win out in these situations, as does an industry that is bigger than most other industries.
Traveling shackle-free is ideal, and we can do it without the responsibility of paying unnecessary fees and taxes or specialized costs. With enough planning, imagination, and cooperation from fellow travelers, vacationing can be a better and more freeing experience. The world is your playground, so get out there!
Go West! Or north, south, or east
Those precious 10 days of vacation are coming up and the parents still haven’t picked the right place. Orlando, Hawaii, and Vegas are out of the question, and the family just needs a place to arrive and relax. Have the kids pick the direction (or have a family vote), and then plan the trip, picking out attractions along the way. North, for example, could provide a night or two in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, or Vermont, and a few more days in Canada to give the whole family enough to see and experience. Next year go south, and east and west follow as the children grow.
Reinvent the “Staycation”
Lao Tzu said, “without leaving my house, I know the whole universe,” and this can be true for couples or families looking to relax, experience new places and restaurants without having to travel far at all. If there are three kids, have each kids pick something nearby they’ve always wanted to do, even if it’s staying in a hotel in the city and getting really good room service. There are endless possibilities to bring your loved ones closer together without breaking the bank or having to sign up for pricey timeshares, planes, or meals.
Whether you’re just out of college or driving a car full of children around, there’s still nothing better than a good old road trip. Hotels, camping, hiking (both in nature and the city), and watching the country speed by outside of the window are rites of passage that every kid and adult should have memories of. Fly the family across a few states and then take your time driving back in a rental. Do a tour based on a special interest like museums, national monuments, famous movie scenes, or abandoned towns. Encourage the kids to be as much a part of planning as mom and dad, and make those memories based on doing what other families haven’t done yet.
Walk, bike, drive, fly
For the family, couple, or lone traveler who doesn’t want to choose just one or two places, spread out your traveling destinations based on where you can go by foot, bike, vehicle, train, or plane. Walking can lead you to great local places you’ve actually never been to. Take the train into the city for a great day walking or biking, or bike the local terrain or nearby towns. Then spread out of town by car, train, or plane for a two or three-night stay somewhere else. Do what you can afford and make it as interesting or creative as you can.
France. Just do France (or wherever you’ve been wanting to go).
Some destinations seem impossible to save for, even within the scope of a lifetime–but imagine if you could see a city, country, or continent, if only for a few days! Time and resources are on your side. Two days in France, Japan, or New York without the kids could be affordable versus taking the whole family for two weeks. A spouse going alone to Italy, Russia, or Tanzania, or traveling with a best friend or family member to India or Australia is always an option as well, especially if the destination is somewhere that the other spouse or partner has little interest in. Whatever the case and wherever the place, there are more options than revisiting the same place every 51 weeks.