Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
kjvmartin
Posts: 1376
Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2015 8:57 am

Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by kjvmartin » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm

As a preface, I'm not one who is known to love traveling. As a couple, we haven't slept anywhere overnight since our honeymoon and we've since had three young children approximately two years apart. The oldest will be five this spring. No interest in flying, but don't mind driving. We've considered the major attractions, theme parks, water parks, Great Wolf Lodge, etc. We run into the thought that the oldest would enjoy that, but the little ones #1 won't even remember and #2 will require a lot of attention. Then, we think of something scenic or rustic, such as a cabin, cottage, beach, or lake house. This also seems like a liability for the younger ones and a lot of work to keep up with their needs, while giving the oldest one fun experiences. Renting a boat and trying to keep a one/two year old from drowning sounds stressful. A giant double stroller in and out of crowded tourist traps while trying to wrangle the 5 year old..

On the other hand, if we wait five years till all 3 kids are of age to remember and enjoy a vacation, the oldest will be about 10 and that's a long time to go without a proper vacation for mom and dad... Right? I'm not sure we have the family support to leave all 3 for longer than an evening. I'm close to capping out on my vacation time at work (8.5 weeks) with no option to cash out. I'll need to find some reason to use it.

Anyone have success, advice, and/or horror stories of taking a group of toddlers on the road?
Last edited by kjvmartin on Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

delamer
Posts: 9280
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by delamer » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:14 pm

We didn’t go on our first major vacation — to Disney World —until our kids were 10 and 6, respectively.

I don’t think our older one feels derived (at age 27 now).

We did do weeks at the beach with both sides of the family most years when the kids were even younger. To be perfectly frank, I liked the ones with my in-laws better because we would have our own condo while with my parents we had one house for everyone. The condo gave us more privacy.

But in both cases, it made things easier when the adults outnumbered the kids.

Bpttom line, is that it is worth considering doing a vacation with extended family when you have little kids.

User avatar
cheese_breath
Posts: 8968
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2011 7:08 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by cheese_breath » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:18 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
... We run into the thought that the oldest would enjoy that, but the little ones #1 won't even remember and #2 will require a lot of attention....
That's what they call being a parent. Something simple like the beach that the oldest one would enjoy, and as the others get older they will enjoy it too. Don't rob the oldest of his vacation because you decided to have two more.
The surest way to know the future is when it becomes the past.

User avatar
willthrill81
Posts: 13865
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Location: USA

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by willthrill81 » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:18 pm

We took our daughter on a nearly 4,000 mile road trip with a travel trailer across Oregon and California when she was only 15 months old. There were definitely some challenges, but we had a great time overall. She woke up at 4 a.m. most of the time, but it was actually a blessing because we got to get to many very popular places well before the crowds did. For instance, we got to see Muir Woods just outside San Francisco with virtually no one there at a time when the parking lot would be completely full by 9 a.m. Good times! :D

Image
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 17591
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Watty » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:22 pm

You might start out with "Staycation" where you take the time off work and stay in town so do things locally.

They don't need to be big or expensive things and even doing things like going to a pool or playground for a few hours will help build family family memories.

User avatar
market timer
Posts: 6172
Joined: Tue Aug 21, 2007 1:42 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by market timer » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:28 pm

When we go as a family, we enjoy scenic resorts close to home with babysitting service. However, you don't have to travel as a family. I've taken my oldest son on several trips where it was just two of us. Those have also been a lot of fun.

User avatar
fortfun
Posts: 2446
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2016 7:31 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by fortfun » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:34 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
As a preface, I'm not one who is known to love traveling. As a couple, we haven't slept anywhere overnight since our honeymoon and we've since had three young children approximately two years apart. The oldest will be five this spring. No interest in flying, but don't mind driving. We've considered the major attractions, theme parks, water parks, Great Wolf Lodge, etc. We run into the thought that the oldest would enjoy that, but the little ones #1 won't even remember and #2 will require a lot of attention. Then, we think of something scenic or rustic, such as a cabin, cottage, beach, or lake house. This also seems like a liability for the younger ones and a lot of work to keep up with their needs, while giving the oldest one fun experiences. Renting a boat and trying to keep a one/two year old from drowning sounds stressful. A giant double stroller in and out of crowded tourist traps while trying to wrangle the 5 year old..

On the other hand, if we wait five years till all 3 kids are of age to remember and enjoy a vacation, the oldest will be about 10 and that's a long time to go without a proper vacation for mom and dad... Right? I'm not sure we have the family support to leave all 3 for longer than an evening. I'm close to capping out on my vacation time at work (8.5 weeks) with no option to cash out. I'll need to find some reason to use it.

Anyone have success, advice, and/or horror stories of taking a group of toddlers on the road?
We started taking our kids to all inclusives in Mexico (Cancun, Playa, Akumal, Cabo, etc.) at one year old. We always stayed places where the kids stayed for free. We went wherever we could find cheap tickets/all-inclusives where kids were free. When we were near water, we kept the kids in life vests so we wouldn't have to worry about them drowning. It worked well for us. Total trip cost for a week was about 2k+ (family of 4). We did one trip like this per year.

User avatar
Time2Quit
Posts: 244
Joined: Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:47 am
Location: Fridgid State

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Time2Quit » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:44 pm

We have always made it a priority to vacation with the kids, always do at least two major trips (Always 1 international and 1 beach) and several 4 day weekend vacations, they always look forward to it. As they start to leave the nest, those that have still join us for at least 1 trip. The trips have generated lots of memories and fun. I would not trade it for anything.
"It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor." --Seneca

User avatar
bottlecap
Posts: 6234
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2007 11:21 pm
Location: Tennessee

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by bottlecap » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:48 pm

I've taken vacations in my adult life, much of which I don't remember.

Part of it is merely the experience, so I wouldn't wait until your kids are old enough to remember.

If remembering things was all that mattered, doctors would recommend keeping kids in a closet for the first 5 years.

So that is not an excuse not to take a vacation.

JT

sailaway
Posts: 744
Joined: Fri May 12, 2017 1:11 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by sailaway » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:53 pm

When I was growing up a proper vacation was camping next to Grandma and Grandpa.

Those expensive, fancy things are generally horrible experiences, even the five year old is on the young side.

Experience means doing things. Take the kids for a picnic and roll down the hill and toss a ball around.

HIinvestor
Posts: 1833
Joined: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:23 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by HIinvestor » Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:57 pm

We started taking our kids on 5+ hour plane rides from the time they were 6 months old. We went most years, sometimes twice or more a Year. It wasn’t so much specific places for the kids, it was being together and exploring different things together, as well as seeing loved ones who didn’t live nearby.

Driving vacations & staycations are fine, but there are limits as to how far we can drive on an island.

As our budget and calenders permitted, we enjoyed going on trips and would try to combine them with work travel when we could and seeing family.

It’s actually easier to travel when the kids are young and don’t have team or school commitments or plans with their friends. Enjoy the time—it really flies by! Our kids have a love of national parks and the great outdoors from our many trips to national parks. They are now 29/31 and visit them without us.

naclt
Posts: 31
Joined: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:15 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by naclt » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:02 pm

We’re in a similar position as we have three young kids that are all two years apart. Family vacations were one of the things we decided early to make a priority.

We go to the beach every year for a week and it’s one of the things our kids enjoy the most. Having a pool and ocean and just being away from home works wonders and is a relatively easy trip to plan.

We also do Disney World about every 2 years. Our first trip was when my oldest son was almost two and my DW was pregnant with our second. After much thought, we decided it would be a fun trip. Does he remember it, no. Do we remember it, yes. Just remember that a vacation is for you as well...and seeing Disney through a child’s eye is a magical thing. We continue to go even though the youngest child wouldn’t have vivid memories...because we still would and now so do our oldest.

Disclaimer: vacation with young kids is anything but. They’re work, and a 9ish hour drive to Disney with 3 kids can be trying. But we all talk about the experience year round.

veindoc
Posts: 626
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by veindoc » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:07 pm

First of all with young kids it is not really a vacation more just a change of venue. :annoyed

Having said that just because the kid won’t remember it doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy it or learn from it.
When my kids were that young we did mostly beach vacations with a nearby pool. Miami was our go-to. Kids loved to play with sand and it was a nice sensory experience. A bucket and shovel provided hours of joy. I was terrified to take my 4 and 2 year out on the water by myself lest one get swept away by a wave so I put life jackets on both and we stayed very very close to the beach edge. Paranoid I know. But pools were lovely and with both kids in floating tubes and such it felt safer. The kids never tired of it.

Great Wolf lodge is good for small kids. The water park is easily managed with small kids. They can spend their time in the spray park or wading pool. But I would do it just for a weekend. Your kids are too small to take advantage of the arcade or that wizard game thing. I believe they had an indoor playground area too.

We also visited family a lot. Kids were spoiled by aunts/uncles/grandparents and we sometimes got spoiled by having a babysitter for an afternoon or evening so we could catch a movie. We didn’t bother with museums and the like or other outside activities as we just spent time at the home of the relative who were happy to see us.

We are not campers but I imagine an activity like that where you spend the day collecting leaves and catching bugs could be fun for a weekend.

Cruises can be nice because they often have kid oriented entertainment and kids clubs, although I believe the minimum age is 3. We went on one cruise and our then 5 year old had separation anxiety and wanted no part of the kids club activities. We did activities with the kids and had a good time but the dreamed of adult only time did not materialize.

Keep it simple. We worried about kids getting hurt as hotels/air bnbs are not as childproof as our home was. Plus our kids were a little hard on the rooms. Lamps were particularly vulnerable. Our kids had limited palates and sometimes getting them to eat strange food was a challenge. Sleep was always disrupted and the kids didn’t settle down in a hotel as easily as they did in their own quiet room. Plus once the kids were asleep the options were limited as we feared the noise from tv would wake them. So we often went to bed early.

Anyway good luck and have fun.

User avatar
camillus
Posts: 600
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:55 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by camillus » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:26 pm

Father of a 1yo and 4yo, here. Just got back from Disney. It was do-able, but only because my wife is a Disney-maniac and knew the parks like the back of her hand. We also had TWO sets of grandparents with us. A big trip like that is possible, but it has to be your thing.

Much more achievable is a simple two or three day driving trip to different airbnbs 2-3 hours away from your home. We did this and explored Northern Michigan. One night we had an airbnb in a docked househoat, which our 4 year old thought was really neat.

Simply pack your clothes and a cooler, diaper bag, and the pack n play. You can always pull off the road for the grocery store. You can also give the kids a tablet to keep them quiet while you're driving.

I'd start by seeing what's interesting on airbnb that's within a short drive.

Enjoy your family.

Tal-
Posts: 454
Joined: Fri Apr 22, 2016 10:41 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Tal- » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:40 pm

A few thoughts, based on my own experiences

First and foremost, don't think of a family vacation as your vacation!!! Family vacations are for the kids, and will probably be *more* stressful for mom and dad than simply saying at home in the normal routine.

With that said, finding something that young kids (under 5) will enjoy is a little hard - and I think that there are a few clear favorites: Camping, Vacation house (we like isolated and in the woods), and Disney. Cruises, Hawaii, resorts, and Great Wolf Lodge get some praise, but I feel that these are clearly a huge step behind that top tier.

If you're at all interested in value, and/or at all inclined, I would say that camping is by far the best choice. This can be a bit of work to set up, but kids really love it. For that reason, vacation houses are a good alternative - though you often lack the social component of traditional camping.

Disney is probably the most obvious choice, and for good reason. The trips are pretty easy, and the kids are all-but guaranteed to have a blast. This may also be the most enjoyable for mom and dad.

I'm not an advocate for taking a baby, or even a toddler on any vacation. For us, the tipping point was being potty trained. Whether they will have memories of this is debatable - I tend to think that they will remember the trip, even if they don't remember any of the specifics.
Debt is to personal finance as a knife is to cooking.

StealthRabbit
Posts: 434
Joined: Sat Jun 13, 2009 1:25 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by StealthRabbit » Sun Mar 03, 2019 10:51 pm

Young kids (and young moms) appreciate a swimming resort week! Maybe you can get some hotel points / perks

Older kids (10+) might enjoy a working farm. // adventure / dude ranch.

We traveled very extensively (Lived and worked overseas, and spent 20 -50% of our USA time traveling.
We should have spent more time backpacking as a family. (we did a lot of that 'pre-kids')

We stay with Hospitality Hosts. free to $20 / night worldwide (usually farms).
Worked excellent for thousands of great stays in last 30 yrs. Kids (parents) learned a lot!
https://wikitravel.org/en/Hospitality_exchange

IMO
Posts: 644
Joined: Fri May 05, 2017 6:01 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by IMO » Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:16 pm

The thought of vacation experiences with young kids is interesting and perplexing.

When you go the effort of taking young kids to a vacation type of experience, the experience is truly priceless. Whether that is taking a young child to Disneyland/Legoland or a cool beach, you as a parent will have memories that will last up until your dementia sets in older life.

You will take pictures/videos and always have those to look back and re-live those precious times.

Your kid(s) will be in the moment and have the time of their young lives on these adventures. Then they will get older and by the time they are in their teenage years they will really not remember the trips. You can show video and the response will be they think they remember the trips, but they really cannot definitively remember the trips. Did it make them a better person compared to someone who didn't have such early life experiences? I really don't know? Who really knows?

That leaves the thought, should one spend the time and energy dragging the car seats, extra baggage, and dealing with the occasional difficult flight and sneering looks/attitudes of someone who's never had kids or has forgotten the trials of having young kids.

So to answer the OP question the "Value of Vacation experience .. with Young Kids" that is an individual decision. For myself/spouse it was priceless. For my kid, I would like to believe there is some lifelong value to those trips. (Maybe the kid won't become a serial killer because of those early vacations, who knows?) They would be able to look back at old pictures/videos and if they didn't remember the trip, they would remember how important their parents felt it was to bring them on trips at the least.

So like most things in life, probably best to keep things in balance in life. While an African safari might seem like a great trip to take your young kids for vacation, a trip to a nearby local wildlife park would probably be of equal value for the kid(s). If your on a tight budget, staying at an inexpensive motel and driving into Disneyland may provide just as much of an experience as staying in an expensive Disneyworld hotel.

They do grow up quickly and all the money in the world cannot buy back that time.

rivers03
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:04 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by rivers03 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:15 am

We have 3 kids (6, 4, 1). We are admittedly travel people but traveling with my children is probably one of my favorite parts of being a parent and SO worth the effort. We have done DC, Disney, Disney cruise, Colorado incl Great Wolf Lodge in CO Springs, Boston + Maine, Chicago, New Orleans, Smoky Mountains, and more (some of these before #3 was born). Do they remember it all? Of course not, but my husband and truly cherish the memories ourselves. I could go on and on about specific things we remember about our children from each trip. We have only flown once with them so these were all otherwise road trips from TN. IMO, the absolute “easiest” vacation with small kids is a Disney cruise. It’s pricey but tons of activities for adults and kids. They literally cater it to young families and there is a kids club and nursery for a bit of adult time. With no distractions like work/chores/phones/etc we enjoyed reconnecting and doing family activities together. Simple things like playing foosball (first time for my older 2) on the top deck every night are priceless memories- pretty soon they will not want to hang out with us! We also loved Keystone, CO in the summer- beautiful scenery, outdoor activities, off season crowds/rates. Urban areas are more challenging to me with the double stroller so I would probably not recommend starting with that. Good luck to you!

Rxwolf
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 30, 2019 1:50 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Rxwolf » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:59 am

IMO wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 11:16 pm

They do grow up quickly and all the money in the world cannot buy back that time.
This is best information so far.

Also Watty noted you could just take a staycation---cheap, fun, no added stress. OP, don't lose the vaca time.


I have four little ones 11 to 3. We have "wasted" money on cruises, disney, multiple national parks, etc but really these were trips for US, the parents. To see the look on your child's face on these trips is a huge reward. It is also where parents can be fun again; we stay up late, get candy or treats that we don't normally have, and just spend time (and money) together having fun.

I will stress that I feel that having a more laid back schedule vs seeing "everything" is more enjoyable for the kids. Plan to have down time to be spontaneous, let the kids sleep in (if you let them stay up late), pack a lunch or dinner but if the family wants to get something else, go for it.

But as others have said, it is all very personal.

FireProof
Posts: 728
Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 12:15 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by FireProof » Mon Mar 04, 2019 4:38 am

If you guys have never liked vacations, don't force yourself for the kids - letting the kids dictate things seems to be a curse of modern parenting. In truth, kids can adapt easily. But certainly don't let them hold you back. In the end, they're much more portable now than they'll be as teenagers!

Basically all of my earliest memories are from a family vacation we took spanning ages 4 and 5, an 8-month motorhome trip around the US, so it can be a pretty formative experience. Which isn't to say I hadn't traveled a lot before and forgotten everything.

hrc84
Posts: 39
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2014 7:46 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by hrc84 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 7:49 am

We have two kids (2 & 3) with another on the way and have gone on numerous trips (beach houses, mountain cottage, Disney, theme parks, cruise, national parks, road trips, and flying) with them throughout their life. There has not been a single trip that we went on that the children or the parents didn't enjoy. From my experience, our kids really enjoy trying or learning something new, and giving them those opportunities in a controlled environment is extremely enjoyable for them and in return us. There are different stresses of course like you listed on the trip, but the trip in the end has outweighed any stress (besides possibly the cruise with a 9 month old).

Here are some of the things we do on our trips to help make them a success.

1. Maintain our schedule, i.e. children still go for naps and bed around their usual time most days.
2. Try and acquire housing accommodations which are as close to normal life as possible, i.e. 2+ bedrooms.
3. When we drive, we drive overnight and our kids sleep in the car. Many times we have driven 10+ hour trips overnight starting at 7pm or later. This has made it a lot less stressful for getting some place far (over 4 hours) but still driving. This is definitely more extreme and I wouldn't recommend if it won't agree with your children.
4. Try new things.
5. Go back and do an activity again on the same trip if a kid had a great time (4 rounds of mini golf :happy ).
6. Relax on the trip and don't try to tick every attraction box.

Many of the things we do to try and help the trip be great increase cost, but all of the trips we would do again except the cruise. My main issues with a cruise are the living arrangements can be quite difficult if you are not used to it, and on our cruise I found the people to be overwhelmingly rude.

carol-brennan
Posts: 277
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:19 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by carol-brennan » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:02 am

Watty wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:22 pm
You might start out with "Staycation" where you take the time off work and stay in town so do things locally.

They don't need to be big or expensive things and even doing things like going to a pool or playground for a few hours will help build family family memories.
Agree.

Also putting pressure on yourself to enjoy a rare vacation may make it harder to enjoy or open yourself up to disappointed expectations.

smitcat
Posts: 4289
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by smitcat » Mon Mar 04, 2019 8:08 am

Great experiences when they were young - it does not last long and we are glad we did all the trips when we could.
Some of them were with the grandparents as well and that was priceless.
Great variety of activities and vacations is what makes it really fun and memorable.
Now they are old and its fun in a different way but never the same as when young.

veindoc
Posts: 626
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by veindoc » Mon Mar 04, 2019 9:39 am

I would also add simplify eating arrangements and transportation. When we went to the beach we rented a condo. When visiting family we ate at their home. For me taking my little monkeys to a restaurant was always stressful. I didn’t like the menu options for the kids. Portions were too big or too small. Food took a long time to arrive. Kids became restless. It’s only now that kids are 10,8, and 5, that I feel I can go to a restaurant with them and enjoy it.

User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 4356
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by lthenderson » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:11 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
We run into the thought that the oldest would enjoy that, but the little ones #1 won't even remember and #2 will require a lot of attention.

On the other hand, if we wait five years till all 3 kids are of age to remember and enjoy a vacation, the oldest will be about 10 and that's a long time to go without a proper vacation for mom and dad... Right?
I have always looked at vacations as being for the adults to de-stress for awhile, the kids are just along for the ride. Our kids 6 and 12 have both been out of the country multiple times as well as on many vacations within the borders. While we do take vacations based off our (wife and I) needs, we do try to schedule a few fun things for the kids along the way. They have much simpler needs so scheduling a fun thing for them can be simple as stopping at an arcade, eating a restaurant they like, renting a motel room at a place that has a pool, etc.

User avatar
leeks
Posts: 783
Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2011 4:33 pm
Location: new york

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by leeks » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:18 am

Watty wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:22 pm
You might start out with "Staycation" where you take the time off work and stay in town so do things locally.

They don't need to be big or expensive things and even doing things like going to a pool or playground for a few hours will help build family family memories.
+1

Whether or not you travel, take the accumulated leave and enjoy time off as a family! Do the local activities/daytrips that aren't easy to fit into normal routines.

If you take two weeks off for staycation, get a babysitter for a few days or parts of days at least to do things alone as a couple that you can't do on normal work days, even if it is just going out to lunch.

If you don't have family support to watch the kids for a whole weekend, do you have a family member (or babysitter) who could join you for part of a vacation to provide some babysitting even if just a few hours or 1-2 kids at a time?

Barsoom
Posts: 209
Joined: Thu Dec 06, 2018 9:40 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Barsoom » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:45 am

Have you considered staying at a luxury hotel in your city, and just spend time at the pool, spa, and restaurants?

-B

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22280
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 10:58 am

Some thoughts and experiences:

1. For various reasons, as a child we never took family vacations - perhaps just 1 or 2. I believe that was not good for me

2. When our son was little (toddler through early teens), he love to travel, whether by car or by air. In those years, we took 3-4 trips a year - twice to visit both families - 400 mile triangle by car - and by air, especially when I could use a company trip for my airfare - and just add my wife and son. We made such trips to Texas and twice to California. We also went to Disney World twice (camped) in that age range.

3. To my pleasant somewhat surprise, he (now into his 40's) seems to have very positive memories of such travel.

There is a large variance in how well children travel. If you can manage it, I highly recommend travel for such young children.

fourkids
Posts: 199
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:40 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by fourkids » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:16 am

Don't waste the money. "Vacations" with babies/toddlers aren't vacations. They are just trips.
As a lover of travel, I've tried multiple times to take my 4 young kids on vacations. We've failed miserably almost every time, and I've regretted spending the money. But we have some hysterical stories to tell of our escapades.
My husband and I would pack all of our clothes in 1 small suitcase, and then we'd have 2 huge suitcases for all the kids stuff, gear, diapers, everything. plus carseats, strollers, etc.
We were that nightmare family in the airport engulfed in total chaos that everyone else tried to avoid.
At least 1 kid puked in every travel situation for 5+ years.

As you well know as a father of 3, babies/toddlers/young kids love their routines. They really don't want to leave home to go on "vacation"
We recently did the ridiculously expensive Disney trip. My 4 year olds best memories (in their words) were 1) eating cookies daily 2) playing on ipads 3) swimming. We can do all that near home.

and I'm noticing most posters above with good travel experiences were travelling with their 1 kid.

Dottie57
Posts: 7116
Joined: Thu May 19, 2016 5:43 pm
Location: Earth Northern Hemisphere

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Dottie57 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:32 am

I think a vacation by the shore would be wonderful. Everyone at leisure. Eat out or bring food for very simple meals -simmer the better. Kids should be happy at the beach. If rent is expensive go for a shorter amount of time.

JGoneRiding
Posts: 1803
Joined: Tue Jul 15, 2014 3:26 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by JGoneRiding » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:34 am

Lol. I hear you. After the last vacation I told the husband we weren't flying with 2 of them. But with one we have just done it. He has been to San Diego Hawaii and Las Vegas. Who cares If he remembers. We also take him camping regularly. (I rec places with grass!) Do what sounds fun to you. Or just take a week off and do a staycation.

I do think you need to do something fun now why the 5 year old remember as his child hood you can wait for big stuff till they can all enjoy it but it shouldn't be that he thinks you never went anywhere or took time off

Shallowpockets
Posts: 1404
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2015 10:26 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:39 am

When we were young our parents took us to the beach and to the parks. We had picnics. All this within less than 50 miles. Sometimes to a local amusement park. That was it. We survived fine. Had a lot of fun. At the ages of your kids it will be much better to go local. Then you can bring all your stuff in the car and if things get into turmoil, you can go home.
Really what is a 1 and 3 year old and even 5 year old going to do but play nearby.
You can do all this easily and test out the entire scheme of wanting a proper vacation.
What will really happen is that mom will tend to the smaller ones and you will have your time wih the older one. Go walk in the woods and look for animals. On the beach for flotsam. Eat hot dogs you grilled. It is all about time with the kids. Showing them things that are new to them.
This is the age of vacations, and "quality" experiences, and quality time, and juice boxes and trophies for everyone. But it doesn't have to be like that. You can do things with kids of that age and almost anything will do. The world is all new and shiny at that age.
Not only will little kids hardly remember, but they will hardly care excepting that they went somewhere and mom and dad were there and it was fun.

cherijoh
Posts: 6357
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 4:49 pm
Location: Charlotte NC

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by cherijoh » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:48 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
As a preface, I'm not one who is known to love traveling. As a couple, we haven't slept anywhere overnight since our honeymoon and we've since had three young children approximately two years apart. The oldest will be five this spring. No interest in flying, but don't mind driving. We've considered the major attractions, theme parks, water parks, Great Wolf Lodge, etc. We run into the thought that the oldest would enjoy that, but the little ones #1 won't even remember and #2 will require a lot of attention. Then, we think of something scenic or rustic, such as a cabin, cottage, beach, or lake house. This also seems like a liability for the younger ones and a lot of work to keep up with their needs, while giving the oldest one fun experiences. Renting a boat and trying to keep a one/two year old from drowning sounds stressful. A giant double stroller in and out of crowded tourist traps while trying to wrangle the 5 year old..

On the other hand, if we wait five years till all 3 kids are of age to remember and enjoy a vacation, the oldest will be about 10 and that's a long time to go without a proper vacation for mom and dad... Right? I'm not sure we have the family support to leave all 3 for longer than an evening. I'm close to capping out on my vacation time at work (8.5 weeks) with no option to cash out. I'll need to find some reason to use it.

Anyone have success, advice, and/or horror stories of taking a group of toddlers on the road?
A friend of mine took her grandkids on short trips one at a time. She started with overnights at Grandma's house when they were about your oldest child's age and then graduated to away day trips and weekend trips. Something like that might help with the issue of depriving your oldest of vacation experiences until the younger ones catch up in age.

I am the oldest of 2 siblings and we did plenty of road trips when I was younger. We were a couple of hours away from the beach where we usually rented a condo to have a kitchen and washer & dryer. The first big road trip I remember was a drive from MD to FL during summer vacation when I was 8 or 9 and my brother was 6 or 7. The keys to a successful road trip were (1) a big chest cooler between the two of us in the back seat and (2) short drive days where we had time to play in the hotel swimming pool or stops along the way for fun kid stuff. Of course this was long before screens in the back seat for kids to watch videos.

If you want away time for you and your spouse could you farm them out separately with different relatives to carve out a weekend? Or make arrangements with parents of friends of your oldest child to keep him or her for the weekend in exchange for doing the same for them in the future? Then send the youngest two to stay with relatives?

You may also want to consider family-oriented all inclusive resorts that offer kids programs and babysitting for the younger kids. (Disney cruises are another option). That could give you some alone time.

rivers03
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jul 01, 2016 9:04 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by rivers03 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:50 am

I’ll echo a PP in that I find myself relaxing as a parent on vacation- let them have the ice cream, stay up later, watch the movie, etc. Without the stress of cleaning up dishes, toys, laundry, etc., I am able to be more present in the moment with them and just enjoy them without the constant daily mundane to-do list nagging in my head. I hope in time this helps build the parent/child relationship. I am sure that can be done with a staycation type week for some but we find it better to actually get away.

aristotelian
Posts: 6439
Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:05 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by aristotelian » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:50 am

If you don't like traveling, don't do it. You will probably all be miserable. That said, we enjoy traveling and it is one of the few large ticket discretionary things that I am willing to spend on. Among other things, most of us live in "bubbles" and I find it important as a parent to expose my kids to different cultures and experiences. We have done Great Wolf Lodge and Disney but those would be at the absolute bottom of my travel priorities.

rich126
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by rich126 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:54 am

Make sure you know your kids. I can still remember how bored and useless our trip to Williamsburg when I was a kid. Many kids have no interest in history and are looking for fun stuff to do. I recall warning my brother when he and his wife were going to do the same trip with my nephew. They came back and said "Yeah, you were right. He was not happy at all".

My mother was pretty careful with trips and even things like going to the movies. Until she felt sure we were going to behave, we didn't do it. We did make a decent number of trips to WDW because we had grandparents about an hour away from it. Even so, we were old enough to generally behave.

I always wonder what the parents are thinking when they take infants and very, very young kids to Disney. Its got to be a hassle and very expensive place to visit with young children.

Bottom line, know what your kids enjoy and what you can tolerate. Otherwise you will need a vacation from your vacation :)

User avatar
greg24
Posts: 3702
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:34 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by greg24 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:55 am

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
I'm close to capping out on my vacation time at work (8.5 weeks) with no option to cash out. I'll need to find some reason to use it.
You don't need to "go on vacation" to use PTO.

60%+ of the PTO I use is while I'm still at home.

With young children I imagine you would have lots of needs to use PTO while still at home.

ICMoney
Posts: 274
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2016 2:38 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by ICMoney » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:56 am

You sound like my spouse and me. We have more kids than you, oldest is age 8 and our first "real" family vacation was Disneyworld for a week during the past year. Before that, we only did short trips to visit family. I don't regret this, it just never worked out due to a variety of factors and vacations not being a priority while they were younger and having pregnancy/breastfeeding to content with. Now we will probably try to do at least one vacation per year as our older kids are of an age they can remember and also help a bit with their younger siblings. I think you have received good advice and I will echo Disney, camping/mountain/beach house being what we will prioritize for the next few years while we still have toddlers. And we will also likely take the older ones on separate or individual trips too.

Best, ICM

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22280
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:00 pm

rich126 wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:54 am
Make sure you know your kids. I can still remember how bored and useless our trip to Williamsburg when I was a kid. Many kids have no interest in history and are looking for fun stuff to do. I recall warning my brother when he and his wife were going to do the same trip with my nephew. They came back and said "Yeah, you were right. He was not happy at all".

My mother was pretty careful with trips and even things like going to the movies. Until she felt sure we were going to behave, we didn't do it. We did make a decent number of trips to WDW because we had grandparents about an hour away from it. Even so, we were old enough to generally behave.

I always wonder what the parents are thinking when they take infants and very, very young kids to Disney. Its got to be a hassle and very expensive place to visit with young children.

Bottom line, know what your kids enjoy and what you can tolerate. Otherwise you will need a vacation from your vacation :)
The first time we went to Disney World - our son had just turned three years old. He LOVED it and had a great and enjoyable time - and cried when he could not go on the "Small World" another time.

smitcat
Posts: 4289
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by smitcat » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:40 pm

dm200 wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:00 pm
rich126 wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:54 am
Make sure you know your kids. I can still remember how bored and useless our trip to Williamsburg when I was a kid. Many kids have no interest in history and are looking for fun stuff to do. I recall warning my brother when he and his wife were going to do the same trip with my nephew. They came back and said "Yeah, you were right. He was not happy at all".

My mother was pretty careful with trips and even things like going to the movies. Until she felt sure we were going to behave, we didn't do it. We did make a decent number of trips to WDW because we had grandparents about an hour away from it. Even so, we were old enough to generally behave.

I always wonder what the parents are thinking when they take infants and very, very young kids to Disney. Its got to be a hassle and very expensive place to visit with young children.

Bottom line, know what your kids enjoy and what you can tolerate. Otherwise you will need a vacation from your vacation :)
The first time we went to Disney World - our son had just turned three years old. He LOVED it and had a great and enjoyable time - and cried when he could not go on the "Small World" another time.
Yup - Our daughter was just under 4 the first tine we went - and she loved it and remembered it all. The best part is the first 2 trips to Disneyworld her grandad was there - she still has those pictures on her desk now that she is 25. Sometimes there are things you cannot put off if you really want to experience them.

TheOscarGuy
Posts: 934
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:10 pm
Location: Where I wanna be.

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by TheOscarGuy » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:48 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
As a preface, I'm not one who is known to love traveling. As a couple, we haven't slept anywhere overnight since our honeymoon and we've since had three young children approximately two years apart. The oldest will be five this spring. No interest in flying, but don't mind driving. We've considered the major attractions, theme parks, water parks, Great Wolf Lodge, etc. We run into the thought that the oldest would enjoy that, but the little ones #1 won't even remember and #2 will require a lot of attention. Then, we think of something scenic or rustic, such as a cabin, cottage, beach, or lake house. This also seems like a liability for the younger ones and a lot of work to keep up with their needs, while giving the oldest one fun experiences. Renting a boat and trying to keep a one/two year old from drowning sounds stressful. A giant double stroller in and out of crowded tourist traps while trying to wrangle the 5 year old..

On the other hand, if we wait five years till all 3 kids are of age to remember and enjoy a vacation, the oldest will be about 10 and that's a long time to go without a proper vacation for mom and dad... Right? I'm not sure we have the family support to leave all 3 for longer than an evening. I'm close to capping out on my vacation time at work (8.5 weeks) with no option to cash out. I'll need to find some reason to use it.

Anyone have success, advice, and/or horror stories of taking a group of toddlers on the road?
You take all three to whatever location suits you within driving distance (you said no flying). The alternative is to wait till oldest is 10. That seems like an awfully long amount of time to hold off your vacations.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22280
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:53 pm

smitcat wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:40 pm
dm200 wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:00 pm
rich126 wrote:
Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:54 am
Make sure you know your kids. I can still remember how bored and useless our trip to Williamsburg when I was a kid. Many kids have no interest in history and are looking for fun stuff to do. I recall warning my brother when he and his wife were going to do the same trip with my nephew. They came back and said "Yeah, you were right. He was not happy at all".

My mother was pretty careful with trips and even things like going to the movies. Until she felt sure we were going to behave, we didn't do it. We did make a decent number of trips to WDW because we had grandparents about an hour away from it. Even so, we were old enough to generally behave.

I always wonder what the parents are thinking when they take infants and very, very young kids to Disney. Its got to be a hassle and very expensive place to visit with young children.

Bottom line, know what your kids enjoy and what you can tolerate. Otherwise you will need a vacation from your vacation :)
The first time we went to Disney World - our son had just turned three years old. He LOVED it and had a great and enjoyable time - and cried when he could not go on the "Small World" another time.
Yup - Our daughter was just under 4 the first tine we went - and she loved it and remembered it all. The best part is the first 2 trips to Disneyworld her grandad was there - she still has those pictures on her desk now that she is 25. Sometimes there are things you cannot put off if you really want to experience them.
Enjoy the "good things" about your children when you can. It all, in my opinion, depends on the child. While he was absolutely wonderful (as in travel) as a toddler and up to about 10-12 years old, the teen years - into early 20's were hell - school, runaways, juvenile detention, etc. Fortunately - in his thirties became a productive member of society. We are fortunate - some of his peers have gone to prison (one for life - almost was executed), hooked on alcohol and/or drugs, suicides, living with HIV/AIDS, etc. -- none of which has happened to our son. :happy

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 22280
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by dm200 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:56 pm

One factor about car trips with our son that made a big difference was when we got a minivan when he was about six years old. Until then, our trip car was a two door Dodge Dart and riding in the back seat, he could not see out the window very well. With the Mini-van, however, he could see just about everything and he "traveled" by car much, much better.

stoptothink
Posts: 6497
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by stoptothink » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:02 pm

kjvmartin wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 9:03 pm
Anyone have success, advice, and/or horror stories of taking a group of toddlers on the road?
Children 6 and 3, they've been on at least a dozen long (8+ hour) driving trips. We drive to California, from Utah, at least twice a year to visit family (and :oops: Disneyland); my kids are hardened pros by now. I really dislike traveling (and already do a bunch with work), would much prefer to spend our vacations camping more local than going to Disneyland, but if it were up to my wife we'd go once a month - it's a compromise. (My) small children couldn't care less about most of these big vacations (including Disneyland), but your experience may vary.

I just get some good audiobooks, prepare the tablet with plenty of stuff for the kids, and suck it up; it is really Mommy's vacation and I can do it two weeks a year for her.

coalcracker
Posts: 485
Joined: Sat Feb 04, 2012 12:25 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by coalcracker » Mon Mar 04, 2019 1:25 pm

We have 2 kids (5 and almost 2), and have traveled extensively with around the mainland US, Hawaii, Mexico, Europe and Central America. Our older has memories from the trips beginning around 4, but whether or not they remember it is not too important to us.

We (the adults) love travel so much that we couldn't imagine staying home until both kids are old enough to remember it. That would be 7 years or so for us! Some may call this selfish, but our kids are great travelers and seem to love seeing new places.

With young kids, we stick almost exclusively to beaches or big cities. The appeal of the beach is obvious with little ones. Big cities have lots of novelty and stimulation; think kids gawking at street performers or riding a double decker bus.

Once our younger hits 5 or so, we may consider more active and adventurous vacations.

Oh, consider bringing grandparents along for the trip. When we can swing a grandparent babysitter, we go out on adult date night.

NJdad6
Posts: 186
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:51 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by NJdad6 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:07 pm

I think there is huge value in family vacations. It does not need to be overly fancy or expensive. Rent a house at the beach for a week, visit family, etc. My kids had a great time even at very young ages. Go swimming, take walks, get ice-cream. First time we went to Disney my little guy was 10 months. He doesn’t remember that trip but he had a great time. I’ll never forget carrying him on my shoulders for almost the entire trip.

I don’t think the location is as important as spending time together. You can take the more expensive trips when they get older. My kids are older and we have been going on more exotic vacations the past few years ( HI, Europe, etc) but I think those beach vacations when they were little were my favorite.

Jack FFR1846
Posts: 10452
Joined: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:05 am
Location: 26 miles, 385 yards west of Copley Square

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:10 pm

Are there places the grandparents would like to go that you could also? When our youngest was 2 and older was 5, we went to Aruba with my parents. I still very much remember my older son out under a palm tree on the beach with my mom for hours, just playing in the sand. They both loved it. I got to take a long walk with my dad (who did that every day wherever he was). We took turns with the 2 year old in the kiddie pool. My dad and I took the 5 year old in a Jeep around the offroad areas and near the ocean exposed side of the island to see the crashing waves. It was likely more relaxing for my parents as they had already been there for a week and were staying for another month or so after we left. I think any beach location would work, my parents happened to have many weeks at a particular time share location.

We went nowhere without grand parents helping for many years. We did later get a boat, when the kids were old enough to enjoy it and for a couple years, we all had interest in using the boat as the center piece of the vacation week a few hours from home.
Bogle: Smart Beta is stupid

Katietsu
Posts: 2497
Joined: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:48 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by Katietsu » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:28 pm

I would echo those who have said the important part is spending the extended time together. I normally like staycation in your situation. You don’t need to worry about new sleeping arrangements causing problems or carting baby stuff around. And I feel freer to spend on activities when I am not paying for lodging.

However, I am concerned about someone with 3 young kids who has that much accumulated vacation time. I think you may need to physical change environments to put work and household chores at a distance. Nearby and simple is fine. Just do something.

PeterParker
Posts: 126
Joined: Sun Mar 17, 2013 2:19 pm

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by PeterParker » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:47 pm

I'm not a parent but I've traveled extensively as an adult.

As a Kid, we did the Disney world thing (1000 miles away, airplane) -- when I was 5 or 7 or something young. And a few other trips.


My personal idea:

1. The younger the kid, the cheaper and more convenient the Vacay should be.

Seriously. Disney World was great but not life-changing. As a young kid, my bro and I still fought on vacation, etc. We got the additional stress of "high expectations" and "expensive vacation" making everyone go at each other. As an adult calling the shots, fraggle that. Fraggle all that.

A kid barely knows where they are. Go to a local theme park or camp grounds. As a seasoned traveler, the idea of 'convenience >>> all' goes doubly with kids, just because kids are ill-equipped at dealing with stress and will pound each other at the drop of a hat. Keep the logistics as simple as possible. No "connection" flights. A 2 hour drive is 100x better than a 3 hour one. Etcetera. Choose a hotel right near the action. All that stuff.

A kid will appreciate better experiences as they get older. 'Europe' for instance will be more appreciated in the 20s than as a teen (long way off).

But a lot of cool places will be far more interesting and memorable as a teen (13-18) than a toddler or young'in as well. Middle school/ high schoolers care about spring break stuff and trips more than anyone younger.

There's so much new inputs and experiences to a young kid under the age of 10, that the idea you even have to go out-of-state before Age 10 for developmental reasons is a bit laughable. My opinion.

User avatar
greg24
Posts: 3702
Joined: Tue Feb 20, 2007 10:34 am

Re: Value of Vacation Experiences with Big Fam & Young Kids

Post by greg24 » Mon Mar 04, 2019 3:19 pm

I forgot to stress one hugely important item:

Traveling before they're in school allows you to travel during unpopular travel times. Once the first one is in school, you're locked into school breaks and suddenly all your options and prices are worse.

Post Reply