I have teamed up with a wonderful team of bloggers who participate in “Five Minute Friday.” Here’s the skinny: Every Friday for nearly five years hundreds of people joined a kind of writing flash mob. We write for five minutes flat. All on the same prompt. No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation. Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

Today’s word: Vacation.

In the past, I have had a knack for overestimating the fun that comes with family vacations. I tended to think a little Pinterest-y, set unrealistic expectations for my brood of three young children, and then was surprised when vacationing with children didn’t feel like a vacation at all. Someone please tell me I’m not alone here?

It was a trip to the beautiful state of Virginia that helped to clarify any ill-conceived notions of what it meant to take a family vacation. On that particular trip, where my 2 and 4-year old children were making their debut run as ring bearer and flower girl in a luxurious wedding at an expansive winery, my eyes were opened. My eyes were opened like they were being pried open with a hundred sharp pencil points and have not yet been able to close!

What I have learned is this: Vacationing with kids is not a vacation at all. We have taken to calling it “Going on a trip” instead of using the term vacation because we feel like it’s a better fitting description. Where as vacation seems to imply rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation, taking a trip merely means to leave one’s home in place for an alternate location.

Here are 5 quick tips I have learned from traveling with our family:

  1. Plan for trips that your kids will enjoy.
  2. Set realistic expectations.
  3. Know your family and how much their schedules matter; If nap times are sacred, keep them as such.
  4. Set a schedule, but allow for flexible freedoms throughout. You never know when a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will appear.
  5. Document your trip and relive the memories through photos!
How ironic that today is the day my family of five embarks on another vacation trip. Our road trip will include 3 kids, 1 van, 995 miles, endless coffee supply, a stop at Mt. Rushmore, and (fingers crossed) many new memories made! Follow along at #Coming4CO.

Photo Credit: April Walker