I love to travel. What makes me different is that I love to travel with family. Not just my husband and kids, but also my parents. And my in-laws. And my brothers. And my sisters-in law. I actually think I prefer it with the whole group, or at least a larger group. In fact, for the past six years, the highlight of our year has been a 10-day vacation with my entire family AND my husband’s entire family.
Now, to be fair, we all live pretty far apart, so planned family trips are often the only time we see each other. That distance may be part of the reason everyone gets along. Also, we tend to do whatever we can to minimize stress during our time together and keep everyone supplied with his/her favorite beverage.
Traveling together has so many advantages for us.
- Focused quality time We are able to spend quality time together, as opposed to running off to do errands or distracted by to-do lists around the house.
- Multi-tasking holidays Especially for my husband, there is more demand on his vacation time than there are vacation days. By taking holidays with our extended families, he is able to check off several boxes at once… enjoying a luxurious holiday with his wife and kids, seeing his parents, brother, and nephews, getting facetime with his in-laws, and knowing the grandparents are getting to know their grandchildren.
- Extra help with the kids Not that we expect our relatives to do 24 –hour child care, but having grandparents, aunts and uncles who don’t see our children often means that it is a treat for everyone to play in the pool with my kids while I sneak off for a nap or a local excursion with my husband or take time to play a game of cards with my mother.
- Creating fun memories together Our shared vacations mean that so many of our happiest and fun memories are inextricably tied to our extended family.
- Shared anticipation We like to start planning our trips far in advance (12 months or so), in large part so that we can enjoy the excitement and anticipation. And since I am going with my family, I can share my excitement and anticipation with them without feeling at all braggy or inciting envy.
- Living and demonstrating values It is pretty common for people to say things along the lines of “family is the most important” or “relationships are more important than things”. Family vacations take both money and time, things that can be in pretty short supply, especially when considering time off work. Our luxurious and long family vacations demonstrate what is most important to us… spending time together. I hope that my children will grow up with great memories of extended family vacations and want to continue sharing holidays when they are adults with their own children. I can’t think of a better way to encourage that than by taking fun trips with their own grandparents. For the older generations, spending money on trips with the family is a great way to demonstrate how spending time together is more important than leaving behind money when you are gone.
- We have enough “stuff” Sure, if we didn’t go on great holidays we would have more money for designer clothes, expensive cars, or even more toys. But who needs them? I consider the money we spend on vacations money well spent. I certainly enjoy both the anticipation and the memories far more than any handbag or bracelet I have ever And I know that the grandparents feel very much the same. They would much rather have even a weekend trip with us and their grandchildren than a new set of glassware or a cashmere sweater.
I am sure that you might have additional reasons for traveling with your extended family. And not everyone wants to travel with everyone in their family for reasons both big and small. But if you are lucky enough to have an extended family that is willing to travel together, there are so many reasons to book that trip.