Packing up our car and hitting the road for northern Minnesota, I have very fond memories of summer vacations growing up. Whether fishing, hiking or just enjoying the great outdoors, these are trips I remember almost 50 years later because this was some of the best bonding time I had with my dad.
Along with my brother, the three of us would usually take this trip without my mom, and while I of course missed her, I realized having the opportunity to just be with my father was something special. Dad was a high school guidance counselor and very deeply involved in the activities at our school and in the local community. Our time with him during the school year was limited but summers made up for all of that. So as summer is here once again here, it’s time for dads to consider a solo vacation with their kids.
I know planning a trip can seem like a daunting task. From figuring out where to go, how to get there and what to do (not to mention worrying if your kids will have fun), there are a variety of aspects to consider. But men – I challenge you because I know you will realize soon after the only thing to fear (in travel planning) – is fear itself. Being a Travel MANager is about stepping up to reap the rewards of traveling with your family and creating lifelong memories.
So what advice can I share for dads planning an impromptu trip this summer? Here are my top three tips:
Keep it simple
When I was speaking with U.S. army vet and Dancing with the Stars alum Noah Galloway about family vacation planning, he relayed a story about a Disney trip with his kids. ABC set up an amazing trip with all the bells and whistles, but what his kids enjoyed most was spending time at the hotel pool. When I travelled to Minnesota with my dad, one of my favorite parts was the car ride. The younger your children are, the more you should focus on activities that let you interact with them and offer something familiar since that is likely what they will enjoy most.
Keep it short
The bottom line is we are busier than ever. That’s why rather than planning a week-long vacation, just consider a three-day weekend trip instead. Start by picking an easy to reach destination (under four hours in the car or a quick non-stop flight) and then when planning things to do, never allot more than two to three hours for one activity. This will keep the kids engaged.
Keep it relaxing
How often have we all repeated the phrase, “I need a vacation from my vacation.” The key to everyone having fun is to keep energy levels up and stress levels down. If you know that a trip the amusement park might be great for one child but may cause a meltdown from another, save that for another time. And while you’ll want to see all that a destination has to offer, don’t leave all routines behind. A quick afternoon nap can be the difference between recharging the batteries for more fun or having to call it quits earlier than anticipated. And that’s not just about the kids…there’s nothing better than an afternoon nap for dad either!!! (and a reason why all-suite hotels like Homewood and Home2 Suites by Hilton are ideal since one child can nap in one room while other siblings watch TV in another)
As the father of two young twin-boys, I am now starting to think about where I want to take my sons on our next solo trip. So, fellow Travel MANagers, any ideas?