When I was a teenager, my mom and I traveled together, just the two of us, for one week every year. We both enjoyed these trips. However, teenagers don’t always enjoy traveling with their parents, even when their parents take them on a once-in-a-lifetime trip somewhere like Europe. Often, kids as young as 11 or 12 would rather be with their friends than their parents. Therefore, you may want to have an epic vacation before your kids no longer want to hang with you.
Many Families Struggle Financially in the Early Years
Unfortunately, many families struggle financially in the years when kids are young. Parents have to pay for diapers, formula, and daycare, none of which are cheap. In addition, parents may be younger and starting their careers, so their pay is low.
Once the kids are older, say ten and up, parents are on firmer financial footing and have more money to spend on vacations. Unfortunately, this may coincide with the time kids don’t want to do as much as their parents.
Prioritize Fun in the Younger Years
In his book, Die with Zero, Bill Perkins suggests that you spend most of your money upfront when you’re young enough to do the activities you want to do physically. This allows you to create a rich memory bank to sustain you in your older years when you’re not physically able to do as much.
Likewise, your children have a sweet spot between eight and 13 where they enjoy vacations and traveling with you before they get too involved in their own lives and friendships. That is when you want to prioritize travel with your children, even if it means scrimping in other areas of your life to find the money for travel.
My Experience Traveling with Kids
When our kids were young, we lived in the Midwest. We didn’t have money for travel, but my husband frequently had to attend work-related conferences. For the conferences a day’s drive away, the kids and I could tag along because my husband’s work paid for the hotel room. We’d pack food and try to visit as many free attractions as possible. The kids loved it. We went to Philadelphia, Ohio, North Carolina, Minneapolis, Quebec, and our favorite, Boston.
When the kids were 10, 5, and 4, we moved to Arizona. We couldn’t travel with my husband anymore because conferences were no longer within driving distance.
Now, we recently moved to New York. My husband has a conference in Philadelphia, so we were excited to resume our tradition with the younger two kids, now 13 and 12, and take them with us. To our surprise, the 13-year-old is indifferent to the trip and the 12-year-old is complaining about having to go. So now, our travel window seems to have closed. Of course, we’ll still travel with them, but we miss the excitement they used to have about traveling.
If you have younger kids, I recommend you prioritize taking a vacation before your kids no longer want to hang with you. Hopefully, they will always enjoy traveling with you, but if not, your memory bank and theirs will be filled with earlier, fun vacations.
Melissa is a writer and virtual assistant. She earned her Master’s from Southern Illinois University, and her Bachelor’s in English from the University of Michigan. When she’s not working, you can find her homeschooling her kids, reading a good book, or cooking. She resides in Arizona where she dislikes the summer heat but loves the natural beauty of the area.