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Trips Over Toys: The Debate Begins

Trips Over Toys: The Debate Begins
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Family Trips or Bust?

How far in advance do you plan family vacations? Recently, Meghan and I have been trying to make the most of our time with our young kids, Adelaide and Marshall. They’re six and five, so we want to make sure we take advantage of letting them have wonderful experiences.

We recently took them to Hershey Park and Ocean City, Maryland for two separate trips before the summer ended. Seeing that happiness on their faces makes us realize we need to do that as often as possible. Granted, money isn’t something we have an abundance of, so we’re trying to be creative. During Christmas we have the idea of, “What if we don’t buy as many toys or clothes for Christmas presents?” I know, the initial idea or anticipated response might lead to a “Are you crazy?” or possibly tears from our kids. So, is it worth exploring – more gifts or more experiences?

So, something we’ve discovered through some research is that there are options that might not make this decision easier. If you go to a beach town during winter, there might be plenty of activities still available for a family to have fun, while getting a cheaper rate – because apparently, people don’t go to the beach during winter. Who knew?

Good Old Fashioned Memories

Now, as a teenager once upon a time, I went to Myrtle Beach for New Year’s. I went with my cousins, and yes, it was cold. The hotel we stayed at was on the beach, for those brave enough to do a late-night dive into the water. As for other activities, I also froze my face off riding go karts. But, you know what I remember most of all? I had a blast. It was fun spending time with family, and growing up with a pair of cousins I felt were more like brothers meant the world to me.

I also remember taking family trips down to North Carolina to visit family. I always thought the drives were so long, but after a while I would look forward to getting to a certain point. It meant that we were closer to our destination than our home. We spent many years visiting my dad’s aunt and there are so many vivid memories. Aunt Sissie would make homemade everything, from fried chicken, fruit salad, cakes, and the most amazing cherry cobbler I’ve ever had in my life. She also always kept Peanut Butter Captain Crunch on hand for our visits, because she knew I loved it and it wasn’t something we could get back home (for whatever reason).

We would take these trips at any point in the year, so we’d visit Emerald Isle Beach, hit up local gift shops where I would discover my first comic book, order pizza from a restaurant somewhat nearby and I’d play Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man while we waited. It was one of those arcade tables where you sit down and look down at the flat screen tabletop to play. There are so many things I remember about those trips, playing Marbles or Pick-Up Sticks, whatever it was, I want our kids to have those same memories from traveling.

Adventure Here We Come

Now, Meghan has her own memories of traveling with her family, but I’ll let her walk down that path with you. Will we still get our kids presents for Christmas? Absolutely. We’ll also make sure we remember to let them have fun going on adventures, so they can have amazing memories like the ones I look back on fondly. So, look out world, the Lakata family is looking for adventure.

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