I didn’t get to experience family vacations as a child. Money was tight and, understandably, traveling didn’t rank as high on the priority list as making sure the bills were paid. I’m not quite sure where I got the travel bug from but, for me, there’s nothing better than traveling to an unfamiliar place and experiencing new sights. I made this a priority and planned for it, using my yearly income tax return to pay for a family vacation. You can’t put a price on memories and experiences and I feel that money spent in this area is money well spent.
“5-4-3-2-1…New York, Here We Come!” I can still hear my oldest, then five years old, shout as we made our way through the mid-town tunnel. Our first trip was to New York. We left the little one at home because she was just a few months old. To this day, this remains the best trip I’ve ever taken. Seeing New York City for the first time and sharing that experience with my daughter, so young and curious about the world around her, has now become a memory that I will cherish for the rest of my days. Over the next few years we took a cruise, rented a beach house in Ft. Myers, and went skiing in Vermont (my first time seeing snow and getting on skis was another amazing experience I got to share with the girls), and took quite a few trips to Disney. Nowadays we are blessed to be in a situation where we do a whole lot of traveling sometimes more than we’d like. Even so, throughout the past year I felt I was missing out on that special bonding and excitement that the girls and I had shared so I decided to plan a weekend girls trip to Washington, D.C.
When planning a trip to an area I’ve never been, I make sure to do my homework. First and foremost, I ask my friends for advice on visiting the area and jot down their recommendations. I then check tripadvisor.com and look for travel blogs about the city that I’m visiting. I then take my list and think about my children. What will keep them engaged? What will be meaningful and what will they enjoy?
For this trip to D.C, I decided upon the Monuments by Moonlight tour which was amazing and served as a great way to see the monuments and memorials without a whole lot of walking. With so many museums to choose from, I had to really do my research and narrow it down to three that would be interesting for all and unique to Washington. I chose the American History Museum (The Spark Lab keep them busy for an hour+), the Holocaust Museum (the children’s exhibit only), and the Spy Museum (so, so cool!) We walked the streets of Georgetown and grabbed dinner and cupcakes (Sprinkles, not D.C Cupcakes~ the line was ri-dic-u-lous!) to enjoy later in our hotel room.
We were just there for the weekend and although I could have fit more in, I make it a point to leave a little down time on our trips. Day-to-day, the girls don’t spend a ton of time together and on these trips they just have each other. One of the highlights for me was when my younger one decided to take a bath in the “sick” tub (as in uber cool) and my older one went in to help her wash her hair. Hearing them talk about their life plans and their bucket lists at ages 12 and 7 put a smile on my lips as wide as the Potomac River.
Stop procrastinating and plan the trip you’ve always wanted to take with your children. Each stage passes with the blink of an eye so now is the time. If finances won’t allow for something this year, begin planning for next year. Enjoy the process~ the anticipation is to be cherished and appreciated as well!