Why family travel is not always a vacation. . .

I remember hearing an argument sometime last year on the Today Show where the hosts were talking about a blogger who was talking about her family "vacations" not really being a "vacation."  Several of the hosts disagreed with the blogger and shared the joys that they have vacationing with their children.  After a recent family weekend trip, I can certainly speak to the fact that while I love traveling with my children, the word "vacation" does not seem to be the most appropriate.

At the ripe old age of 2, there seems to be a lot of days (and nights) where our youngest runs the show.  A few weeks ago, we took a road trip up to Knoebel's for the weekend.  When we arrived Friday evening, we got settled in the hotel and began getting everyone ready for the usual bed routine.  But in this instance, it turned out to be anything but the usual.  Little man wanted no parts of going to bed and his protests were not silent but turned into raucous roars.  8:00 came and went, then 9:00, then 10:00.  By 11:00 we wondered if we had made a tremendous mistake and should just head home.  In addition to the squeals and desire to play coming from our 2 year old, our 5 year old was whining that his brother was keeping him awake.  Thus began the night walk.  I loaded Caleb into the stroller and walked him around the parking lot of our Bloomsburg hotel for 1 hr.  Yes. . .you read that right.  One entire hour of walking circles around a parking lot before he finally gave in and fell asleep.

Now amazingly, the next day at Knoebel's was wonderful.  No fussy children and Caleb even took a nap in the stroller which is unusual.  We figured that the exciting day at the amusement park would wear them out, but just to be on the safe side we let them play in the hotel pool for about an hour when we got back to the hotel.  Then we started the bedtime routine again.  This time, Brody was out like a light, but once again Caleb defied the odds and turned bedtime into playtime.  Again, it took several hours and then a 90 minute walk in the stroller to finally get him to sleep.  Meanwhile, this whole time the patience of me and my husband was wearing thin and we seriously questioned taking any more "vacations" this summer.

Don't get me wrong, the kids had an amazing time that weekend at the amusement park and enjoyed our stop at Indian Echo Caverns on the way home Sunday.  We love seeing smiles on their faces and sharing the magic of childhood with them, which is a big reason we travel and like to explore new places.  However, I don't consider this a "vacation" with the amount of work that goes into planning and executing the weekend.  We relish the time with our kids that we spend and I love to see families traveling together, but maybe during that busy summer carve out a spa day for mom or a romantic overnight for mom and dad to truly enjoy a relaxing "vacation" that we all so desperately need.

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