Vacations are important to me because they help renew my mind, body and soul.  For as long as I can remember, I have loved taking a break from everyday living to try something new.

I was fortunate enough to do a fair amount of traveling as a kid with my parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, grandmothers and being an only child, I was sometimes even allowed to bring a friend with me.  I can remember packing my own luggage as a kid and loading my suitcase to full capacity with more clothes, shoes, blankets, and stuffed animals than any child could ever need.  My carry-on bag for the plane always weighed a ton and was stuffed with my Sony walkman, cassettes, coloring books, crayons, mad libs, snacks and who knows what else!  But I digress.

Vacations are not only about rejuvenation.  Family vacations are about creating fond memories that will last a lifetime, bonding with your loved ones, and enjoying the simple things in life like not having to set an alarm clock and sharing the excitement of visiting some place new or returning to a favorite destination once again.  Some of my  most cherished childhood memories are from trips to my grandmothers’ houses in Florida, playing paddleball on the beach with my uncle and cousins, and cliff jumping in Lake George.  Similarly, my husband has told stories of fun trips taken with his family growing up and so when the time came, we were both over the top excited to experience family vacations with our children and we have agreed to make summer vacations essentially mandatory for our family.

We recently booked our rental for this summer (our third annual family summer vacation) and my oldest daughter is already very excited even though it is still several months away and it is SNOWING as I write this.  I am excited too.  I am the kind of person that likes to have a trip planned well in advance because it gives me something fun to look forward to and prevents me from feeling overwhelmed and rundown by the everyday rat race that us working moms juggle.  However, planning for a family vacation is no easy task.

No matter where you are going or how long you are planning to stay, packing up your family is going to be a pain in the ass.  Plan on that for sure.  Planning and packing for our family  vacations has progressed (as we keep adding more children) and to say that I am a little frightened at the thought of packing for a family of 5 this August would be an understatement.  My in-laws usually spend a few days with us which is extremely helpful.  We rent a small house or cottage so that we can cook meals, return to the rental for naps and keep the kids on somewhat of a routine.  This is the arrangement that works best for us right now (and I am scared shitless to stay at a hotel with three young kids anyway).  I know the day will come when we will need to test the waters of hotel living but for now, it’s a no go.  No Marriott reward points for us.  Just complete and utter awesome chaos.  I’m not saying that every moment of our family vacation will be great.  The kids will still make messes, bicker with each other and push the limits.  There will be tears and I can count on some napless days but I am so looking forward to an exciting week away from home, and away from the office, spending quality time with my favorite people and breathing in the salty air.

Every family needs a break from reality, even if its just a day trip.

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So, have you planned your 2013 summer vacation yet?

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