Your Kids Don’t Need A Lavish Vacation To Have A Memorable Summer

Recently I was at an event with other parents and everyone was chit chatting about their summer vacations. Their summer adventures sounded amazing, exotic and, basically, like a vacation Pinterest board in the making.

Why your kids don't need a lavish vacation to have a good summer - The Everyday Mom Life

“Oh we’re going to Korea for two weeks to visit family and then the kids are going to sleep away camp in California…”

“An Alaskan cruise and then a road trip across the country…”

“Blah, blah blah…,” said another. I had started tuning it out.

But then they looked at me.

“Where are you going this summer?” they asked very nicely.

“Um we might go to Michigan for a few days,” I replied.

They blinked. They were expecting something better. Frankly, I was too. This had not turned into the summer I was imagining back in January.

In January I was dreaming of the beach in Maine, the beach in South Carolina, the beach somewhere…anywhere. Now it’s June and reality has set in that a super-cool, memorable vacation will not be happening this year.

Why your kids don't need a lavish summer vacation to have a good summer - The Everyday Mom Life

As I was lying in bed the other night I was feeling guilty about this and sad for the kids, which made me feel even guiltier. Then I remembered that my kids are 4 (almost 5) and 1 (almost 2)-years-old. I also remembered that when I was growing up super-cool, summer vacations were not the norm. We almost never went on them and my parents had to scrape together their very last dimes to take us anywhere.

Nowadays though, it seems like vacations have become another area of life where parents are upping the ante. With all the extreme ways to parent in this day and age, add lavish summer vacations to the list of things people expect you to do – another area of life to plan through a Pinterest board, another chance to one-up each other and another area of life that becomes insanely costly because of that one-upping.

I decided I’m saying no. Sorry. All the other people win and I don’t care.

My kids don’t need fancy vacations to have the summer of their short lives. They think a super-cool day includes a trip to the zoo and ice cream. They are also perfectly happy spending the day splashing in the water table on the porch or running through the free sprinkler-like splash pads scattered throughout the Chicago suburbs. (You gotta love a good splash pad.)

Why your kids don't need a lavish summer vacation to have a good summer - The Everyday Mom Life

I’m all for giving my kids experiences, but I just don’t think I have to drag them across the country right now, or each summer, to do it. Not only that but I don’t think I should do it.

I believe they can learn and experience plenty of things right in their own backyard, public library and friend’s living room. I believe those things can be just as fun, if not more fun (especially due to the unneeded stress about packing and prepping for a big vacation) than a lavish vacation.

Am I sad that I couldn’t spend a week at the beach? Absolutely. Do I know that they would have a blast splashing in surf? Definitely. But is it something that we need right now? No.

We need to make it through paying all the hospital bills that have come from major ups and downs with my son. We need to continue to save again after stretching our bank account to keep our daughter in her preschool for four months after I stopped working (which is what paid for her school). We need to wait and see what happens with my husband’s job now that his company is selling off his department to another company. We need new tires on the car. Oh and we’re still waiting to find out if those growths on my thyroid are going to turn into bigger problems that need to be taken out. There’s so many more things we need this year than a super-cool vacation.

Why your kids don't need a lavish summer vacation to have a good summer - The Everyday Mom Life

This summer we just need to survive and I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. My kids will certainly survive and they won’t miss a scary airplane ride or insanely-long road trip.

My kids will be healthy, carefree and spend most of their days trying to get as wet as possible. They’ll read, they’ll draw, hunt bugs and imagine they’re animals in the jungle.

While we’re not going on a super-cool, summer vacation, my kids will still have an amazing and memorable summer right here at home. And the best part is, because I’m not working I’ll be here doing it all with them. After all, it’s not really about where you go. It’s about who you’re with that makes the summer special.

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  • Five for the Road June 26, 2017 06.45 pm

    Great post! In this world of keeping up with every family in the world and constant images of what everyone else is doing it is difficult to be okay with just being where we are at. We love to travel but we also love to spend the day in the backyard. I honestly think the only thing the kids really remember is the togetherness. Enjoy your summer with your babes!! Especially those splash pads!!

  • Robin Rue June 26, 2017 06.46 pm

    I am lucky enough to live in one of the best parts of the country and there is SO much to do right here. We do go to Disney every year, but the rest is here at home.

  • Karen Morse June 26, 2017 07.37 pm

    I agree, it doesn’t matter where you go. It’s all going to be the same for the kids. What makes it memorable are the things that you’re going to be doing together as a family.

  • nmetolen75 June 26, 2017 08.27 pm

    I totally agree! We haven’t been able to do a lavish vacation in years, but I always try to plan a few fun things close to home to do with my son. They’re just as memorable!

  • evdayam June 26, 2017 08.32 pm

    As long as your kids have fun & great memories. Who cares the location! ?

  • Cassie June 26, 2017 08.45 pm

    So true! Kids don’t care how much money you spend, it’s all about memories and they can have fun in a cardboard box!! Just gotta be creative!

  • Nicole Anderson June 26, 2017 09.31 pm

    You have made so many great points here. Life is all about balancing priorities and the decisions you make now will obviously have a bearing on your future. I think you are right to pay no attention to what others think you should do with your vacation time to measure up to them. They are simply not important in the bigger scheme of things and your kids won’t miss out – they have you and the fun you will create for them regardless of where you happen to be.

  • Marcie June 26, 2017 10.01 pm

    I think that every family has different priorities and that’s okay. As they say, “comparison is the thief of joy.”

  • Janel Berchielli (@JanelB) June 26, 2017 10.03 pm

    You are right you don’t necessarily have to plan an elaborate and expensive trip just to have a good time. Sometimes it’s the very simple things that make a vacation memorable .

  • Christine Keys June 27, 2017 01.21 am

    Honestly, I think so much of this stems from parents being SO busy all the time that they try to ‘make up’ for it by splurging on fancy vacations. Just being with your kids is enough. We never had fancy summer vacations growing up and I still look back on summers past with fondness.

  • Jessica Joachim June 27, 2017 01.37 am

    big or small doesn’t matter. I have always found what matters is the quality of time being spent with the kids. I would rather camp in the yard and have a blast than have some expensive vacation where we don’t really enjoy it b/c we stress over the money spent.

  • Shahla June 27, 2017 02.40 am

    So true, especially it being about who you are with, not where you are going. We aren’t doing a lavish vacation either and I sometimes feel guilty about it, thanks for this reminder!

  • andrea June 27, 2017 05.11 am

    I so agree, i remember the best vacations i had when i was little were the most chill and relaxed ones. it wasn’t anything lavish or extravagant.

  • Rhian Westbury June 27, 2017 09.32 am

    Summer vacations are as much about memories and what you do as opposed to where you are. Fun activities don’t have to be on the other side of the world x

  • crazylifewithlittles June 27, 2017 01.35 pm

    Love this! My kids are perfectly fine doing simple things like swimming at my parents house, playing outside and hanging at the beach!

  • kezemi June 27, 2017 01.48 pm

    Great post!

  • Corinne @ My Mom Writes (Mommy Blog) June 27, 2017 03.39 pm

    this is such a grat reminder, i am often too hard on myself sometimes about not vacationing with the kids!

  • Nicole @ The Professional Mom Project June 27, 2017 03.52 pm

    Love this post! You’re right as long as kids have fun and you have some time to relax that’s what matters.

  • Terri Steffes June 27, 2017 04.08 pm

    My most memorable summer was the summer when my mom decided that my sister and I could walk to the pool. We went every day we could. We loved the walk to and from as much as the water itself!

  • Journa Liz Servito Ramirez June 27, 2017 04.45 pm

    This is so true! Summer can always be fun wherever you are and it depends upon your decisions. Dear parents, there are lots of options on how we can make summer vacation more memorable!

  • Shannon P June 27, 2017 08.46 pm

    Yes mama! This is so true! Summer doesn’t need to be expensive!

  • Shannon June 28, 2017 12.04 am

    Yes!!!! I agree with this whole-heartedly! We’re not taking a vacation this summer and I’m not sorry one bit. There’s so many great ways to enjoy life right where we are (I hope you heard that to the tune of Moana).

  • ceglutenfreefoodie June 28, 2017 12.40 am

    I completely agree, I always tell my kids that as long as we are together and healthy we are good!

  • ❤ TheMrsTee ? (@themrstee) June 28, 2017 12.47 am

    This is so true. We try to have a BIG summer every 2 years or so but in between it’s local fun and time with each other that matter most.

  • Anna Barton June 28, 2017 02.00 am

    Love this so much!! Too much trying to keep up with others, and it makes us lose our own joy. Have a wonderful summer!!!

  • Shoshana Sue June 28, 2017 11.04 am

    It is so sad that parents sometimes have to take these vacations on credit and they wonder why they can’t ever be free of debt. I always say to my kids that we have to live within our means and the lavish vacations for now are something we cant’ do. What a great post this is.

  • Kristina June 28, 2017 01.41 pm

    People can go to vacation wherever they want. I took my kids to Mexico because to me the beaches and sand are better than florida or California. It wasn’t lavish. It was fun. We even take road trips to Kansas City yearly for family fun. People should go where they want and where they can afford. Just remember to have fun and create memories.

  • Brittany Muddamalle June 28, 2017 02.34 pm

    I am all about staycations with my kids. You can make so many memories just by doing things out of your normal routine in your very own town.

  • Jeanine June 28, 2017 04.04 pm

    We’ve never been on a lavish vacation! My kids love staycations or anything we do thats just a bit different than the norm. They are happy even just heading to the zoo for a zoo day.

  • Amanda Love June 28, 2017 04.48 pm

    Don’t get me wrong, I love treating my kids with a trip to Disney and Universal but I agree about the vacations not having to be expensive! It’s all about the experience, for sure!

  • Marissa @ Diytified June 28, 2017 06.32 pm

    I feel the same way, Mama. It seems the “competition” in motherhood and parenting has made its way into traveling with your kids. Disneyland was the highlight of my childhood travelings. The rest of my memories were of swimming with friends, ice cream, and malls. It was great. No Costa Rica trips, no Asia excursions would have made it better. Plus, it expensive. I’m happy with staycations! Although I do wish to travel but not for my kids, lol. Although, they can come ?

  • Heather Riccobono (@BrieBrieBlooms) June 28, 2017 07.30 pm

    Children don’t remember how much you spent. They remember that you were all together having a wonderful time. This is a great reminder that we shouldn’t be stressing about planning these big trips and instead be thinking about what we all enjoy to do together most.

  • Trisha R (@Rosewood_Grace) June 29, 2017 03.10 am

    You are so right in saying that kids don’t need a lavish vacation! When I was little, my parents didn’t take my anywhere until I was about 10 years old and we went to Yellowstone National Park. I hated every minute of it at the time because it wasn’t the beach or Disney like all my friends were going to. I love looking back at the pictures of that trip now, but I hate that I didn’t appreciate it for what it was then. So I figure with my daughter, I’d rather spend time enjoying what’s local to us because it’ll be a while before she’s old enough to appreciate going on vacations anyway.

  • Courtney June 29, 2017 08.58 pm

    It’s so true! If you were to ask my daughter what her favorite things to do during the summer are, playground and pool win. We can go to Disney everyday and she would still say park and pool. We try too
    Hard as parents sometimes

  • Jeannette July 08, 2017 01.43 am

    Kids at that age are so simple. Everything is interesting and exciting because they are still learning. As long as you spend quality time with them and they are engaged, they will have a good time. No need to feel guilty about that. In the end, they will remember all the great times they spent with their parents.

  • Kristin May 30, 2018 08.18 pm

    You know, the kids won’t remember not being going on the vacation but they will remember how you took care of them. Sometimes you just need to slow down and enjoy the little moments, especially when finances are tight.

  • Scarlet May 30, 2018 11.38 pm

    Summer is all about slowing down and having fun as a family where ever you may be! Time is the best gift we can give our children.

  • Jessica May 30, 2018 11.52 pm

    There can be so much pressure when it comes to summer. However, it doesn’t have to be filled with fancy and elaborate vacations or places! We have never gone on vacation for summer. Sure, we would like to! But, we are a family of six. We went on our first vacation this winter. It costs a lot to pull everything off! We have made so many fun and great memories, just doing every day things! Finding new parks to play at, going to the library, zoo, or other free activities we can find. Summer is not a competition. Summer is meant to have fun.

  • Amy May 31, 2018 12.44 am

    My kids would have a blast playing in a cardboard box. As long as they have good snacks and company they are fine! I agree!

  • Olivia Douglass May 31, 2018 01.26 am

    I agree with this wholeheartedly!! We do one vacation a year and then a few trips or outings as a family a year. Our son is 3 and he doesn’t need a huge vacation to have fun!

  • Stephanie May 31, 2018 01.58 am

    I never even thought about it that people are trying to compare vacations. We are going on a big trip this summer, but that isn’t the norm for us. We go to Florida every summer for two weeks, but we have a timeshare there and visit with my parents, so it isn’t really like a lavish vacation for us. You do what you need to do and don’t worry about everyone else!

  • krystal May 31, 2018 02.55 am

    We went to the library today and had an AMAZING time so this is so true!

  • Angela Tolsma May 31, 2018 05.38 am

    As a kid who didn’t whose parents didn’t take a vacation until she was 14 when they could afford to bus us down to Disneyland, I don’t think having big planned summers are important. I think finding local things to do is totally fine and those things can be free. Kids don’t need to travel and do things. They just need to be loved and enjoy their time.

  • Morgan Isabella Shaw May 31, 2018 01.18 pm

    Love this post it is definitely about who you spend time with and not necessarily where, lovely pictures also x

  • Lynndee May 31, 2018 03.55 pm

    We only go on vacation once a year and it’s always on a budget. The only time it was a bit expensive was when we visited my home country last year. It was a much needed vacation though because we haven’t visited them in 7 years.

  • Kalyn Foggy May 31, 2018 04.25 pm

    Great post! We live in Arizona and my husband is a first grade teacher. Naturally, teachers get asked A LOT what fancy vacations they’ll be taking during their summer breaks. The irony is that teachers don’t receive a salary that affords them any fancy vacations. And I can totally relate with the pressure to give our daughter those experiences!
    On another note, my in-laws happily travel to Michigan every summer!

  • kara May 31, 2018 05.30 pm

    SO true! Some of my favorite vacations were just at the beach with family!

  • katie May 31, 2018 06.06 pm

    Michigan is a great vacation destination. So much to do and see (I live in Michigan myself). Totally get where you’re coming from with this post. When it comes to having young kids, I never really understood (and I still don’t) why some parents choose to take them on lavish vacations. Just doesn’t really make sense to me, but to each their own!

    Katie |

  • Laura May 31, 2018 07.32 pm

    Ahhh this is such a great post! It is so very true, you don’t need to have a lavish vacation to have fun and experience things. We will be having a summer around the house and the odd trip to Grandmas nothing spectacular but my kids will have fun and they will survive without going to the beach for a week or to camp or this and that.

  • Marysa May 31, 2018 09.33 pm

    This is so true. We do a lot of things as a family, from camping to hikes to just hanging out, and those are what the kids remember. It’s funny when we travel, too – they sometimes just go to the playground and aren’t interested in the other things, and it goes to show that those are the things they really enjoy.

  • Heather June 01, 2018 01.19 am

    This is so important! Every year we visit the same small beach town in California around the same time in the summer. We’ve talked often about how familiarity isn’t exciting and maybe we should change things up. My mind was fully changed hearing an adult friend talk about how excited she was to go on her annual summer vacation with her family. Her entire life she had been visiting the same beach and it was something she loved very much and always looked forward to. Familiarity isn’t boring, it’s a tradition our children will hopefully grow up loving.

  • Lisa Marie Heath June 01, 2018 04.00 am

    This is so true! We used to go all out for vacations, but later realized we enjoyed it more as a family when we kept it simpler

  • Julie Hoag June 01, 2018 04.27 am

    I absolutely love taking our kids on a trip to travel somewhere. There is nothing like it and they learn so much from observing how others live and their cultures. However, I agree, you don’t have to go somewhere far away to make it a memorable and fun summer. Sometimes a summer staycation is just what is needed, plus it helps kids enjoy where they live.

  • Narkis Moshe June 01, 2018 06.13 am

    Thank you for sharing this reminder that we don’t need too much to be happy! Not only kids, actually all of us haha… I didn’t have crazy vacations when I was younger but I have amazing memories of the time with my family 🙂

  • Jack June 01, 2018 11.46 am

    Kids age need to life their life good but don’t have to be so much fun always.

  • Vu Ha June 01, 2018 02.59 pm

    I agree with your opinion. I do not think I need to travel many places to have a memorable summer.

  • Samantha June 01, 2018 03.09 pm

    What’s not to love about a good beach day? LOL

  • David Elliott June 02, 2018 02.48 am

    I agree with you when it comes to this. In the age of social media though it’s so hard because we are always comparing ourselves/. And the kids are as well. It’s sad but true. But you can have fun even in something where you don’t go anywhere. An adventure can be had every day.


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