There is nothing more rewarding for parents than spending quality time with the kids on a family vacation. Snapping pictures, exploring and discovering new territories while blazing new trails can make for great family fun. After all, isn’t that what a family vacation is all about anyway? Just being together, sharing, laughing, talking – creating some of life’s most memorable moments. All too often though, the hopes of a rewarding vacation or day trip with the kids can slowly dwindle into a day of frustration and disappointment. The kids get hungry, then they’re thirsty, they get tired and cranky, now they want to argue and of course the ever proverbial “are we there yet”…coming from the back seat of the car feels as though it will forever be ringing in your ears. Is this bonding? Well…in a sense – yes.
Certainly, years from now when the kids are grown you can reminisce and laugh about the trials and tribulations of the family vacation and day trips you used to take. But wouldn’t it be more rewarding knowing that you can actually have fun with your kids in the present moment! Why wait until they’re all grownup to reminisce about the good ol’ day trips gone by.
When my family and I take an Arizona vacation or go on a day trip we like to think about bonding with the kids in the present moment. Have fun now, talk with the kids now and share in that hilarious belly laugh now – so that when we all get home we can immediately begin to reminisce about the fun times we had on this family vacation.
No matter where your travels may take you and your family the following travel tips will help get you there with your peace of mind in tack so that you can enjoy all of your wonderful “present moments” with your family.
Advice and Tips for Arizona Travelers and Vacationers:
– Check Your Vehicle: A breakdown could spell disaster for a fun filled day. Whether you are in your own car or a rental, always take a look before you start. Make sure the tires look properly inflated and check the windshield washer fluid. Fill your tank. You can always go to Arizona Day Trails to find out where to buy fuel in Arizona for the least amount of money.
– Pack a Cooler: Purchase a small Styrofoam cooler available in any grocery or convenience store for just a few bucks. Pack it with bottled water and a few light snacks. Avoid sweet drinks because they tend to dehydrate you in the Arizona heat. Water will keep you hydrated and feeling good. Keep a box of crackers and Nilla wafers handy because they are easy on the stomach. And drink plenty of water during your day. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty.
– Dress Properly and Comfortably: Flip flops and sandals are great around the hotel or pool, but on your Arizona day trip wear durable, comfortable footwear. Pack some sunscreen and wear hats. It doesn’t have to be a Stetson; a baseball cap will do fine. The Arizona desert can get cool in the evening and downright cold at times so keep jackets handy.
– Keep the Kids In the Loop: Rotate seats in the car so everybody gets a window. Let the kids help decide things like where to have lunch and spend time at the things that interest them. When our son was 8 or 9 years old he could spend what seemed like all day observing reptiles and other animals at the various places on our day trips. It wasn’t necessarily our idea of heaven but today he is a Biologist preparing for his P.H.D. in Zoology. Who would have guessed? So let the kids pick a place or two to go visit. With a little guidance from you, you may be surprised to find a P.H.D. in your kids too.
– Create Family Memories: Pick up small mementos along the way to remind the kids of the places they’ve been and the great things they have experienced. You don’t have to break the bank. It’s the small things that make a difference and are great conversation starters with your kids!
– Take Lots and Lots of Photos: When you get back home and are sitting around with the kids, looking at your photo collection, it will hit you. Arizona is so amazingly beautiful- sometimes it just doesn’t sink in until you see it in print.
– Don’t Try to Beat the Clock: You can only move as fast as the slowest one in your party. Different size families with kids of various ages travel at different paces. Your family may want to spend more time at one place or another or at one particular activity. Go with the flow and enjoy. Arizona’s wonderful places have been around a long time and they will be there tomorrow. Believe me, you and your kids will be happier enjoying the things you get to do than having the day become a nightmare by trying to rush.
– Travel Safe: If you are doing all the driving remember to give your eyes a rest. There are plenty of scenic areas to park and stretch your legs. Take advantage of them. You are going to see some of the most amazing natural beauty on Earth. Take the time to drink it all in. July and August is monsoon season in Arizona and afternoon thunderstorms occur regularly. Be prepared, they usually only last a short time.
– Talk and Laugh a Lot: Talk to one another about the things you are doing and the marvelous sights you are seeing. It’s a great time for the kids to use their imagination and express themselves. Listen to them. You will learn things about each other that may surprise you and you will be better off for the experience. Laugh, laugh and laugh some more! Leave your stress and cares behind and have fun. You owe it to yourself and your kids. Life will be waiting when you get home.
– Bend the Rules: Extend bedtimes. Take an evening dip in the hotel pool. Have that extra ice cream cone. Whatever it is that is different from the everyday. Step outside late one night with your kids and look up at the sky. The night sky in Arizona is filled with stars to wish on so get out there and look up! City dwellers will be amazed.
We hope you keep these hints in mind during your visit to Arizona or wherever you and your family may travel. My wife, Ronnie and I have spent over 30 years traveling throughout Arizona and have found these tips to be true for our family. We know they will be true for yours too.
We’ll see ya on the trail! And remember to always be good to each other and your mother Earth. Take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.