Here are 6 reasons to embrace long weekends for family travel.
Summer’s long gone, and my family’s feeling it. We’re embedded in the school year with its homework and activities and bedtimes and shorter days. We’re already feeling the strain that comes with keeping the plates spinning.
Our best antidote is to get outta Dodge. There’s a particular mental renewal that’s only possible when the to-do list and computers are miles away. But it’s easy to write off quick getaways as too much hassle for not enough time away.
But is that really true? I’ve been traveling quite a lot recently, and I’ve rediscovered the real getaway potential of a three-day weekend. It’s a great length of time for a decent family getaway — perhaps even better than a longer vacation when your kids are little. Here’s why:
1. Weekend getaways costs less than longer vacations.
Fewer days, fewer dollars, especially if you’re driving. It’s obvious but still worth mentioning because cost is a real travel prohibitor. Not only are short trips cheaper, you can often score flight and hotel deals that aren’t available during traditional vacation times.
2. Weekend getaways require less planning.
Part of the stress of family travel is having to plan and commit ahead of time. Who knows how you’ll feel that week, or whether a kid will be flu-ridden? Traveling for a shorter time can give you a chance to be more flexible with the details.
3. You’ll look at nearby destinations with new eyes.
With a long weekend, it makes sense to set our sights on destinations no more than a four-hour drive away. Because of this I’ve gotten more familiar what’s nearby, and have been delighted by what I’ve found.
4. Packing is easier.
Short trips require very little luggage. Which means you probably won’t be up the night before doing five loads of laundry.
5. Short travel times are easier on little kids (and pets).
We traveled quite a bit when our kids were toddlers and preschoolers. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything…but it certainly wasn’t relaxing. When you shorten the trip, it feels like less of an undertaking. If the trip DOES turn out to be a disaster, at least it won’t last very long.
6. Brief getaways are more manageable for kids with heavy homework loads.
Now that my kids are teens, travel has gotten complicated again. Not because of the kids (traveling with them is a BLAST), but because of their increasingly busy schedules and heavy homework loads. When you travel for a weekend, it’s an easier chunk of time for kids to work around. No missed classes, and homework can usually be diverted or finished ahead of time. And the best part: kids get a relaxation break during a stressful time of year.
All of these factors combined make it less daunting to travel as a family. So give it a try. Search your schedule for an available three-day weekend and plan your next family getaway!
I wrote this post in partnership with sponsor Embassy Suites. They have been a fantastic supporter and I highly recommend them for family hotel stays. All rooms are two-room suites (comfortable for a family of four, or even five if one kid sleeps in a crib). Also included: free hot, cooked-to-order breakfast, and a nightly reception with snacks, drinks, and fun activities for the kids.
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