School, work, chores, sport, and other activities shape our lives and swallow our time so much so that it seems like you only just packed away the Christmas decorations and you realise it’s already November!
Whether it’s a short break or a long haul adventure, travelling with kids can be daunting and exciting, stressful and seriously fun! For kids, it’s a break from the usual, and for us parents it’s a step out of the box from our daily lives. So why not have fun and take a break?!
Our family, like most families, struggle to find time to all share together. Hubby ‘s industry and position means he works long hours during the week and often has to work weekends. Couple that with the occasional work trip that can take him interstate or overseas, sometimes with little warning, and finding time to share together can be a little on the difficult side. Between the kids school, kindy, and sporting commitments there are also play dates and birthday’s to attend on weekends filling their days and weeks often faster than I can keep up. As well, even myself being a stay at home mum slash work at home mum (have no idea how to define myself being that I am a full time mum, full time business owner and operator, write this blog and attempt to write books!) means that we are all time poor for some good old fashion fun!
So when we do find ourselves with a weekend seemingly free from daily duties we as a family love to take a short road trip, book one night accommodation and just enjoy life as a family with young kids. Currently living in Brisbane means we don’t have beaches (the real kind with actual waves) just down the road. We have three options; drive 1 hour South to the Gold Coast, drive 1 hour North to the Sunshine Coast or hop on a ferry and head to North Stradbroke Island (which incidentally takes around an hour too!). Having grown up on the Northern Beaches of Sydney where anyone who had to do anything other than walk, ride a pushy or skateboard to the surf was considered a ‘Westie’ it’s a little different now I have my own kids to what I experienced as a child. We didn’t need to do road trips; we had the best of everything at our doorstep!
But as with everything you just need to make the best with what you have so for us this means making the most of a weekend free from obligations. With our weekend short breaks we minimise costs by staying a single night. Getting packed and ready to go on a Friday night means being able to set off super early Saturday, arrive at our destination in time for breakfast down by the beach and spend the morning playing in the sand and water. Time for lunch and a play at a park then check into the hotel and a bit of down time in the room. Heading to a local pub for dinner is fun and cost effective and back to the room to flick on a movie for the kids and have a glass of wine to wind down with hubby. A sleep in (well, ok an attempt to sleep in) is followed by utilising the hotel facilities either a playground or pool and then checking out and having a late breakfast down by the beach again and a few hours of fun in the sun before heading back home for a late lunch. What was only a day and a half feels like a week away!
Not travelling too far means that the kids are more likely not to get too annoying in the back seat and no planned toilet stops are required (remember to ALWAYS make your kids use the loo before departure even if they tell you they don’t need to go!!!). Letting each child pack their own ‘travel kit’ means they will have some of their favourite things to play with for the drive and if you have ipads, tablets, or any hand held games make sure they are fully charged and you pack the chargers to top them up overnight for the return journey.
Even if we cannot afford either the time or money to stay overnight somewhere, taking a day out of the ordinary to go somewhere different and spend some time together is well worth the effort involved. You don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a great time. Leave early, return late and pack your own lunch in a cooler bag. You can plan out your trip in advance and try to pack in as much as you can so that when you do get home your kids are so tired they fall in a heap so you and your partner can enjoy that glass of wine at home together! For inspiration of places to go and things to do visit your council website or a council website of a neighbouring area as they almost always have a section for ‘Things To Do” or “Activities” and you might just be surprised with what’s on offer and often at the things you can do for free!
It is truly amazing how much even a day and a bit can recharge your family and inject some much needed fun into the monotony of life that we can all to often find ourselves caught up in. With school, sport, work and chores we all need to take a moment when we can to have experiences together as a family that will be remembered for many years to come!
How do you make the most of your time when you have a weekend free? Comment below or share your own story.