Behinds the scenes here at Vacationkids, our travel advisors answer this question about week long family vacations in Europe almost every day. I'll be brutally honest, when I hear this question the above picture immediately pops into my brain.
Whenever hard working parent plan a vacation, they want to be certain they are getting the best vacation possible for every penny they spend. Often from the outside looking in, people think vacation planning is an easy DIY project that if they invest the work, they will save some coin. This is especially true when deciding to hire a tour guide.
Before I worked in the travel business, I’d research our family vacation for months – hoping to uncover the places that locals loved. I would crowdsource vacation ideas and try to connect with locals that could offer up some secret intel.
I’ll be honest with you, back then I was on a very tight budget and was trying to scrimp every penny so that my family could take a vacation. I didn’t see the value of hiring a guide or working with a destination specialist. I was convinced I could do it all on my own - without the help of a trained professional.
I was a single mom with 3 kids at the time. The first trip where I acted as a tour guide was our summer road trip to New England. It began as a disaster on several levels.
With the best of intentions, I was trying to prepare my kids for their American history classes the following September. I tried cramming my U.S. history facts into their sweet little brains with engaging car conversations that fell upon deaf ears accompanied by sarcastic eye rolls. The Freedom Trail in Boston instantly deteriorated into a bickering fest that was only interrupted by the trauma of a pigeon pooping on the head of my youngest. By day two of our 7 day historical odyssey, I was out numbered, overwhelmed and exhausted. This wasn't fun for any of us.
As a parent, it's hard enough to get your kids to listen to you on any given day so why did I think they would want to listen to me playing tour guide?
By day 3 I surrendered and bought us guided tour tickets in Salem, Massachusetts. I really didn't want to spend the money but I was defeated. To everyone's delight, our guide was incredible! He walked us through town, told us stories about folks buried in the cemetery and pointed out fascinating facts in the witch museum that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. He took us to Nathaniel Hawthorne's "House of the Seven Gables" and showed us hidden bookcases and rooms where people hid during the witch trials. My kids were so engaged, hanging on his every word.
My kids loved listening to him and guess what? They didn't have to listen to me for a couple of hours. Instantly I became a participant in my own vacation. I could relax and enjoy my kids learning what I had intended from the very beginning. They could enjoy me having fun with them!
I immediately booked us into guided tours for our next three stops of Plimoth Plantation, Martha's Vineyard and a mansion tours of Newport, Rhode Island. I spent more than I had originally budgeted for this vacation but the result was the vacation that far exceeded what I had originally envisioned.
A great way to teach children their place in this word is to show them exactly where they come from. If you're looking for inspiration for your next family vacation, consider a family heritage trip. Imagine your family walking in the footsteps of your ancestors.
The Moon Palace Cancun resort complex is a renown, perennial favorite for families staying in the Sunrise, The Moon and Nizuc sections of this massive property. The Moon Palace complex is located just 5 miles south of Cancun airport, nestled on 55 lush tropical gardens, a signature golf course, conference facilities and totals 2314 deluxe rooms and suites most with ocean or partial ocean views. This small resort "city" is surprisingly easy to navigate with trams and carts passing every couple of minutes.
Many parents who love to travel can't wait until their kids are older so their family can look forward to a vacation that's a bit more adventurous exotic.
As our children grow up, we delight in taking them for big and little trips - whether it's a weekend at the shore, a week at the mountains, or big family trip to a theme park. When children get to middle and high school, planning family vacation becomes much more difficult - extra curricular activities, sports, dating, after school jobs and teenage angst all create hurdles to enjoying family time longer than dinner together on Sunday evening.