Five things to remember for simple summer getaways

Hooray for summertime! Who’s with me? Time for a little unwinding, relaxation, time for “getting away” as a family.

We tend to sometimes try to do the biggest, best-est, most jam-packed activities during the summer because, well, we know—it doesn’t last forever, and “before you know it,” school days and regimented schedules are upon us once again.

Gone are the late nights, the adventures, and we don’t want to waste a single minute of those long hours of daylight.

Then it happens. You’ve heard it’s been said, “I need a vacation after my vacation.”

My sisters (and brethren), this simply need not be.

If your budget is slender and you don’t want to overwhelm yourself or your family, you can still have a relaxing time together without breaking the proverbial bank and stressing yourself to the max.

1. Set a distance limit. Say, within 65 miles of home. In Texas, this is a mere stone’s throw. Your road trip will be shorter and you’ll put what dollars you do spend back into your local area. Some say half the fun of the trip is making the journey, but that’s not always the case. My kids loved road trips and we liked listening to audio books during chunks of our trip. Yet, I know that’s not the norm for many families, when a simple trek across town is a battle.

2. When you do look close to home for vacation-y attractoins, look around for those out-of-the-ordinary places to discover. Do you have any state parks nearby? Admission prices are reasonable and you can take your own food in, for either a picnic or grilling out. If you stay overnight, likely you can get anything from a primitive camp site all the way to a simple cabin. Maybe there’s a local museum or attraction. Pretend you’re a tourist in your town and you might be surprised!

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A hidden treasure on a road trip

3. Resist the urge to over-schedule yourself (and the family). If you’re day-tripping close to home, don’t try to pack too much into one day. Choose perhaps one morning activity, a plan for lunch, then follow up with another afternoon activity, and home again. There will be other days you can go out and discover more.

4. If you can’t decide where the family would like to go, let each person decide on a place they’d like to visit (budget allowing), and write it on a piece of paper. Then put the pieces of paper in a “trip jar” and pull one out each weekend, or each day of vacation. And, off you go!

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Farm fresh food on a Texas back road

5. Coupon, coupon, coupon. Check with the local chamber of commerce of the city you plan to visit. Often, there will be local coupons or discount passes for admission to different museums or attractions, and discounts at local restaurants.

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Happy trails to you, wherever you go!

Whatever your family does this summer, I hope you enjoy it and that you have a (mostly) stress-free time together.

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Lynette Sowell (9 Posts)

Lynette Sowell is the award-winning author of more than 15 titles for Barbour Publishing, Harlequin, and Abingdon Press. When she's not writing fiction, she chases down stories for her city newspaper and writes a weekly column, "My Front Porch." Lynette was born in Massachusetts, raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, but makes her home on the doorstep of the Texas hill country with her husband. Fond of all things coffee and chocolate, Lynette also loves to travel, read, try new recipes, dabble in crafts, and is always up for a Texas road trip.


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