Summer is officially here and that means time for a much needed summer vacation. What shall we do this year? Go to the mountains, head east or west or south to the beach, take a cruise or just go to a resort within driving distance? Great vacations require much planning and even more so when Living-in-Step.
As a stepfamily of ten we had to be creative to have a successful and peaceful vacation. The first decision that had to be made was who was going on the trip? Some vacations, particularly the more expensive ones like cruises, we had to take without our children because we could not afford to take everyone and we needed the time away. We were deliberate to plan special vacations for the two of us and usually did them around the same time each year so our children knew what to expect.
The first time we took five children on a trip together, it was almost a disaster. First, we had to find a date that worked for everyone including discussions with the bio-parents regarding the non-custodial summer visitation schedule. Once we had a date and a location, transportation was the next issue. Two adults and five children will easy fit in a van or a large SUV, but not a passenger car. Guess what? All of the vans and SUV's were rented out and we had to all pile into the car together with three in the front and four in the back. Thank God we weren't stopped by the highway patrol, because we definitely violated the seat belt laws in two states.
The next dilemma was where we were going to stay for our three day trip. Our children weren't old enough to stay in a hotel room alone and we had both boys and girls to accommodate. I finally located a two bedroom suite with a rollaway couch in the living area. Me and hubby took a bedroom, the girls took the other bedroom and the boys slept on the couch. Guess what? There wasn't a TV in the girls room so they weren't happy and the boys complained that the couch was too hard. Lesson learned. Spend the extra money and try to find a condo or a house to rent. Trust me, Vacationsrentals.com and Vacation Rentals By Owner (VRBO) saves marriages.
All in all we survived our first vacation and went on to do a few more. Some summers we took separate vacations with our children. We were nervous about doing this at first not wanting to be away from each other, but we soon learned that our children enjoyed having private time with us. In actuality they were a little more peaceful.
What ever you do, make sure you plan, plan and then plan some more. After all vacations are supposed to be fun and relaxing, and exciting. If you fail to plan, you are deliberately planning a disaster. With that said, go out and make it a great summer!
Janice R Love, Author
First Lady, Mom, Stepmom and Divorce Ministry Coach