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7 Ways We Connect as a Family While Traveling #TravelforReal #FamilyForward

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7 ways to connect as a family while traveling

Over the years we had our share of traveling faux pas. Traveling with kids can sometimes be difficult (perhaps you can relate?). With four children of our own, there are often stretching moments for everyone involved. We’ve had car top carriers that opened up on the highway (that was fun), screaming babies, trips to the ER, someone who had to pee RIGHT NOW or might burst (that might have been me – cough), and everything in between.

Regardless of the ups and downs, there is one thing that is a definite – our travel adventures have created memories that we can laugh about (eventually) and talk about for years to come. They’ve also given us ways to connect and g-r-o-w as a family. With an upcoming car trip and vacation planned I thought it would be fun to share 7 ways that our family connects while traveling. Follow along with us via Instagram and Twitter to see what we’re up to. You can also use the #TravelforReal or #FamilyForward hashtags to look for pictures of our family (and others).

1. We learn to compromise.

traveling together

Travel with four kids and limited space and you’ll quickly find that EVERYONE wants to sit in the front seat. Or watch the movie that they want. (Or fill in your own blank). One thing that we’ve learned is how to compromise. Our kids have figured out a seat rotation schedule that works for them – and while not everyone is always in the ‘prime seat’, everyone is happy (and counting down the hours until it’s their turn in those seats).

2. We learn patience.

This is as much for the adults as it is for the kids. Being cooped up in a car for endless hours can wear on everyone’s nerves. Frustrations can mount and little issues can flare into things that blow up way beyond where they should. A car engine starts overheating and lights on the dashboard go nuts. Somebody has to go to the bathroom again even though we just made a designated potty break 10 miles back.

But we need to be patient with each other and extend the same grace to our family that we so much desire for ourselves. Life doesn’t always go according to plan and patience is a part of the overall story of life. That car top carrier that didn’t latch and resulted in our luggage being released all over the interstate made for a lot of backtracking and searching for the missing items. Not planned, but necessary.

One thing that is great about families – we can be REAL with each other. We see each other at our best and messiest moments – and learn to love still despite those difficult moments.

3. We try new things!


Sometimes we don’t always have the ‘familiar’ surrounding us – the food we are used to, our own favorite pillow, and those times are opportunities to try something new. It may require a little encouragement from others, but we have had SO much fun watching our kids get out of their comfort zone and try new things – like jumping in the deep water and snorkeling.

4. We learn how to laugh at ourselves.

It can be tough to laugh when something goes wrong or we make a mistake (even though it’s hilariously funny to others). Our last road trip resulted in something that was extremely embarrassing for me personally, but I quickly realized I had to let it go.

Sometimes we just need to learn to let loose, have fun, and join in the laughter. When we’re together on vacation, it’s the perfect opportunity for us to let our guards down with those we love – and then continue that pattern when we get home!

5. We get to splurge and treat ourselves.

iPhone dump-61

Hotels are a huge treat for our kids. With a family of six, there aren’t many times that we can afford a longer stay and be together economically (because typically only 5 can stay in a room). When we have saved up our money, found some great deals, and are doing something super special together it is so much fun to splurge and treat ourselves on things we wouldn’t normally do. Maybe it’s a special dinner out or getting dessert just because. It’s so much fun to do something out of the ordinary (and surprise our kids every now and then too!).

On a side note – our kids are always THRILLED to stay at a hotel – because we have our very own TV and soaps. It’s the little things, right?

6. We get over our entitlements.

Although we do splurge and treat ourselves, our children have learned too (as have the adults) that we don’t always get what we want. We’ve learned the hard way how difficult a high debt-load can be on a family and it’s been a long process in understanding that we can’t always get what we want.

When we are taking a big vacation, our kids have set a savings goal and worked hard over a period of months to earn spending money. We’ve also had yard sales and cleaned out the excess to fund the spending money goal – that alone has been a huge learning experience for the kids. It’s a LOT harder to spend your own money and they make much different choices when it’s their own money on the line (that’s a great life lesson!).

7. We make new friends.

making friends while traveling

One of the best benefits of traveling together have been the friends that we’ve made. On almost every one of our trips, our children (and the adults) have reached out and connected with others, resulting in friendships that have extended beyond a short weekend. We’ve even had the fun of introducing some of those families to each other and have since vacationed together. It’s been wonderful!

Those are honestly just a few of the many ways that our family has connected through our travel time together – there are SO many other ways as well!


How has travel benefitted your family over the years? I’d love to hear your about your adventures!


This week we’re anticipating connecting more with our family as we gear up for a trip to the #FamilyForward conference at Universal Orlando Adventure hosted by Mom It Forward. There are many amazing sponsors: Universal Orlando Resort, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, DohVinci, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Loews Royal Pacific Resort. The kids may be a wee bit excited to see Blue Man Group and be a part of family-building workshops along with me too.

We’d love for you to follow along via Instagram and Twitter and see what we (and other families) are up to! Use the #TravelforReal or #Family Forward hashtag to search for pictures.

This post may contain affiliate or advertiser links. Read my full disclosure policy .

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  1. What a great post! We are about to hit the beach next week, so this was just in time. Last year I wrote a similar post about travel with the family, more homeschool based, but it reminded me of how much fun we had together as a family. I shared your post on my Facebook page, I enjoyed it so much! Thanks for the inspiration! Here are some adventures from our last trip together! http://littlelogcottageschool.com/2014/10/10/ten-ways-to-use-life-as-your-curriculum-vacation-edition/

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