After checking off your packing list, successfully managing to fit everything you need into a limited number of bags, and maybe even planning some creative traveling activities, it’s finally time to make some vacation memories with your family.
One great way to make memories that last is starting a family tradition your kids will look forward to year after year. Try one of these ideas for fun vacation traditions.
Family Vacation Countdown
Get your crew excited by creating a photo countdown board! Bonus points for including pictures from your last vacation or even sneak peeks of this year’s destination. Let your kids take turns updating the numbers every day and round out the countdown by presenting each of your kiddos with a small gift—something small to wear on the trip (like wolf ears!) or an activity they can do while traveling.
Mark Family Progress with A Photo Recreation
Have trouble getting it together for a first-day-of-school shot each year? You’re not alone.
Luckily family vacations offer a great occasion to capture your little ones as they grow. To really show how much everyone changes, recreate a picture of your family in the same spot (and configuration!) each year and enjoy flipping through past photos to watch each child evolve. And don’t forget to include yourselves. Your kids will eventually love seeing the fashion trends you’re currently rocking—and how young you look.
If you don’t return to the same place every year, don’t worry. You can still make this work with a shot of you and yours next to packed suitcases.
Make It a Tradition to Spoil Them A Bit — It’s Vacation!
Whether it’s always getting ice cream the first night or ordering a mound of chocolate chip pancakes from room service, you likely already know what puts a smile on your children’s faces. So, create a family tradition out of it.
“We let our kids pick out a sugary cereal only on vacation,” says Mandy Harry, mother of six. “They love the treat since this is not allowed any other time.”
Keep in mind that this particular tradition doesn’t have to revolve around food. It could relate to a favorite activity or (dun dun dun!) extra-late bedtimes.
Pick Family Favorites
If you frequent the same place every year, pick a favorite park, restaurant, or arcade to return to on your last day. These small things will likely become major memories that your kids will later share with their own children.
Try Something New Together
While going to a tried-and-true favorite is great, make it a point to bake adventure into your family legacy by trying something new each year. It could be a new ride, a new food, or a new game.
Let each of your kids make suggestions for your family’s new adventure together.
Start a Mission
Want to unite your family toward a common goal? Set out to check off all the National Parks or ride the fastest roller coasters across the country.
“Every summer we try to go somewhere we can see snow,” says Katrine Strickland, mother of two.
Checking off the family bucket list makes for a meaningful tradition.
Curate Your Family Memories
When you’re busy packing lunches, overseeing homework, and running from dance to swim to drama club, it’s easy to forget creating photo books and recording funny things your kids say.
Family vacations are a great reminder to slow down and capture the memories. Simplify this process by using a memory journaling and photo app to record your memories and even create vacation videos. Try Momento, Journey, or Soulments which was created especially for parents to help us keep track of our favorite family milestones via photos, videos, and mindful journaling prompts. You can even make family yearbooks and curate travel logs.
Making a photo album for each family vacation is a great way to keep your memories of family traditions fresh. Put the books on your coffee table or in the rotation of nightly reading books so you can tell your kids the “story” of their family trips and traditions.
Try one, or all, of these family tradition ideas for your next trip and see what resonates. If all else fails, pick up a holiday ornament from each trip. Then when you’re decorating the tree next year, you can all reminisce about the fun you had. That’s two family traditions in one.