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Traditions are an important part of making lifelong family memories. Many times, though, we only think about them during the holidays. But, you can take your vacations to the next level and make them really special by creating family travel traditions. Here’s some easy ways to do it!
#1 Same Location Every Year
The most obvious way to create family travel traditions is to go to the same place each year for your vacation. You could go to Disney World, snow skiing, or to the same beach every year.
It doesn’t really matter where you go, the point is to keep going back to the same place. After a few years, your family will start to associate memories of family time with this destination.
You can take this one step further by staying at the same hotel or eating at some of the same restaurants each time. It doesn’t have to be a long trip. Your traditional annual trip could be as short as a weekend or even just a day trip.
My husband and I spend a weekend with a friend’s family at his parents’ lake house every July. This is a trip we always look forward to. We have made a lot of great memories on this trip over the years.
#2 Same Time, Different Place
Another way to create your family travel tradition is to designate a particular week of the year for your family vacation and go to a new location every year.
Whether you choose Spring Break, the week after Christmas, or some other time, your family will begin to anticipate that week as family time year after year.
#3 Milestone Birthday Trips
You could also use milestone birthdays as a trigger for special family trips. As each of your children turn a pre-determined age, take a family trip to a destination of their choosing.
Alternatively, take a trip with just the birthday child to celebrate reaching that special benchmark age.
#4 Souvenir Tradition
Another way to create family travel traditions is to begin collecting a particular type of souvenir on each trip.
For instance, you could pick out a special Christmas ornament each time you travel as a family. Then you can relive memories of past trips as you decorate your tree each December.
#5 Photo Tradition
Another idea is to take the same posed photo of your family on each trip.
You could take it in front of a major landmark, in the first restaurant of the vacation, in the airport before boarding, or in the car as you pull out of the driveway.
Your photo could be serious or completely silly. Pick a pose and location that fits the personalities of your family. Then, display all the photos together on a gallery wall of your home or in a photo album.
#6 First or Last Night Tradition
Consider turning your first or last night of each vacation into a tradition for your family. You can do this in a number of ways. You could always eat a particular type of cuisine on that night, get ice cream for dessert, or go swimming in the hotel pool.
It doesn’t matter what you do, just pick something that is fun for your family and do it on that first or last night each time you travel.
My family has a tradition of eating at ‘Ohana on the first night of each of our Disney World trips.
#7 Secret Santa
For a unique family travel tradition, start a travel version of Secret Santa. Have each person draw another family member’s name out of a hat. Then buy a gift for that person while on vacation.
You can either have your gift exchange once you arrive back home or save them for Christmas. The benefit of saving the gifts for Christmas is that you can enjoy the memories of the trip as each person opens their special gift.
This works especially well if you have multiple children. It’s also an easy way to teach your kids to focus on others instead of themselves while on vacation.
#8 Draw for Destinations
You could also turn your trip planning into a family travel tradition by drawing for destinations. Let each family member pick a destination they would like to travel to. Put them all into a hat and draw out the winning location.
Maybe do the drawing while opening gifts on Christmas morning. Your kids will love the thrill of winning the vacation lottery.
#9 Personal Picks
Another way to get the entire family involved in trip planning while creating a family travel tradition is to let each person pick out an activity or restaurant to experience during your annual family vacation.
#10 Child Planning Days
I am a big fan of getting kids involved in trip planning. We have turned this into a family travel tradition in our family by allowing my son to plan one day of each trip.
We usually designate a day towards the middle or end of our trip and put him in charge. He plans where we eat, what we do, and how we get around for the entire day. We give him a budget and he has to figure out the logistics of everything we do on his day.
This is a sneaky way to teach kids some life skills while letting them feel in control for a short period of time.
#11 Same Activity Every Trip
Our last way to create family travel traditions is to do the same activity on each trip.
Depending on your family’s interests, this could be snorkeling, a professional sporting event, hiking, taking a cooking class, or even shopping.
Find something you all enjoy doing and incorporate it into each and every vacation you take. It is a great way to bond over shared interests.
Traditions aren’t just for the holidays. It is not only possible, but extremely easy to turn your vacations into family travel traditions. I hope these ideas inspire you to start your own traditions on your next family trip.
For more ways to improve your family vacations, see how to take amazing vacations on any budget, how to plan an epic family trip, tips for stress free travel with your spouse, and how to take a vacation when you can’t afford it. Happy travels!
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