Summer vacation has arrived for us!
And our summer activities are so different this year. There is NO time to be bored, uuuhhhh well let’s not forget about the “I’m so bored” statement I heard before summer had even started! Yeah, it’s OKAY to be bored sometimes!
During my first few years as a new immigrant to Canada is was trying to find my groove and figure out how everything would fall into place, mostly, where was I going to work? I ended up doing a few different things and every single one of those jobs meant I had to give up most of my weekends and many long weekends.
Eventually, my husband and I cut the crap and decided to do what’s best for our family. Making this the first year, in a long time, that we can go on weekend trips after I found a job that fits our family. Once everything fell into place we got a little carried away, why would we keep it to weekends only?!
Our road trip is taking up most of our time with the boys while they are still on summer break. With the way our 50/50 access schedule falls this year, We’re planning for 4 weeks of summer fun out of a 9-week break. The stress that can sometimes accompany summer break and ‘what to do with the kids’ isn’t quite the same when you’re going on a road trip and only have to plan for half of summer on any given year.
I often ask myself ‘what are we going to do on the road AND keep things within our budget’.
Keep in mind that I have two pre-teen stepsons.
ON THE ROAD / keeping it simple
Most of the drives during our road trip are around 3 hours with a couple around 5 hours. While planning the trip we focused on short distances to avoid long hauls in the truck.
My husband and I are not huge fans of screen time and have been trying to find that screen time sweet spot. It’s ever changing when you’re dealing with little people who are starting to form their own opinions and interests.
Quite naturally, our home rules will apply to the road*. Although there will be a little bit of wiggle room.
Pre-teens + 2017 = own devices. Luck and time are totally on our side this time around. Once looking at the scenery gets really boring and we’re all done listening to CBC's ‘ The Debaters’ or the podcast ‘Grown Ups Read Things They Wrote as Kids’** then, ONLY then, can devices be pulled out.
* This rule would never apply when on the road with toddlers. Bring whatever you need to stay sane parents! You can only play ‘I spy’ for so long...
** We LOVE this podcast but you do really need to select age appropriate episodes. You can usually tell by the title or introduction if it’s going to be ok for your kids to listen to.
Time to explore! For each and every single village, town or city we are visiting we’ve mapped out a few things to do or see. Not originally as planned, but when traveling with kids it’s just been so much nicer to have somewhat of an idea of what's around. This avoids moody, cranky people (us included) who are frantically trying to find out where to go or what to do while the kids are on repeat - “What are we doing?” - “When are we leaving?”’
Budget is always on our minds and luckily the summer offers many free or cheap events.
Other things to do around Oregon (the super short - not detailed at all - list)
- Visit a water park
- Go sandboarding
- Hike to a waterfall
- Explore the beaches
- View the tourist highlights
- Check out the local museum (some days are free!)
- Go to a farmers market
- Visit as many natural wonders as you can
Don’t be afraid to drag the kids along when you’re doing something that’s more geared towards adults. It’s a vacation for everyone after all! They might start winning or telling you they are bored, at this point you can give them a calm and friendly reminder that sometimes we do things for the kids and sometimes we do things for the adults. We’ve pulled this card before and it generally works.
You’ll find us out and about most days while other days will be spent at the campsite relaxing and saving some cash. Being on the go 24/7 for 3 weeks is not our idea of a great vacation. We really enjoy spending days at the campsite but have had to fall back on a few used ideas to keep things going when we do stay ‘at home’.
- Ask the kids to find out if the campground has a kids program. Fairly often they will have a kids program such as a movie night. See what I did there? I gave the kids something to do while we set up camp! Out of sight, out of mind. HA! Nope, but it does make setting up go a lot smoother.
- Bring bicycles and explore the campground. The kids can do this together or everyone can head out at once. Plus, this is an amazing opportunity for the kids to find other kids to play with. FYI, this should be your main goal at any campsite. You’re going to be spending A LOT of time with the kids, which is great, but you still need some one-on-one time with your guy. Even it’s only for a short hour here and there.
- Pull out the board and lawn games. Uno, Sorry or Clue anyone? It keeps us entertained anyway.
- Or just tell the kids to go find something to do while you enjoy your wine. Trust me, they will eventually find something to do.
Enjoy your summer break (step)mama!