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Memories in the Making

Moments That Last a Lifetime

One of the most important things you can do for your children is to spend time with them, and a vacation can be just the ticket to capturing your children’s full attention. It’s an opportunity for parents to unplug too. Like you, we were a busy lacrosse and volleyball practicing, after school working, youth group and girl scout attending, two-job family. As hard as it was to get everyone in the same place at the same time, it was essential for us to have our two weeks to get away from the rush and reconnect. We went to the beach for many years, and since we went to the same place, we found food stops and activities that became traditions we looked forward to year after year. Even though our girls are grown, and two are married, we still look forward to gathering together to hang at the beach and, for sure, make a stop to get a bucket of Fisher’s Popcorn.

Sherill Stitz says, “We run our own business and it’s difficult to get away, but my husband was adamant that we take a week to get away each year.” For the Stitz family, their preferred type of vacation is to go on a cruise. They have been taking trips with their kids since they were very little. Sherill says, “My kids love cruising because there’s such a wide variety of things to do for all ages. It’s perfect for busier families that like to have a lot of activities, and a great option or for those who want to sit poolside and do less. We have made so many wonderful memories on vacations and we just love traveling with the kids.”

Traveling to places where you may experience different cultures with your kids can be really eye-opening and generate interesting conversations. Sherill recalls their family’s trip to St. Thomas. “It’s particularly memorable because the kids still talk about when we went out on the bus and saw the poverty and people living differently than us. It was good for them to see that not all people are as blessed as we are.” 

Our eye-opening family trip came in South Africa, where we volunteered to serve at an orphanage. We still speak of the little faces at the gate patiently waiting for it to open, the race toward us as it swung wide, and the joy on their faces while smothering us with hugs. That bonded us in a way that no other trip has.

It’s not necessary to travel far to create wonderful family memories. Many times, it’s not the location but the activities or unexpected events that become the stories we retell when together. These moments of shared experiences are what connect us. You may even recall just such an event in your life. Children will vividly remember the laughter and silly behavior when Mom and Dad joined in; the time Dad attempted a backflip and flopped, and the crazy singing in the car. Those memories are golden, but even when things don’t go exactly as planned, the disaster will be animatedly retold at Thanksgiving dinner years later. One such event was the time my family went camping. Talk about disaster! The rain came, the river rose, and all our gear began to slide down the embankment into the river! Such a crazy time but also so memorable. Time and effort are what it takes to have your own family stories to retell. Whether it’s an extravagant trip to another country or camping an hour away, what happens while on vacation is sure to become a touchstone that family members will revisit again.

 The world's largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas is nearly the length of four football fields.

Our expert, Sherill Stitz of Dream Vacations’ advice for traveling with children is to go on a cruise or to an all-inclusive resort. The cruises and resorts are beginning to operate and reopen but for every kind of travel, it’s helpful to use a travel agent. An agent will keep up to date with the changing landscape of traveling in the environment of COVID-19. Sherill says, “I can keep you informed on the latest openings and regulations. People have the perception that we are more expensive, but most agents don’t charge fees, and we may be able to get it at a better price. Book through me and you’ll have a personal concierge. I’ll take care of all the details, and all you do is pack your bags. People who use me, love my services, and I have lots of repeat business.” Having a concierge while traveling is a game changer in providing peace of mind that if anything changes or you need assistance, Sherill is there to handle the situation. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by booking a trip right now.