Making vacation fun

Published 11:10 am Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Editorial by Chris Kovatch

With summer in full swing, many families have already hit the vacation circuit and many more have trips rapidly approaching. In recent years, our family has generally made the voyage to DisneyWorld. While we enjoy it immensely, last year we made the decision to forego our faithful Disney trek and instead plan out a traditional family road trip. I was the most outspoken critic of this plan. Countless hours on the road with five kids seemed like a really bad idea. You know what? I was wrong. (I am sure my wife will note my admission down on her calendar. It’s one of the few times I have made this statement.)

So in the theme of summer travels, I have put together a list of a few must haves that made our trip so enjoyable.


I wrestle with this one this the most. In the end, it serves its purpose. IPads kept fights from breaking out on the longer stretches of our trips. They also allowed my kids to document the trip from their perspective. We also utilized an app that utilized GPS and acted as a tour guide through Yellowstone. The fun facts and historical information it provided made us appreciated the park even more. My final determination is to ensure there is balance. I wanted my kids to see the country and appreciate landmarks like Mount Rushmore and that’s kind of hard to do with a phone in your hand.


Just like with any other aspect of our lives, budgeting is key on a trip too. Christi did a great job planning our stops and searching for the best hotel deals and sightseeing options. The Expedition was loaded down with plenty of snacks and drinks to ensure every gas station stop didn’t break the bank. The kids also had a set amount to spend on souvenirs. They had to think about their purchases and ensure whatever they were looking at was what they really wanted because once the money was gone it wouldn’t be replenished by me.


We did a number of activities like panning for gold, hiking, and visiting museums that weren’t what I would classify as fun. My preconceived notions could have been further from the truth. Many of the activities were quite fun and ones we had to drag the kids away from.


Most importantly I want my kids to think back on their childhood fondly and appreciate the experiences they have been exposed to. I want them to be in awe of our great Nation, appreciate art, learn from history, and question everything.

Will we return to DisneyWorld? Of course. Will we go on more road trips? Without a doubt. The Mouse is fun, but there is much to be said about the Great American Road trip.