Vacations have always been important for creating lasting memories and building family bonds but they may be even more important today. The family vacation is one of the few opportunities where everyone in the family is doing the same thing, at the same time, without the pull of outside commitments.
These tender moments are accompanied by another ritual: alternately entertaining and containing small children in what feels like a circus on wheels. While every road trip offers the promise of adventure (and the trauma of gas-station bathrooms), there are 12 stages we always must pass through before we truly earn the right to unwind.
Ideally a family vacation means getting away, having fun and spending time with loved ones. If your family is far from those seen grinning in glossy travel brochures and more akin to gracing the cover of "Dysfunctional Weekly" then a family vacation can add yet another layer of crazy to the normal daily drama.
A week ago, my husband, my three boys, and I loaded all of our earthly belongings (well, it felt like it) into a rental RV and headed out for a 9-day cross-country road trip to see national parks and monuments. Almost every night we camped in a new spot, and every day we went sight-seeing. On the eighth and ninth days we drove home. As fast as we could.