Ask many a seasoned traveller about their favourite place in the world, and chances are they’ll say it’s the camp spot they visited every summer as a kid. There is something special about a destination that is familiar and a routine that is well-practiced. Having holiday traditions makes for some great family memories.
Here are 6 reasons why you should holiday in the same place.
1. Stress-free planning
For one, holidaying in the same place removes the stress of planning. You can worry less about finding suitable accommodation, about getting lost en route, or about locating a good grocery shop or café once you arrive. You know what you need (extra tea towels? BBQ utensils? Boogie boards? Jigsaw puzzles?), so packing is a breeze. With logistics aside, you can focus on getting into the holiday routine more quickly.
2. Catch up with family and friends
It is often extended family that pulls us back to the same places. Perhaps your holiday tradition is an annual pilgrimage to the grandparents’ for Christmas, or renting a beach house on a long weekend with the same family friends. I have fond memories of a property on the Colo River that my great uncle used to own. Every summer, we camped there with family friends, reminiscing about the year when the river flooded after big rain. Every December we had a huge family reunion there, and all drove upriver so we could float down on inflatable toys. Committing to an annual holiday together is a lovely way to catch up with family and old friends.
3. Soak up the destination
By your third visit to the same place, chances are you’ve already seen the major tourist attractions. Take away the pressure to sight-see, and you can spend time exploring the obscure, unexpected delights of the destination. When I was a teenager, Mum and I occasionally used to drive to Canberra for girls’ weekends. We both love the Art Gallery and Portrait Gallery so always popped in to scope out the new temporary exhibitions. Otherwise, we simply lingered over late breakfasts or long afternoon walks around Lake Burley-Griffin. Once we spent a couple of hours in a Manuka bookshop that was open late, and another time we caught wind of a Spanish Film Festival that was on out of town. With no agenda and nowhere to be, we could slow down, guilt-free.
Part of the charm of those weekends with Mum was the fact I got her all to myself. I’ve heard of a few families who make a point of day trips or weekends where kids get to spend time with a parent minus their siblings. It is a worthwhile tradition and one that doesn’t take much to feel special. Read about Julie Jones’ mother-daughter trip to New York here.
5. Carrying on with traditions
As an adult, I still have holiday traditions with my family. They are a wonderful way of bringing us all together. To this day, my Dad, brothers and I go on our annual hike in the Snowy Mountains. It takes a bit more coordinating of calendars (and a bit more training!), but we love the time spent together.
6. Staycation traditions
You don’t have to travel to make holiday traditions. When I was in primary school, we had a tradition for the last day of the school holidays. My two brothers and I got to pick one activity each, and we jammed them all into the one day. At the end of one summer, we ate ice-cream for breakfast while playing board games in our pyjamas. We then jumped on a train to the Australian Museum, before an afternoon swim in our local public pool. It was simple, but we used to get so excited in anticipation. After all, making the memories is the best part.
Ideas for creating holiday traditions
You don’t have to leave home to have holiday traditions. You also don’t have to visit the same place for it to feel familiar. Here are some holiday traditions to bring along with you, wherever you travel as a family.
- Buy a memento of every place you visit as a family, be it a postcard, fridge magnet or bumper sticker for your trailer.
- Take the same family photo (in the same pose) in every destination or in the same spot every year.
- Keep a family travel journal of every major holiday, recording everyone’s highs and lows each day. You could do so in a scrapbook or even on video on a phone.
- Start some food traditions; perhaps a special treat you only eat on holiday. The trail mix my Mum used to make became something of an institution on our camping trips. Of course, there were lots of rules about how much chocolate you could take per handful. She also has a great microwave brownie recipe perfect for a caravan park kitchen.
- Listen to audiobooks or your favourite CDs on long car trips. At one stage my family were doing road trips about once a year. Every time, we’d listen to Tim Winton’s Blueback on tape and then CD. This was probably partly because it was one of the only options available from our local library. But also because we loved it, knew it by heart and it became part of the holiday furniture, so to speak!
- Bring your memories home with you on a photo wall. Spend time putting together an album. My family still has a map of Australia hanging up with pins and photos of places we’ve been together.
Have some holiday traditions of your own? Visit our Family Travel Facebook page to let us know what they are!
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