It's no secret that I love family vacations. But not just the actual vacation itself. I love the researching, the planning, the anticipation, the unknown. I love reading other people's trip reports, seeing pictures, and looking at hotel reviews. I love dreaming about the endless possibilities of where future vacations may bring us--I have a long wish list.
I have many fond memories of going on family vacations as a kid. Which is why it's so important to me to continue finding a way for us to afford vacations after I quit my job to become a stay-at-home-mom. (And that topic probably deserves an entirely separate post someday).
My oldest son has caught on to the fact that we go on a vacation every year, and ever since we returned from our summer trip to Colorado he's been asking me where we are going on our next vacation. The truth is, our next vacation has been in the works for about 2 years now, but we've been waiting for the right time to tell our kids. We didn't want to tell them too early, because then we'd hear about it every day for 2 years. But we also don't want to surprise them the day before we leave, because then we'd miss out on some of the anticipation and research together. So we decided to spill the beans just before Christmas and they will have a few months to let it soak in.
This isn't the first time we surprised the kids. About a year ago, we gave the boys this postcard to let them know we were going to California. We gave it to them about 2 months before our trip.
They had heard about California from watching the Cars movie (of course?!). I printed out a map of the United States and we colored in California and looked at where it is in relation to Texas, Colorado and Florida (the only states the kids have been to). And over the next 2 months, the anticipation and excitement grew. We watched YouTube videos of Legoland and the Safari Park. My oldest son saved up his allowance and Christmas money to spend there. It gave us something fun to think about.
And my boys still talk about that vacation! We made a photo book with our pictures and we look at it every once in a while. But I'm serious when I say that my kids asked to go back to California almost every day for about the first six months after our trip.
But getting back to our next trip.....Because I've known about our next trip for so long, I decided to put a little more hoopla into the surprise part of it. Most of which will occur on our big reveal before Christmas. But also, I will be giving the kids a few clues about our trip in their advent calendar. Their first clue is this picture:
If you know what this is, or where it is, whatever you do, don't tell my kids! Joshua thinks it's a ride. Nathan thinks it's a watering hole.
So far, they've guessed:
Paris (I guess they dream big)