Adventures on Purpose | Making your travel resolutions stick

Adventures On Purpose: Making Your Travel Resolutions Stick

By Bonnie Anderson
Part III of “Adventures on Purpose”
Part IPart II
December is almost over, and many of us are thinking about what  2018 is going to look like for our families.  I’m sure some of you have your entire year all planned out. Your husband is going to win the lottery, you’re going to get pregnant with baby #5 (yikes!), and your 3-year-old is going to potty train himself.


But, in case all of that doesn’t actually happen, its good to have a back up plan with some goals that you can control. I’m sure you already know that the new year is a great time to make goals and start fresh. If you haven’t thought of what your new year’s resolutions might be for your family let me give you a suggestion:

Travel more.

This may already be the number one new years resolution for you if you read the first two articles in this series.

This is a resolution that is totally in your control.

You are finally finding ways to get over those stumbling blocks that may be holding you back and now you are ready to make a goal and carry it out.

Here are 3 ways that you can make your new year’s resolution to travel be a success in your family this year.


1 | Hold A Family Council

A family that plans together, succeeds together. Sit down as a family and talk about what your family travel goals are. Where do you want to go? What have you always wanted to see? What is your budget? Get your kids invested. When my husband and I plan out all of our family travel, our kids are not invested. When the kids plan it, they are excited and willing to help make it a success. You may even have an angel child who will map out your entire vacation for you down to the rest stops you will stop at. There really is no better way to make you accountable than when you talk to your kids about a vacation idea. They will NOT forget and will ask you one million times when you’re leaving. Even though you may have to make a paper countdown chain that stretches across your entire kitchen, you will be glad that both you and the kids have something fun to look forward to together because you decided on it. Together.

2 | Display your goals where they can be seen

Whether it be a countdown chain, simply written out, or a picture of a destination stuck to the fridge, the travel goal needs to be posted for all to see. This will help keep your family focused throughout the year and serve as a reminder that you have something to look forward to as a family. Sometimes these little reminders help me get through the days where I have unloaded the dishwasher for the 3rd time and haven’t seen my husband for a solid 3 days. There is light at the end of the tunnel when the monotony of the everyday is starting to get to you.

3 | Decide Where to Go

If you haven’t been traveling much with your family in the past you may be wondering this question: Where should we go? This can be an overwhelming question. The world is so huge. Where do you start? Here are a few ideas to get the wheels turning so your family can pin point the perfect vacation.

1 | Visit family and friends

If you are like our family, you are constantly talking about going and visiting family and friends that live far away. Lucky for us, we have family that live in awesome destination places. Not only do we have a free place to stay when we get there, we also get to rekindle relationships with people we don’t see very often. It’s also fun because we get a feel for what “the locals do” and we don’t even have to ask around. Over Thanksgiving break we ran from the cold Illinois temperatures to the warm Arizona heat to see our family. They showed us some great hiking trails, took the kids shooting, and we tried out a few new restaurants. It wasn’t an extravagant vacation, but it made memories that my kids will never forget and I got to run outside every morning without freezing my butt off. I call that a win in my book.

2 | Start a tradition

Every February since we moved to Illinois we have driven 5 hours north as a family to the Wisconsin Dells. For those of you who have never been there, think “Las Vegas of indoor waterparks.”

It actually started when my husband’s co-workers from various parts of the Mid-west decided to have a “work meeting” close to the Wisconsin Dells. So, while they were having their meeting, all of the wives took the kids to the pool and then they joined us afterwards. This year we won’t have a work meeting up there, but my kids have insisted that we HAVE to go to the Wisconsin Dells in February. Apparently swimming while there are freezing temperatures outside is actually pretty cool to them. The bonus for us is that the “off season” prices can’t be beat, making it a very affordable vacation.

3 | Check something off your bucket list

Living in the Mid-west has opened up family vacation options that we never thought were possible for us. We are finally close enough to drive to every state. So, that has become the title of our bucket list. My son keeps track of every state we hit using the scratch off map that I recommended in this article. As we plan our vacations, we always research to see what we can see along the way. On our trip to Maine last summer we stopped along the way to see Niagara Falls and some sites that are important to our church’s history. Our bucket list gets smaller each year and we are constantly looking for ways to kill two birds with one stone.

4 | Scour the internet

If you are reading this, I’m sure you already have a “travel” board on your Pinterest page and you have pinned a million places that you want to go. Now it’s time to sit down and actually read those articles you have pinned. Check out the tried and true suggestions from expert travel bloggers, just make sure to narrow it down quickly so you don’t get overwhelmed. You will also want to check out the suggestions given in articles on Traveling with Monkeys as well as the destinations page that will serve this very purpose. Once it is up and running, you will be able to click on a state and see what family friendly destinations each has to offer.

5 | Ask around

Some of my most trusted sources for travel information has come from close friends and family. When a friend goes on an awesome vacation with their family they want to tell the whole world about it. Copying others vacation ideas gives you an inside scoop as to what that destination is really like. They will be honest with you and give you tips to help it be a success. This is especially helpful when you have a friend who has kids the same age. They will be sure to help you understand what you are really getting into.

6 | Explore where you live

If you are just starting out with this family vacation thing, start small and explore where you live. I grew up in Utah and one of my biggest travel regrets after moving to the Mid-west is that we didn’t see all 5 National Parks Utah has to offer while we lived there.  Now it is farther away and it will be more difficult for us to get there.

Check out the treasures that are right outside your backdoor. You don’t have to travel far to make memories and find some amazing national treasures.

Resolutions, goals, bucket lists…whatever you want to call them. Make traveling as a family fit in there somewhere this year. If you do this you will be having Adventures on purpose with your family and strengthening a bond that you might not have known was lacking. We make resolutions because there is always room for improvement in every aspect of our life. This is especially true with our family relations and vacations are a way to make it happen.

Bonnie Anderson

Bonnie Anderson

Domestic Budget Goddess, Core Contributor

Bonnie loves finding a great deal that can get her closer to the next exciting adventure with her husband and 5 kids. Her degree in Family and Consumer Sciences has helped her to claim the title of the “domestic budget goddess” by neighbors and friends throughout Central Illinois and Northern Utah.


  1. I think it’s great to have a bucket list to work from, but also being open to random destinations – like the $400 flight I got to Belgium for next week. It wasn’t on my list, per se, but I couldn’t pass it up! Of course, easy to do as I travel solo, no monkeys 🙂

  2. Looks like you’re going to make those vacation resolutions stick! It’s true that if you tell your kids they’ll never let you forget… writing that one down for when it’ll be my time 😉

  3. There’s nothing quite as exciting as planning a trip. My boyfriend and I planned our year of travel for five long years, but eventually it came around and now it’s nearly over. Time to make some new travel plans I think!

  4. Having a plan for the year ahead is good. We usually have a rough plan for the year, but generally, all our travel plans are random and out of the blue. But I do like the advice of sitting together as a family and planning together! And yes, checking off a point from the bucket list is a top priority as always.

  5. I know I’m going to refer back to your blog when I have kids and want to travel with them. I absolutely love your ideas, especially things like having a family council where you sit everyone down and discuss the travel goals of your family members. And I also love the idea of putting it down somewhere visually, as a reminder of what you’re working towards in that year. Super suggestions!

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