School Breaks: Year Round Travel Opportunities for Families

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Family VacationsFamily Vacations can be difficult to schedule once your kids are in school. During the early school years as a mother it was often quite hard for me to even consider taking my daughter out of school for vacations.  I wanted her little brain to conjure up the idea that school attendance was very important and there was a time and place for everything.  So I would take her school calendar and mark off all the “school breaks” on our family calendar, then plan our trips around those “school break” days.  It worked all through elementary school.  The “school break” method (as I like to call it), provided us at least one long weekend a month to getaway and three longer trips (Thanksgiving, Christmas Break and Spring Break) through the school year with 11-12 weeks for the summer.   Now let me tell you that is a lot of traveling when you break it all down and we loved every bit of it.

Well, fast forward to middle school.  As your children get older, you become less and less the main focus in their lives.  They begin to get involved in activities and develop somewhat of a “social” calendar of their own.  Go figure!  When that time period arrived in our family, we began to plan our travel not only around school breaks, but the activity calendar as well.  Given the traveling nature of many sports these days, our travel schedule was somewhat pre-determined by the activity calendar.  At times it became necessary to pull our daughter out of school to make a competition, but we were comfortable she had the proper foundation to understand the value and importance of attending school.  After all, she is an honor student. :-)

Now that we are in the middle of the high school years, as a family we want to make sure our children are well-rounded enough to handle life on their own surrounded by many cultures and people.  So to that end, we have mapped out our “school break” schedule coupled with the activity schedule for the 2011-12 school year to lay out our travel plans.  When can we go?  How far can we go? And when must we return?  So far, it doesn’t appear we will take our kids out of school for any vacations this year, but maybe an early release here and there.  Many families approach me about what school breaks to consider for their families to travel during the year.  So I decided to provide a School Break Travel Opportunity schedule below for your reference.  Here it is:

Family Vacations

Keep in mind, these are general dates and your school district may have different vacation periods.

  • September – perhaps school has been in session for a week or so already or you had to give up a few weeks of your summer vacation to return for sports practice in August.  Whatever your case, everyone has Labor Day weekend – a tribute to our workers.  Labor Day weekend to many signifies the end of summer.  A farewell to leisure days and we often give it a blast off to last the rest of the school year.  If you live in Texas, there are a host of events to partake in with your family.  So maybe consider a staycation for this weekend since perhaps you were gone all summer or head to the lake and enjoy your last weekend of “summer”.
  • October – Columbus Day weekend takes place the 2nd weekend of October.  Many families take this opportunity to getaway for a long weekend.  If you want to head to Florida, Universal Orlando has a promotion to suit your fancy perhaps.
  • November – Veteran’s  Day weekend which seems to also couple with Parent-Teacher conferences is a great weekend to head to our nations capital to teach our children 1st hand the history of Veteran’s Day.  Of course, November also has Thanksgiving Break as a travel opportunity.  These days many families are opting to gather at one central location to celebrate this holiday.   Punta Cana, DR may be an option for your family.  Many resorts include Thanksgiving feast as part of the package.
  • December – our beloved Winter Break is this month which includes Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year.  With anywhere from 1.5-3 weeks off, you can plan a long winter getaway on the slopes or if you desire the beach you can head to Mexico or even take a cruise.
  • January – Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday weekend for many is another weekend available to getaway.  Maybe a staycation this weekend is appropriate or short cruise to the Bahamas would suit you.
  • February – President’s Day weekend in our family is ski weekend or snow mobiling.  May we suggest Maine or Colorado depending on where you live and how far you want to travel. Family Vacations
  • March – March is Spring Break time for us, but if yours does not fall until April.  Don’t fret, you only have one more month to go so make the best of your January and February getaways.  With this week long hiatus, we like to expand 0ur skills in French and Spanish by traveling to Europe.
  • April marks Good Friday and Easter which you may consider spending with good friends and family or getaway to a nice resort for the weekend someplace in driving distance.
  • May marks what many of us consider the beginning of summer even though school may last the 1st few days of June.  Memorial Day is BBQ weekend at the lake without a doubt.
  • Summer Break last somewhere between 11-12 weeks and this is a time to maybe take a long road trip, head out for longer vacations, and relax at home sometime.  In June, we take a long trip either out of the country or a long road trip followed by July with the 4th in our own city and off for another vacation.  August is all about getting back into sports, one last weekend hoorah and preparing for school.

So how does your family incorporate travel into your lives?  Please share with us in the comment section below.

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