I am a big fan of traveling and vacations. Yes, even with kids in tow, I am known to get up and go to places both near and far. But this year I’m stuck. I want it all: a long vacation in a foreign country, a few short trips that can be reached via car, maybe a night or two in a local hotel to act like a tourist, a spa vacation that is all inclusive, including childcare and activities for the little ones. But planning has gone nowhere. I am indecisive and a bit unmotivated. I decided to ask Rebecca Darling from RWeThereYetMom.com to give me some advice to help spur me along. Hopefully this will help you as well if you are still unsure about your family’s summer vacation plans.
LM: Tell us about RWeThereYetMom.com. How did the website come about?
Rebecca: R We There Yet Mom is a family fun blog that features activities & events in Central Texas and beyond. I love to make amazing memories with my family – whether it is geocaching at the local park or taking a road trip to Galveston, there are so many opportunities to spend time with your family in Texas. I have a passion for travel and showing my children new experiences and would spend hours hunting them down on the internet. It was when all my friends would ask me for staycation & vacation advice, that I realized it would be a good to share our ideas with everyone.
LM: How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
Rebecca: I have a 12 year old daughter, a 10 year old son, and a 4 year old son. I love the fact that we have 2 age groups, as we tend to go to more places that pleases everyone. What we have found is that my older two have tons of fun at the museums and exhibits that are geared toward the younger one too!
LM: I have been toying with the idea of going on vacation at a resort. Can you recommend any family-friendly resorts that both kids and adults love?
Rebecca: We love resort vacations. Because we tend to be on the go, seeing as much as we can during most of our trips, we really LOVE to slow down and stay a few days at one location. Many family-friendly resorts are packed full of fun family activities like arts & crafts, scavenger hunts, and outdoor movies. Two of our favorite here in Central Texas are the Hyatt Regency Lost Pines Resort and the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country.
LM: Let’s talk all inclusive…. do you do it? Is it worth it?
Rebecca: If given the opportunity, yes, we do all-inclusive. I appreciate paying for everything all at once and not having to worry about what each activity or meal costs. Tat said, we take advantage of all the properties have to offer, so we really feel we get our monies worth.
LM: Vacations can add up, especially for families. Do you have any cost saving techniques that you can share?
Rebecca: We have a special fund that we use for our vacations. Any bonuses, monetary gifts, additional income, or surprises (hey, it happens!) goes into this account. If we have a trip we are saving for in particular, we tighten the budget, so we can put money aside each month to make it happen. I have several other great ideas on saving for your next vacation here.
LM: What have been some of your favorite Texas trips?
Rebecca: Gosh, where do I start? There are so many amazing places our great state has to offer to see & do! You can head either north or south. If you plan on visiting the Dallas/Fort Worth area, make sure you see the new Perot Museum of Nature & Science, take a guided tour of Cowboys Stadium, and spend time in Grapevine at the Great Wolf Lodge or Gaylord Texan. We recently spent time in Fort Worth and really enjoyed their museums and the Stockyard. San Antonio is another one of my favorite cities to visit. Besides SeaWorld, there is tons of culture & history with the Alamo, Institute of Texan Cultures, Tower of Americas, and a boat cruise down the Riverwalk. San Antonio also has some great museums and amazing food!
LM: Can you recommend two places in the Austin area for a staycation?
Rebecca:Two great places my kids love to explore here in Austin and ask to go to every summer are the Cathedral of Junk in South Austin – a 3 story work of art made of junk that you can explore – and a day at Zilker Park. We start the morning at either the Zilker Botanical Gardens or the Austin Nature & Science Center, have a big picnic under the trees by Barton Springs Pool, either kayak Town Lake or swim the springs, and finish the day with a ride on the Zilker Zephyr.
LM: Do you have any tips for traveling with kiddos?
Rebecca: My biggest tip to traveling with kids is to DO IT! So many people hesitate to travel with children for various reasons, but there are many more reasons why you should. Show your children the world, open their eyes to new cultures, and help them develop and explore new interests with traveling. my son became fascinated with dinosaurs after her saw “Sue” at the Field Museum in Chicago. Our family learned more about dinosaurs that year after our trip! Travel and getting out of your comfort zone is the best way for families to bond. When you get away from all the commitments life throws at you, you only have each other! Children learn to be adaptable with travel, as we all know, traveling is never smooth.
LM: What are some of your favorite things to do in the Austin area when you are not traveling around?
Rebecca: We like to take advantage of all the amazing things we can do outdoors. We love all the natural springs there are to swim in (Krause Springs, Hamilton Pool, Barton Springs), fun places to hike (The Greenbelt, McKinney Roughs, Enchanted Rock) and awesome places to play. We have some of the best parks in the state (Zilker Park, All Abilities Park in Round Rock, Creative Playscape in Georgetown). And some of the best restaurants have fantastic patios to sit on. And one of our most recent favorite things to do is finding fun Austin Murals. We even created a fun scavenger hunt out of 10 of them.
LM: What is your dream vacation?
Rebecca: My dream vacation would be a month in Europe with a EuroRail pass. No agenda, unlimited funds, and memories to be made. Hopefully one day!
LM: Any big plans for the summer?
Rebecca: We are actually embarking on a 3-week road trip across the Great Southwest this summer. We want to see the beauty of some of America’s greatest National Parks and find the kitschy roadside attractions. With stops at Carlsbad Caverns, the Grand Canyon, Disneyland, San Diego, Death Valley, Bryce Canyon, Durango, and more, we have a pretty full agenda and wish we had more than 3 weeks to see it all! You can follow all our fun on the blog starting in-