Letting Go of Vacation Envy


“This season of life won’t last forever,” I tell myself, as I mindlessly scroll through hoards of family vacation photos on social media.

Families at the beach, families making the rounds to Disney World and Universal Studios, families cruising to various islands; Facebook is suddenly Travelbook and vacation envy is in full force. 

The first and last time my daughter saw the ocean, she had just turned 18-months-old. At the end of this month, she’ll be picking out a backpack and getting ready for her first day of kindergarten. She doesn’t realize what she’s missing, yet it’s still hard to convince myself that I’m not depriving my children of the epic vacations that summers are made of (thanks Dairy Queen). Undoubtedly, they’ll be in therapy when they’re adults, talking about how if only they’d gone to the beach more often in their youth.

Never mind cross-country trips being financially out of reach with two kids in daycare; there’s the additional stress of saving all of our vacation/PTO time for our kids’ sick days. I count the months left in the year on my fingers. The bouts of my son’s croup and ear infections have dwindled my days down to five. If I’m lucky, I’ll glide into December breaking even. The neighborhood pool and local splash pads will have to be enough this year.

“This season of life won’t last forever,” I tell myself, as I watch my daughter jump off the diving board all by herself at the pool. 

She radiates happiness. She doesn’t know what’s she missing. In fact, she’s constantly declaring it “the best day ever.” Our 18-month-old son screeches with wild abandonment as he catapults from the side of the pool into my arms, never the wiser that there’s more to summer than this.

If you find yourself in my shoes, suffering from vacation envy, remember that it doesn’t matter whether your child’s arms are wrapped around Mickey Mouse’s leg for a photo op or you’re holding hands strolling through your local park; you’re still making memories. A sticky ice cream cone tastes just as sweet and refreshing on your front porch as it does on the sandy gulf coast beaches. A summer vacation budget of $5,000 or $5 will go unnoticed by your kids as long as you’re spending time with them. So make the most of the summers that are left, whether they are at home or abroad.


  1. Well said! I also don’t think that kids that young remember anything so its just wasted money. Hell, my oldest if five and a half and he is just barely able to remember the time he went to grandma’s last summer and played in the pool in her retirement subdivision. I know all sorts of people who take their 1/3 or 2/4 year old kids to Disney and while I am sure that’s great for the first 15 minutes, the rest of the day everyone is tired and hot and they won’t remember it. You’re doing great!


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