Minimized Missed Days
One of the biggest challenges as a traveling family is finding the best time to take trips. Sure it can be easy to take trips when the kids are out school during the Summer, Winter, or Spring breaks, but traveling during those peak times can be chaotic and expensive. (Not to mention much less award availability.)
Have you ever been to Disney World or Paris in the summer? It is hot, lines are long and both you and the kids are going to tire quickly. The combination of heat and large crowds turns what should be an amazing trip into something that is far from that.
For those reasons and more, I often choose to travel when kids are in school. When children are smaller it is possible to take them out of school for a week or two weeks during the school year. Of course this is something that needs to be cleared with the school, but most schools feel that the education provided through travel is worth it.
Then as kids grow older, it is much more difficult to pull them from school. My son is going into the 10th grade for example and missing a week of school would no doubt be disastrous. With that said, there is another option that sort of gives us the best of both worlds.
Look for Local Holidays/Staff Development Days
One of the best things you can do is look at your local school district’s calendar and find local holiday and/or staff development days that create three/four/five day weekends for your kids. In those cases you can still enjoy a great trip, but may only have to take your kids out of school for one or two days.
Lets look at an example here in Las Vegas. In addition to being Halloween, October 31 is also Nevada Day. This holiday is generally celebrated on the closest Friday or Monday to the 31st. (The 30th this year.) Additionally, the local school district schedules 2 staff development days for the same weekend. This results in a stretch of five days with no school.
This year, for example, that means no school from October 30 – November 3rd. That is a nice stretch of time and one where most kids around the country are going to be in school! If we want to take a week long vacation, this is how it looks:
- October 29th: Miss School
- October 30th: No School Holiday
- October 31st: Saturday
- November 1st: Sunday
- November 2nd: No School Staff Development Day
- November 3rd: No School Staff Development Day
- November 4th: Miss School
- November 5th: Return to School
So as you can see, in this scenario we get a full 7 day vacation while only having to take our children out of school two days. Also, generally workloads are lighter right before and after a holiday weekend, so by missing those two days, chances are they aren’t going to miss much. Of course, you can ask the teacher to give your kid make-up work as well.
Taking Kids Out of School Controversial?
Some people try to make this subject controversial and it simply isn’t. Everyone knows their kids and knows whether it is good or not to take them out of school. I for one believe that taking a child out of school to travel is a great gift. We have done nearly a dozen trips over the years during the school year and it has never had an adverse effect.
There is definitely a middle ground between pulling your kids out of school for weeks at a time and not ever having them miss school to travel. I’m still finalizing the plans, however we are most likely going to enjoy a week long vacation on the exact dates mentioned, since awards should be easily available, the weather should be nice (in certain places) and we deserve it gosh darn it!