Find your path to family travel: 1. Start small. Anything can be travel.

Family travel: Go big or stay home?

A lot of people don’t travel because they get caught up in the idea that travel has to be big. You know that saying “go big or go home?” It’s like people think that when it comes to travel, they can either go big or stay home. We disagree. We think you can find your path to family travel too, in the way that works for you.

Travel can be big. And it’s big travel that can get our attention: People who get rid of everything, travel the world, bike from pole to pole, you name it.

But the biggest change you can make that can help make your family travel dreams come true?

Start small.

Anything can be travel.

Sure, travel can be a huge trip or some round-the-world adventure. Travel can also be a day trip or an afternoon jaunt.

Seriously, anything counts.


Here’s the secret: Travel isn’t about where you go or for how long. Travel is about how you make yourself open to a new experience in a place familiar or unknown.

Here are a few ways you can start building in travel as a more regular part of your life:

Take a morning, afternoon, or evening jaunt.

With small kids, this can be as simple as going to a park in a different part of town that you haven’t visited before. Does a nearby town have a cute city center? An interesting museum? Or, heck, is it simply worth going because you haven’t been there before?

As part of a trip to the Southern Oregon Coast, we took time out of our drive for a very special jaunt. Parking the Subaru Outback and making sure we had our rain gear on—just in case—we made our way to a nearby stable. For the next hour, with the aid of an excellent guide, we all rode horses along the sea and the sea stack rocks just outside of Bandon, Oregon. It was a wee jaunt we’d been wanting to do for ages, as part of a birthday gift Aster had requested. Even though it was a short trip, we realized a big goal and came away with memories and smiles that will always be part of us.

Take a day trip to a place you keep meaning to visit.

We all pass through places that captivate us. For whatever reason, whether understand the reason or it, we want to head to a place and spend time there, simply because we haven’t before.

There’s a good chance there’s somewhere in day trip range that you keep meaning to visit but haven’t yet gotten to. Make the time to build in that day trip. Go up for as much of the day as makes sense for you, and see what there is to see. Depending on your travel style, you might want to figure out some options or have an itinerary, or you can also feel free to wing it and see what happens. This can be a great way to get started on your path to family travel.

During the holiday season in December, we took an afternoon to head to a place we’ve been to before, but don’t visit enough. Eugene’s Mt. Pisgah Arboretum is packed with forests, hills, a river, wetlands, and walking and hiking trails. Getting out into an incense cedar forest for the afternoon rejuvenated our everyday souls and our holiday spirits, and it felt so good to move and explore together as a family.

Build up to an overnighter or a weekend getaway.

Sometimes travel is as simple as getting away for a night. Even 24 hours Somewhere Else can be rejuvenating and can replenish your sense of wonder.

The town of Silverton, Oregon, is less than two hours drive from Eugene, yet we’d never been there. During the holiday season, the Oregon Garden Resort there puts an an amazing outdoor walkthrough holiday lights wonderland. We booked a room at the resort, spent the evening roaming the lights, and the next capped off our trip walking behind a waterfall at nearby Silver Falls State Park. We were away for right about twenty-four hours, and it was just what we needed to come home excited, refreshed, and full of wonder at what we had learned and experienced.

Start on the right path to family travel for you

Travel truly can be anything, anywhere, for any duration. The most important thing is now big you go, but how involved your family is in the experience, and in being together. Plus, when you start small, you can build on those early trips, and then go as big—or as small—as works for you and your family.

About the author
Learners and Makers
We are the St. Clair Family: Anthony, Jodie, Connor, and Aster. As Learners and Makers, our family of four slows down, connects, and enjoys the world and each other's company. We have been traveling full time since 2022.