Is It Really a Holiday?

Lonely Planet recently posted a statement for discussion: “Traveling to visit your family is not a holiday.”

This statement made me think about trips I’ve taken to visit my relatives, and trips my relatives have taken to visit me. Maybe my family is a little different, but we usually enjoy our so-called holidays when they involve visiting each other. There are, of course, exceptions.

Rocky Mountain National Park

There’s also the possibility that we consider these trips holidays because of the locations. I grew up in northern New Jersey, so my parents are near enough to New York for day trips (and near enough to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., for weekend trips). This made vacations home seem a little more exciting than simply visiting family in a quiet suburb.

tamalpais state park
Solitude at Mt. Tamalpais State Park, CA

My parents always enjoyed taking three- and four-day weekends in Colorado when I lived in Boulder. I enjoyed their visits because I got to go out to eat (I was a poor grad student then) and drive around the mountain towns — we usually drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park and out to Denver. And, of course, it felt more like a vacation when my parents visited me in China (though never in my city of Shenzhen).

When I was much younger, my parents took my brother and me on vacations that included stops to visit family. There were a few visits to my grandparents in Florida that included stops at Disney World and Cape Canaveral. There was even a road trip to Detroit to visit my mom’s relatives.

Laguna Beach
Laguna Beach, CA, near where my grandparents lived

When my other grandparents and a few relatives moved out to southern California, it gave us an excuse to travel. Sure, we spent time with the family, but we also visited San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco (and a few stops along the coast).

Visiting family can be a holiday, but it requires a little effort to get out of the house of whoever you’re visiting. (It also helps if the family members you’re visiting live near destinations of interest.)

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