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Why you should make family travel plans right away

| Sunday, June 8, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Family vacation time is precious. Here are reasons to make travel plans with your family today.

Too busy? Sure, things are heating up at the office. Deadlines loom. Projects are under way. The boss is cranky. But what could be more important than time away with the ones you love most? Your plans need not be elaborate. Consider nearby festivals, camping, house trading, hiking or biking trips.

Things change. And the time is now. Kids grow up. Cousins move away. Grandparents age. Before you know it, that theme park that sounds like fun, the beach you want to stroll or the forest you plan to camp in will have somehow changed and will no longer be possible or appealing. Make plans now to capture the memories of this era in your family's evolution.

Something to learn. Do your kids yearn to learn to surf or sail? To know more about space? Or science? Or art? Perhaps they want to know more about their family history and the places that forged the bonds of your clan. Give them the gift of knowledge by taking advantage of that curiosity. Who knows where it will lead?

Something to see. Many adults can readily recall a “first” they experienced while on vacation with their families. Stories include a first glimpse of the Grand Canyon, New York City, the White House, the pounding surf of the Pacific or a majestic mountain. Often, that moment will be recalled as life-changing. Consider sharing such a moment with your children. Talk about it. See what renders a sparkle in their eyes. Then plan it.

Experience. Shared experiences make for powerful memories. Consider changing someone else's life through a volunteer vacation. Take on a challenge together, such as running or walking in a 10K in a neighboring town. Plan to raft a river or paddle a canoe through a wilderness area. Travel the Civil Rights Trail or Virginia's Heritage Music Trail and spend time talking about what it means.

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