As mentioned in my last post, the Battle Family are on their holidays, exploring parts of northern Portugal. So, next up in my Best and Worst Holidays series here on the blog I have the pleasure of welcoming Rachael from the Pingel Sisters blog. She is sharing with us a few lessons she learned as a result of one of her worst holidays.
Best and Worst Holidays ft. Pingel Sisters – Two Lessons I Learned from a Terrible Visit to New York City
Several years ago, I found myself in New Jersey visiting my husband’s grandfather. He and his wife lived in a nursing home, which didn’t provide much excitement for a young couple. So we jumped at the opportunity to leave our 1-year-old with my in-laws to play at the nursing home during the day while my husband, two of his siblings and I drove over to New York City for a day, returning home in the evening.
I’ll always remember our trip to New York City as my worst holiday ever. Not because it was particularly disastrous. Actually, the trip was more meh than anything. However, the two main lessons I learned on that trip have stuck with me and changed the way I’ve planned all my vacations since.
Lesson 1: Slow Down and Do Something Memorable
Let me preface. This was my third visit to New York City, but my husband and his siblings had never been. Feeling like the experienced traveller, I planned out a route to see all the awesome sights of the city. We walked to Times Square, Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller Center, the Empire State Building, and on and on.
We walked and walked and did nothing! We didn’t go to the top of the Empire State Building. We didn’t take a tour of Rockefeller Center. All we did was walk from one place to another snapping photos.
If I could go back, I would rent bicycles and bike around Central Park. I learned the hard way that when you try to see it all, you generally end up doing nothing. Ever since, I have slowed down my trips to make memories more than just see sights.
Lesson 2: Splurge When Necessary
We didn’t spend the entire trip sightseeing. At the time, I had somewhat of a grasp of the importance of experiences. However, I committed a mistake I’ve regretted ever since.
We had decided to see a Broadway play while we were in the city. When choosing which show to watch, I had several amazing choices. At the time, I could choose Wicked, Phantom of the Opera, Lion King, Newsies or Mary Poppins. I looked at the list and choose Mary Poppins simply because it was the cheapest option available, not because we really wanted to see it.
My husband’s siblings, on the other hand, choose to see the highly-praised Newsies, which only cost a little bit more. Needless to say, my husband and I ended up hating Mary Poppins. Instead of feeling like we had saved money, we felt like we had wasted our time and money.
Ever since then, I’ve made sure to weigh how much the extra money will add to an experience. If $20 more will get me a direct flight over a long layover, it’s worth it. If I have the chance to see Hamilton on Broadway, I should take it (if I can afford it). Being willing to splurge on the experiences that matter most to you and skimp on those that don’t will definitely make or break a trip.
Don’t repeat my mistakes. Slow down and look for experiences. Be willing to pay a bit more to get the experience you truly want. I’m glad I learned these two lessons early in our marriage. I credit learning form my mistakes for my streak of successful vacations since.
Thanks to Rachael for sharing her valuable lessons learned with us. I have to agree completely with her. We’ve found that we have had to slow down when travelling with BattleKid and it means we see and experience so much more. And we always try to get a good deal, but also achieving what we want from travelling, be it a short layover or parking as close to the airport as possible.
Rachael is a stay-at-home mom of four children in Utah. She recently started the blog Pingel Sisters with her sister Jaclyn. They share advice for both stay-at-home and working moms on life, work, travel and books. You can also find them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
And if you would like to feature in my Best and Worst Holidays series on the blog, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.