Things I Love Thursday: my annual winter virtual vacation

In February or March every year, I found myself having to tackle the "task" of doing some family travel planning for the summer.  More often than not, this should have been started earlier, but mommy is somewhat of a procrastinator likes to take her time and do some research before committing to such things.  For the past few years, the number one item on the list has been the CYFAR conference that I attend for my Extension work. This takes place in May and God willing, my husband travels with me and we make a little hallelujah no kids for a week getaway out of it.  We love our children, but we also savor our time alone together as it is almost nonexistent.  At any rate, planning for the conference always involves booking flights, a hotel, and scouting out fun things to do while we're there.  This is where my love for Google Earth and Google Maps come in.  I could lost in my computer for hours "walking" down the streets of downtown San Antonio, or across the Golden Gate bridge.  The technology transports you to that foreign but gorgeous location that you just can't wait to get to!  I know that I seem like a nerd (because, well... I am!) and that these gadgets have been around for a while and aren't anything new.  But I can't help but to still allow them to transport me on a virtual vaca when I need it the most.... like now.... when there's 2 ft of snow taunting me outside my window.

Well, the summer trip planning has begun and it's starting with San Francisco.  This is the location for CYFAR 2010 and I couldn't be more excited!  I have never been to California (my husband has and no, I am not bitter).  After the conference will come a family trip that our entire family is going to try to survive taking with my parents, sister and her family to Marblehead along the Lake Erie shoreline in June.  I have been a browsing, searching, and virtually walking fool over the past few weeks trying to scout out places to stay and things to do on the Lake.  Our family's wallet is pretty thin this year, so I'm trying to be creative in planning the trip (hence the multi-family vacation to the beach by the lake versus by the ocean).  Our daughter is old enough to understand that we're going on a trip, but she could care less where the location is as long as there is a beach involved somehow, somewhere.  So, when I first sat down to virtually check out the Marblehead area, I invited her to "walk" around with me.  She was amazed... and so I think I'm going to include her in this little tradition of mine from now on.  Why not?  She obviously just as much of a nerd as her mommy is. ;)

Ways to Have Your Own Virtual Family Vacation:
 -  Pull up Google Earth and let your kids pick a location (it can be anywhere in the world).
 -  Notice landmarks in the area and "walk" around the areas they are located.  This is a cool way to virtually visit Washington D.C.
 -  Do a Google search for resorts that offer live-action video shots of their surroundings.  These can sometimes include anything from a view of the beach or ocean to a view of a mountain range.
 -  Visit the Travel Channel's homepage for an interactive world map tour.  The Caribbean looks especially tempting today... but my favorite spot on this map is Europe/Greece.
 -  Don't forget to use this fun family activity as an opportunity to teach your children about other cultures. The National Geographic Kids website has some great games and pages for viewing on your computer and printing out.

Happy virtual travels everyone!          

For more Things I Love Thursday posts, visit thediaperdiaries.net


  1. That sounds so fun! My boys love maps!

  2. You are blessed that you can take real vacations. For now, I'll just enjoy the virtual kind--thanks for the tips!

  3. The virtual vacation sounds like fun! Doubtful my 3 yo would sit still that long, but I will keep this in mind for when he gets older:)


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