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(TNS)—Whether you take advantage of last-minute travel deals or organize a shared experience, make a family trip a top priority. Here are five reasons to plan now.

  1. Time is of the essence

Sure, things are heating up at the office. Deadlines loom. Projects are underway. And of course, the family budget may be stressing the seams. But what could be more important than time away with the ones you love? Your plans need not be elaborate. Consider nearby festivals, camping, house trading, hiking or biking trips.

  1. Things change

Kids grow up. Cousins move away. Grandparents age. Before you know it, that family reunion that sounds like fun, the lake you long to fish, or the resort that has captured your attention will have somehow altered and will no longer be possible or appealing. Make plans now to capture the memories unique to this era in your family’s evolution.

  1. There is always something to learn

Do your kids yearn to learn to surf or sail? To know more about space? Or science? Do they love art? Or are they eager to fly-fish? Perhaps they want to know more about their own family history and the places that forged the bonds of your clan.

Whether you opt for magnificent museums or nature’s classroom, give them the gift of knowledge by taking advantage of their current curiosity. Who knows where it will lead?

  1. Create a “first” memory

Many adults can readily recall a “first” they experienced while on vacation with their own families: a first glimpse of the Grand Canyon, the towering skyline of New York City, the White House, the pounding surf of the Pacific or a majestic fourteener. Often, that moment will be recalled as life changing.

Consider sharing such a moment with your own children. Talk about it. See what renders a sparkle in their eyes. Then make it happen.

  1. Share an experience

Shared experiences make for powerful memories. Consider changing someone else’s life through a volunteer vacation. Take on a challenge together like running or walking in a 10K in a neighboring town. Horseback into the backcountry. Plan to raft a river or paddle a canoe through a wilderness area. Travel the Oregon Trail or explore Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail and spend time talking about what it means.

©2016 The Dallas Morning News
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