It is always funny to me today to see families of three or four climb into their minivans or large SUVs and drive to a local activity. Growing up in a family of six, all of us climbed into our Plymouth Valiant, three in each row, to head out on the family vacation. Times have indeed changed!

Another change that has seemed to happen is that people fly to their Summer vacation destinations. In our hurried world, we don’t want to waste time driving; we just want to get there.

One of our family vacations I remember the most involved a lot of driving. We left home and drove to Montana, spending time soaking in the beauty and seeing the wonders of Glacier National Park. We camped at places along the way and experienced a group of seemingly friendly bears invade our campgrounds. We continued north into Canada, my first adventure to a foreign land! We spent time exploring Calgary and joking with our Mom, calling her “Mum.” We continued to Banff National Park and Lake Louise. Those images are still embedded in my mind as some of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

Over thirty years have passed since that family vacation, but it is truly one of the most memorable times of my childhood. We did not have a lot growing up, but I am very thankful to my parents for taking the time with us to drive somewhere for a family vacation, even if at times it was just to the state park.

I know there were fights along the way, probably some tense moments, yet it created such wonderful memories and strengthened our relationships. It allowed us to let our guards down, because no one else was around but our parents and my siblings. We didn’t need to worry about being cool because we went places where no one knew us. In this anonymity, maybe a little more of our true selves came through and our parents may have seemed more normal or approachable, too.

It was those Plymouth Valiant moments bound that us together as a family. The destination was a part of it, but the getting there is what built the family bonds.

Flying to your vacation spot is not the same. You are together as a family for two to three hours, maybe, and then you may be engulfed by other family members (if it is that type of vacation). The driving time equates to family time.

This summer, think about driving somewhere for your family vacation. It will give you invaluable time with your spouse and your sons and daughters. Your children will interact with you in ways they might not when they are home. It helps build that relationship and create those memories they will remember 20 years from now. It can even happen in today’s electronic, plugged in world, may just take a little more effort, or a little more driving…