A woman pulled over on the side of the road, looking at the mountains

Making Memorable Memories


Summer, oh summer! Summer is when the days get longer, the water gets warmer and the sunshine gets brighter. The favorite time of the year for my family and me is summer. We are definitely looking forward to warmer temperatures and our first summer in this new state, so I started planning. Here we go:

  • Leave requested and approved. The first and most important thing on the list is getting leave approved. This will help in booking dates for tickets, hotels, etc. This will alleviate the last-minute chaos of trying to get off from work and paying higher prices for everything because you end up paying so close to the date or even missing out because everywhere is fully booked. Now the nice hotel you saw with the jetted tub is now a motel you found 3 miles out and looks nothing like the picture you saw online. We don’t want that happening so have this done early.
  • Budget. For me, vacation doesn’t always mean luxurious, expensive and far away. It means spending time with my family and getting away from the everyday lifestyle and exploring new adventures. Budgeting for me starts with determining the destination. When I know where we’ll be going and what we want to do, I can determine the amount of money I need to allocate for expenses. We set aside money in a vacation envelope every month so we can put it towards our next trip.
  • Where will you go? We will be exploring the state we’re in because it’s new to us, so that saves us some money. That’s also an option you can consider! After determining where we will be going, I search for places that offer military discounts. Who doesn’t like discounts? I’m sure we all do. I also search for all the activities, restaurants and attractions that we may be interested in.
  • Itinerary. Why do I need an itinerary? Trust me when I say it helps. I write all the important information for the place we will be staying along with phone numbers. Then I try to plan each day’s activities from the list of places we want to go. Of course, each day may not go according to plan as you may end up changing when you get there and that’s okay, too. But having an itinerary helps me to remember everything. Call ahead of time and make reservations for attractions and restaurants, if possible, it saves time. You can also buy tickets ahead of time online to beat long lines.
  • Packing. Packing is another one of those things that needs to be done ahead of time. Things I generally  include are personal items for everyone, cleaning products, sanitizer, foods, snacks, water, cooler and a first-aid kit.
  • We’re ready! We will be driving so we’ll be jamming to some good music and snacking. And it wouldn’t be a road trip if we don’t stop to take pictures or visit attractions we find interesting along the way. MilLife can be very tedious at times, especially with my husband having to be away for weeks to months at a time. So, when we do get to spend time together and plan trips, especially summer vacation, we make it a big deal and enjoy it to the max.

I would say to you, make this summer memorable! Plan a trip or two and make memories with your spouse, children and other family members. Remember summer only comes once a year!

Joydie Rattry-Ellis is teacher of English and Literature. Alongside her Navy husband, her MilFam is learning about the military and navigating life after their first PCS. Her goal is to enjoy the military life journey, although challenging at times, and make memories along the way!

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