With two kids in expensive and time-consuming year-round activities, which conveniently have opposite competition seasons, there is little money nor time for vacations in our household. The one advantage of my kids’ activities is that they generally involve travel. As a family, we have learned to turn competitions into vacations.
I call it a competi-cation.
We head up a day early or stay a day or two later to see major attractions we enjoy, and visit local sites during whatever breaks they get. Granted, we do usually get a list of what “not to do” since this is a competition. An injury would let the team down and we don’t want that, but we have managed to find a way to enjoy ourselves within our limits.
Some cities we return to frequently and have favorite places we must visit each time we go. We love the Indianapolis Zoo and Children’s Museum. Each place is definitely an all-day event for my kids, so we usually hit one the day before the competition starts and the other the day after it ends, or we alternate visiting them each time we visit.
We have visited Imagination Station in Toledo every year between 2016 and 2019. Again, this still takes us all day, even though we have been there four times, so we generally head up the day before and spend the day there. Another favorite in Toledo is the zoo. We have been to the Lake Erie coast multiple times for both swim and dance, and love to hit the beach or visit the lighthouses. We have hiked through parks and visited forts and other historical sites. We know the best food, hotels, and breweries (my husband has an app that actually helps him find them). We have our “vacation spots.” We just travel to multiple places with a shorter stay at each one.
When competition is only in the morning or later in the afternoon, we like to find places that we can visit that only take an hour or two, but still allow us to get out to stretch our legs for a bit. In Toledo, we found Fort Meigs, which doubles as a history lesson with my homeschooled kids. We’ve also gone up to check out the lighthouses and Battle of the Fallen Timbers park. There are even life-sized versions of board games in the Fallen Timbers shopping area that can help us kill a few hours during our day.
While in Sandusky, we found a street fair for a few days of our stay. There is nothing better than music, shopping, and food truck tacos between dancing sessions. We love investigating something new along the White River State Park in Indianapolis every time we visit. They offer paddle boats, bikes, segways and scooters to travel around. They have parks to hike and fun selfie opportunities. We have also had some fun playing in laser mazes and other games at the Circle Center Mall. There’s always a way to find something to do on the way to or from the competition if we can’t find anything in the actual city.
Would I prefer to spend a week in Hawaii or save up my money and visit Italy for a few weeks?
Sometimes, the answer to that is yes, and other times, I realize that there are always treasures in every place we go. It all depends on our outlook. I learned that if we look at every place we go as a new opportunity to explore a new area or maybe just a new place we haven’t been yet, we will be able to vacation wherever we happen to be, even in our own town. We have learned to not take for granted our competi-cations and family time, whether it ever be in Hawaii or at the park across from the natatorium.
I would love to hear what your family has done to make the best of a competition weekend and what treasures you have found in your travels. Drop a comment below so I can get some ideas for our future competi-cations.