Cover story continued ... The biggest appeal of cities is simply that there are an infinite number of activity options. From restaurants and farmers markets to parks and concerts, you can fill every moment of your vacation with something exciting. On the other hand, when you want a relaxing afternoon with nothing on the calendar, aimlessly walking the streets is a joy in its own right. A n O utdoor E scape On the opposite end of the spectrum, a nature-focused getaway can be just as thrilling. Whether you have a family full of thrill-seekers or bird-watchers, there’s nothing like spending time in the great outdoors. Ask anybody for their bucket-list sights, and you’ll likely hear about the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone National Park. Why wait to knock these breathtaking, one-of-a-kind destinations off your list? You may have been hesitant to bring a little one on a trip into the wild, but there’s no excuse once your kids hit their teens.
As with city travel, you can craft the perfect outdoor vacation for your family. Some people may prefer settling down in a comfy cabin, cooking dinner every evening. Others might want to rent an RV and visit as many parks as they can. You can also calibrate the adrenaline level to fit your family members, and whether that entails peaceful walks or whitewater rapids is entirely up to you. Another draw for teens is the fact that everyone in their class has posted a selfie at a beach on Instagram, but hardly any will have one in front a geyser! A M ultiple -S top M ini T our Vacations over multiple destinations may require a little more planning than a few clicks on a travel website, but they’re definitely worth the effort. Rather than planning your vacation based on a place, you can opt to organize them by theme. As long as you’re willing to be flexible and put in the legwork, you’re only limited by your imagination.
Maybe you want to explore sports halls of fame from Canton to Springfield by way of Cooperstown. Perhaps you want to visit wineries up and down the California coast — provided, of course, that your children are of legal drinking age. Whatever your family’s shared passions are, there’s a way to build a trip around them. Vacations like these also leave plenty of room for discovery, which is one of the reasons why you travel in the first place. When you see something cool between planned stops, there’s nothing stopping you from checking it out. C urate Y our V acation Too many families decide on a vacation based on well-worn options. Resorts and theme parks have their place, but as your children age, you have the perfect opportunity to create something more memorable. Don’t waste it!
DO YOU NEED A MEDIA DETOX? The Dangers of Overstimulation
CNN in an interview about her selective social media use. If you’re not mindful of your media consumption and participation, it tends to pile up. When you detox, it’s a lot easier to identify which parts of your media diet are essential and which are only a burden. Another benefit of a media detox is that you’ll have more time to pursue new and dormant hobbies. Because most of us consume media in small chunks throughout the day, it’s easy to overlook how much that time adds up. All those hours you spend on Facebook could be used to start a garden, knit a quilt, or join a soccer league. Unless you have an unlimited supply of leisure time (and who does?), you need to be selective in the way you spend it. Remember, media isn’t the cause of all your ills. Used mindfully, it can actually increase happiness and satisfaction. The problem is that we are so mired in the media muck that we can’t get a perspective on how much is too much. A detox will allow you to reassess the media you’re consuming and build a better plan for the future. You can still keep up with your grandkids on Facebook, but it shouldn’t be the only way you interact with the world.
With the current trend of getting TV, social media, and news alerts sent to our phones, we have access to more media than we could ever consume. While constant connectivity is a boon for many aspects of our lives, researchers are discovering that too much stimulation is cause for concern. One study in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology found that too much social comparison, spurred by the likes of Facebook and cable news, can lead to an increased risk of depression. If you find yourself pressured to live up to the public lives of friends and family, or if you feel like you’re being bombarded with too much news and entertainment, consider a media detox. A detox doesn’t require you to unsubscribe from social media services or unplug your TV forever. Instead, think of it as a vacation from the overstimulation so many of us experience. Ask yourself which aspects of your media diet are causing more stress than they’re worth, and take a break from them for a little while. “In the same way we think about what we eat, we should think about what we read, what we’re seeing, what we’re engaging in, and what we’re interacting with every day,” Emma Watson told
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