A vacation with the family offers endless possibilities. A family vacation lets parents open up new horizons for their children and teach them to understand the world around them better. Parents can get to know their kids and get away from the ordinary rut. As a mom, I’m always looking for new ways to have fun. I like to plan a new family getaway at least every six months. For our last vacation, my husband and I spent lots of time together thinking about a destination. After lots of discussion, we settled on a trip to the beautiful Carribean Islands. The Caribbean islands appealed to us for so many reasons. From snorkeling to surfing to zoos and hiking through the jungle, there’s so much to do all day long.

Getting There and Around

Once we made the decision to head to the Caribbean, we decided we wanted to see at least three islands during our trip. My husband and I thought it would be good for our daughters to see islands with different cultural influences. I wanted to have at least one island that was part of the United States.

We figured that my girls would like to explore an island that has lots of European flair. Our choices included the United States Virgin Islands, Martinique and Barbados We decided the best way to see lots of islands in a single trip was spending part of our time taking a cruise. Cruises are a great way to travel if you want to get to lots of places in a limited timeframe. We picked the best Western Caribbean cruise we could find. A cruise meant having our own rooms as we traveled. It also meant being able to pick out an itinerary that included several destinations in a week. My girls and I shared a single cabin with a window view.

The best part about the cruise was the fact that my little girls were able to go to the club house and make some friends. We had a day where we were able to meet up with all of their newly-made friends and their parents. We actually made some friends as well. Another thing that my daughters enjoyed was the unlimited ice-cream they were able to eat. It was so nice not having to worry about food while we were traveling. I think I may have even gained some pounds.

One side note that we learned about booking cruises is to really make sure you do your research and plan it at the right time of year. Especially in the Caribbean Islands where there can be hurricanes and tropical storms, and that could have ruined our trip. We went at a perfect time where the weather was mild and perfect for the different activities we had planned.

Different Places to Visit

We started our vacation by flying directly to the United States Virgin Islands for a few days. The Virgin Islands are an incredible destination. We spent time in the quaint city of St. John. My husband helped our children explore the region’s fascinating plantation history. It was early June just after school ended so the weather was marvelous. After a stop there, we all boarded the cruise to head to our next destination. The cruise took us to Martinique. Martinique, as I told my daughters, is actually part of France. As one of the Windward Islands, it has long been a favored destination for traders from other parts of the world. This was a great way to explore French culture without the need to head to Europe. We toured the Château Dubuc. My girls are interested in botany so the Jardin de Balata was a must-see. Then it was on to our final destination. Barbados is an independent nation with a rich and varied culture. Our cruise ship made it easy to fully explore all the nooks and crannies of this fascinating place. We’ll never forget the sight of Harrison’s Cave, Hunte’s Gardens and Carlisle Bay.

Great Lessons

We all learned so much from our Caribbean vacation this year. One of the most important things we discovered is that it is important to make time for the family. Often times we get so caught up in the day to day routine that we forget about quality family time. We had such a great experience doing different activities on the cruise, from the shows to the club house activities, we were able to spend a lot of quality time with our kids. My girls were able to see a different side of my husband when he jumped into the belly flop competition.

Other than that, it we had great learning experiences on the islands we visited. I know that my daughters definitely enjoyed the history part of the islands. It was so cool to see them appreciate the beauty of the islands and the history. One of my daughters took a peculiar taste Château Dubuc. It is always important to have learning experiences on the trips as well that we otherwise may not have had.