Hey, it’s summer! The kids are out of school, you haven’t been away for awhile, and your triathlete is driving you crazy. We all need to get away at times and just because your triathlete is training hard and heavy doesn’t mean you all still can’t take an in-season family getaway. It just takes some common sense and special planning.
A lot has been written about traveling to a triathlon with the family, including from us, but an in-season vacation is a bit of a different animal. Since we’ve done this a few times over the years, we thought we’d put down our thoughts and give you some tips for how to squeeze in an in-season family getaway.
Stick close to home
Since your triathlete will undoubtedly have to train, it’s just a bit easier if you can take a bike with you – heck take everyones’ – in a car and make it a road trip. You don’t want to waste precious time you could spend together at an airport. At least on a road trip, you are “forced” to be together, so it’s a great chance to catch up and have an actual conversation.
Look for places near water and that have activities you enjoy doing as a family. We love to go up to Weekapaug Inn in Rhode Island. We have both a lake and the ocean for all of us to enjoy and there’s tons of stuff to do in the area, including a seaport, aquarium, and a submarine base.
Make it short
There’s probably a lot of pressure on your triathlete to train, train, train for the next race and they probably won’t want to be gone for too long. There’s no need to stress them out even further. So, why not make it just a quick get away, like a weekend. They are more likely to say yes and hopefully relax a bit, plus packing should be a bit easier. Our motto is we’ll take whatever vacation we can get!
Plan activities you can all do together
This is a time for you to reconnect as a family, so make sure you schedule activities you can all do together. Your triathlete spends enough time away from you, so it’s imperative they be included. Depending on your choice of location, you will probably have many choices of things you can do to stay active (kayaking), have fun (amusement parks), or even learn something new (museums).
Communicate expectations ahead of time
Don’t wait until you’re on the trip to realize your triathlete is planning to do a 4 hour bike ride when you were planning to hit the natural history museum. Talk about this before you leave, so there won’t be any disappointments. Plan ahead when the training will take place, so you can provide for plenty of together time.
Vacation with another family
We love to plan a getaway with another family for many reasons. Sometimes it’s with fellow triathletes and sometimes just normal folk! We have someone to hang with if the training gets carried away; the kids have fun with friends and don’t always have to be with the adults; it can change the conversation away from triathlons; and our triathlete can get distracted from racing for just a little while.
We have friends who have a house in Maine that proves to be the ideal weekend getaway. It’s an easy drive, our friends love to bike, there’s tons to do in the area, and never a shortage of laughter.
Plan training around the age and schedule of the kids
If your kids like to sleep in late or go to bed early, have your triathlete get the training in while they’re sleeping, so you have the rest of the time to be together. Maybe you could even hire a babysitter, put the kids to bed, and enjoy a dinner, just the two of you, even though you may be the only one drinking…
At this stage of the training game, your triathlete may be VERY particular about what they’re having for meals, but they should still be able to find something suitable going out. It’s always nice to go to a restaurant when you’re on vacation and to get a break from cooking. So, this is always our first choice, especially if we’re doing a short escape.
That said, if you’re staying some place with a kitchen and cooking a meal makes for a nice family affair, go for it. Our triathletes love to throw a nice piece of salmon on the grill. Buy or fix your own sides, plan some games, and life is good…
With a little planning and compromise, a weekend getaway this summer for the family is totally possible and can even be fun and enjoyed by all!