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I have the Alice Cooper song “School’s Out for the Summer” playing on repeat through my head the last week or so even though I haven’t been on a school schedule myself in over a decade. Now it is my four year old who has been on a school schedule the last few years via her pre-school, and now that summer has come around and the school has firmly locked its doors for the summer, we are living our new laid back summertime normal. I have no doubt that lots of you are doing the same with your own kids. Well, let’s be honest, for working parents it isn’t exactly a laid back summertime routine, it is more of a daily scramble to keep the kids happy, entertained, or at least cared for while meeting your work obligations. Basically it’s a three ring circus. I’m sure it is a bit of a circus even for parents who care for the little ones full time!
To be transparent, this is why you might have already noticed things a little bit slower on the site in the last couple weeks. I’m still posting daily and will make sure to cover any big miles and points deals and news, but there will be fewer posts per day than during the school year since being with my little one has to take top priority. My own points collecting is also already hitting slowdowns since school ended for the year as I realized that Spirit Airlines was giving away free miles in Houston yesterday after it was already over. I didn’t have the chance to hang out on Twitter to notice Spirit’s tweet the way I had during the school year, so we missed out.
Though we did make it to swim lessons, the park, a playdate, and the new (and very go0d) Maleficent movie all while daddy was out of town…but ahhhh missing out on free miles stinks!
I can’t help much with the “keeping the kids cared for while you work dilemma”, but I do have a few ideas of cool things to do both at home and away that won’t break the bank, but should keep everyone busy.
- Fandango buy one, get one free movie tickets on Fridays when using a Visa Signature credit card. If you don’t mind seeing an older film, you can also probably find a morning kid’s movie showing for $1 – $2 on kid days at various movie theaters.
- Bank of America “Museums on Us” gives Bank of America debit and credit cardholders free access to museums, zoos, and more all around the country the first weekend of each month. This includes places like the Anchorage Museum (that we just visited and loved), Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Museum of Modern Art, Newseum in Washington DC (also loved this!), and the Houston Zoo. Each adult needs a debit or credit card from Bank of America in their own name to get in free. In my experience you may still need to pay for the kids.
- Use points to sneak away to a local hotel or resort for the night to relax and swim! An alternative to packing up for a full blown trip is just enjoying a night or two with the kids at somewhere within an easy driving distance. We are lucky to have amazing resorts like the Hyatt Lost Pines nearby, but really any decent hotel with a pool can be a good mix-up to the daily routine complete with lots of swimming and maybe even a little room service if you splurge!
- Travel to grandparents house or fly them to you. We love getting our daughter together with grandparents both by traveling to visit them, as well as flying them in using points/miles. We like to then not only spend a little time all together, but also high-tail it out of there both to give our kiddo some one-on-one time with grandparents, but also to give us a chance to take an adults-only trip or even just go get work done for a few days!
- Get a museum or zoo membership and use it both at home and on the road. For example, we have a membership at the Houston Zoo thanks to a gift from Josh’s parents, but that doesn’t mean it only helps us when we visit the Houston Zoo. Thanks to reciprocal agreements, it also gets us in either free or half-off at various zoos and aquariums around the country. You will find that many children’s museums and zoos have similar arrangements!
- Plan a trip together and take it! Hopefully you are able to put some of the miles and points you earned during the year to good use in the summer and get away for a real family vacation. Make that vacation keep everyone busy well beyond the days you are actually gone, and spend time at the library or online learning together about where you are going, planning activities together, or even learning a little local language thanks to free or low cost apps! Even my four year old loves taking part in planning trips and learning other languages, so this is something for both younger and older kids.
You’ll find us doing those activities in addition to trips to local parks, eating snow cones, swimming, playing with friends, etc. I hope your family is able to take advantage of the different pace of the summer. Check in here when you can, and I promise to keep you in the loop on major miles and points happenings. In the meantime, fire up the grill, jump in the pool, load up the car, and make some memories…and try to keep your sanity in the process! The first day of school will be here again before we know it.
How are you spending your summer?