The Most Memorable Vacation Moments (through the eyes of my kids)

Last week, I was in the car with my 12-year-old daughter. She said, “Mom, do you remember that McDonald’s inside an airplane? That was the coolest part of our trip.” She’s referring to our 2019 trip to Australia and New Zealand.

“Really? That’s the most memorable thing about that whole trip?”


So then I was curious about her most memorable moments from our other trips, and I decided to ask all of my kids what stood out for them. I asked them all separately, without the others within earshot. Some of their answers surprised me. My kids are 18, 14 and 12 and for this post will be known as Thing 1, Thing 2 and Thing 3.

Australia/New Zealand

During the summer of 2019, before there were any inklings of the global pandemic about to come, we undertook our biggest international trip as a family of 5. We visited Sydney for 3 nights and saw koalas, kangaroos and of course the famous Sydney Opera House. We then moved on to New Zealand and spent a wonderful week in the Rotorua area followed by a brief stay at Hot Water Beach. What stuck out to my kids?

Thing 1: The NZ rental house (he dreams of going back there).

Thing 2:  Our rental house

(Our rental house in New Zealand was a dream–on a large farm on top of a hill with killer views). Note: The house doesn’t appear to be on vrbo anymore 🙁

Thing 3: The McDonalds inside the airplane (Taupo, NZ)

McDonalds in Taupo, NZ

I’m surprised none of them mentioned the kangaroos we got to feed in Sydney.

Costa Rica

In early March 2020, just days before the world came to a screeching halt, we spent 5 nights in Costa Rica at Hyatt Andaz Costa Rica (see my review here).

Thing 1 and Thing 2 were in agreement: The hotel breakfast buffet. (What? In fairness, the breakfast buffet at the Andaz Costa Rica is extraordinary, with made-to-order smoothies and a huge variety of food).

Thing 3: The monkeys that pooped on our balcony! (The monkeys get my vote, too, because they were so entertaining).

Monkeys at Andaz Costa Rica

North Captiva Island

For Spring Break 2021, we stayed a week on North Captiva Island, a small island off the coast of Fort Myers that is only accessible by plane or boat. We all LOVED this island (see my post here). Unfortunately, the recent hurricane damaged the island significantly, so tourism won’t be able to resume until at least next spring.

Thing 1: Driving the golf cart all around the island (there are no roads or cars on the island, which is great!)

Thing 2: The view of the ocean from my bedroom:

North Captiva

Thing 3: The most perfect seashell she found (and she still knows the exact shell):

The shell

I loved how we all were disconnected from distractions while on North Captiva, and we all slowed down for the week.

All-inclusive in Cancun

In July 2021, we took a quick trip to Cancun and stayed at Grand Palladium Costa Mujeres (see this post). While the trip wasn’t my favorite due to some issues at the resort, my kids all have positive memories.

Thing 1: The food at dinners

Thing 2: The Hibachi restaurant

Thing 3: The enormous hot tub close to our room

The gigantic hot tub


Our trip to Paris and Switzerland was just a few months ago, so it is still fresh on our minds (although it seems like forever ago!). This trip was the first time we flew in business class, and it’s interesting how that wasn’t what the kids remembered the most.

Thing 1: Ice cream. (Say what?) Yes, he loved this ice cream cone he got one evening after dark with his cousin near the Eiffel Tower. And then again in Switzerland, he had another fabulous ice cream cone from a local chocolate shop.

Thing 2: Disneyland Paris

Thing 3: The Eiffel Tower and macaroons (this girl loves her macaroons and we bought them several places, including from the shop at the top of the Eiffel Tower).

My husband and I really loved the views and vibe in those small Swiss mountain towns.

Scenery on a hike in Switzerland

Have you ever asked your kids what their favorite or most memorable moment is from your trips? Are you surprised by their answers?

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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