Kim Orlando loves to travel. She should, she’s the CEO of travelingmom.com and she especially loves to travel with her family.
When the idea of a family trip to Aruba came up, Orlando knew she wanted to go and, better still, take her family. But, she also knew that she wanted them to experience the island’s beauty, and detach from their electronics: phones, computers and tablets.
Challenging? You bet. Orlando’s brood consists of three kids ages 11-15, and of course her husband, Rome.
Naturally, no one wanted to part with their electronic lifelines.
To sweeten the deal, she offered each kid twenty bucks. “I thought that was the best way to ease the pain,” Orlando said. “I’d give them each twenty dollars and they could spend it on texting, or pick up some great stuff in Aruba to bring back, and build a memory with.”
How did they react?
Not surprisingly, not happily. Said Sophia, 13, “ It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Shopping or texting my friends? Too hard!”
Dario, 11, has a girlfriend, so for him, giving up his phone and texting was decidedly not something he was happy with. But mom was able to make it work.
“So, the kids were finally able to detach during our hike, windsurfing and at dinner but otherwise there was a lot of negotiating attempts,” she laughed. “My daughter shopped. But then she got smacked with a $100 texting billl a month later!”
But freed from their devices, the family gradually succumbed to Aruba’s charms.
Of course they explored Aruba’s famous caves, the homes of former pirates, some say, but with intact Arawak Indian hieroglyphics from the 14000’s.
The golf courses of Aruba were a compensation of sorts, because Orlando’s family are golf addicts.
But at the end of the day, when all the Aruba action was over, would the Orlando recommend that other families go cold turkey and leave their electronic devices off and out of reach?
“If you can get away with leaving the electronics at home, do it!,” Orland says.
Since that’s unlikely for most traveling families, she strongly recommends a family pow wow and coming up with some sort of “electronics plan.”
She also recommends checking with phone service providers to see if they can put limits on texting. We suggest asking service providers for special offers and roaming charges.
At the end of the vacation, does Kim Orlando think it was worth the effort?
“Absolutely!” she says.
“This electronics challenge has become part of our family vacation story. We laugh and groan about it long after the trip is over.”
But that’s how memories are built. Right?
Watch the 1-min Family Travel Video PostCard