It’s summer and that means it’s time for a vacation! But if your family includes chronic illness, trekking to Machu Picchu may not be on the menu. You don’t have to give up creating meaningful memories with your family just because one of you has health concerns. Here are three ideas for way to enjoy your time off with your family this summer:

1. Take a Cruise

The challenge, of course, is getting there. But once you’re there, cruises are self-contained, simple and relaxing. They also offer enough choice in activities that your non-ill travel companions can join in the fun, too. That said, it can be hard to come by specialty medical care while floating somewhere far away from land and so you will want to take into account the stability and medical needs of your ill family member when choosing whether or not a cruise is for you. If travel or medical concerns make a cruise unworkable, consider other self-contained options like all-inclusive resorts in Florida, Las Vegas or beyond.

2. Road Trip!

It’s easy to overlook attractions near where you live. For example, I knew a family that lived just on the outskirts on Yellowstone National Park but had only visited twice, when family was in town. What are the places you’ve always meant to visit but never quite get around to it? Now’s the time! A major bonus of road trips is that you’re more likely to be able to bring your specialized medical equipment with you. The same is true of food that works with your ill family member’s dietary restrictions.

3. Staycation

If you weren’t working…if you weren’t cleaning…if you weren’t rushing around every minute of every day…home might not be such a bad place. How much money would you spend traveling? Now consider what this money could do for your staycation! You could hire a housecleaner, order takeout, splurge on a massage, and pick a new board game or other activity to explore with your family. Maybe the “vacation” that would be the most fun is the one that offers the most relaxation and indulgence. And if that means a staycation, then make the most of it!

Garth Sundem
Garth Sundem is a parent, husband, GeekDad and author of books including "Real Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change". Find him at
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