Reasons to Miss School for a Kids Vacation

Posted Jan 18th 2011 12:20 AMUpdated Feb 10th 2011 12:36 AM


family and kids vacation at the beach

Photo by amishsteve, flickr.

As a parent, there is always some reason why you should feel guilty. One topic that is eternally up for debate is the idea of taking your children out of school for vacation.

Many will argue that schools offer a lot of breaks, and there is no need for kids to miss class. Others will remark that travel broadens a child's understanding of the world and is an invaluable teaching tool that is equally important as classroom learning. Both valid points, of course. However, life isn't always scheduled around a school calendar.

I'm a parent that is very involved in my children's education. I volunteer at their school, and I make sure homework is done, as well as the mandatory thirty minutes of evening reading. Of course, when the opportunity arose to take my kids to Nickelodeon's Kid's Choice Awards, I immediately booked plane tickets even though the trip didn't fall within a designated school break. I will admit that I initially questioned whether I was compromising my children's academic careers for a chance to meet the iCarly cast. But I saw the entire experience as educational. You can learn wonders just sitting in an airport. Also, many folks never get the experience of attending a live awards show.

Age does play a factor (my kids are still in elementary school) and it does become more of a challenge as they progress in their schooling. But to alleviate some of the guilt and fulfill your parenting duties, you should inform your children's teachers that you will be leaving town and find out what you can do to keep them updated on assignments. You also don't want to schedule at trip and take them out of school when they are on verge of taking their SATs or if they will miss any important finals, midterms or test-preps.

Here are some other guilt-free reasons why you should relax and enjoy the trip.

1. Cheaper Rates

Every time school is on break, it is the "high season" for travel. Ever notice that if you flew the week before school break it would be hundreds of dollars cheaper? If you are on a serious budget, taking your kids out of school is a great option. Also another alternative is leaving a day before break or coming home a day after break, which might also lower rates, and you won't have to take your children out of school for an extended period.

Disney Kids Vacation

Loimere, flickr

2. Fewer Crowds

School breaks mean higher prices as well as larger crowds, which means family-friendly travel destinations become inundated. Who wants to spend an entire Disney vacation waiting to ride for Space Mountain? Go when school is in session and there will be smaller crowds and way shorter lines.

3. Family Celebrations

Your grandma is celebrating her 100th birthday in Miami, your sister is getting married in Chicago, your parents are throwing a 50th wedding anniversary party in Mexico -- no one wants to miss these monumental family events. And chances are those dates don't line up with the school vacation schedule.

4. Long-Distance Vacations

Want to travel further than a domestic flight? You might want to take more time than the standard week break. New Zealand native Brogan Ganley brings her children up in America and has taken her kids out of school for a trip back home. "If a child has the opportunity to travel and experience another culture or environment or be with family they don't often see -- that is just too rich an experience to miss out on," says Ganley. "It is something that can enhance their learning and their perception of the world they live in."

5. Work Trips

If you are traveling for work and can bring your family, it's a great and economical way to take a family trip. When New York mom Aubrey Mayo was able to accompany her husband on a business trip to London, they brought along their five-year-old daughter, despite it being the start of kindergarten and a huge transition for a child. But Mayo filled the week with visits to museums and showed her daughter around the historic city. "She learned way more during our week in London than she ever would have sitting in a classroom that same week," says Mayo.

6. Your Schedule

If you can only get a certain week off and it's while your kids are in school, you should take them out without feeling guilty. Going on a family vacation and spending time with your children creates lasting memories and is great for a family's overall happiness.

7. Special Events

Want to take your child to see some spring training games? Nominated for an award and want your kid to be there? These trips are priceless bonding moments with your children.

8. Once in a Lifetime Opportunities

A friend has invited you to visit their family in India, a club that you belong to is organizing a trip to China -- don't pass up opportunities that might not happen again.

9. Great Deals

You get an email with a deeply discounted trip to Europe. If you feel that a trip is too good to pass up, do it! Or did you just realize that you are sitting on 300,000 frequent flier miles, but you can't use them because the blackout dates are when your kids are in school? Don't feel guilty because you can get free airfare for a family trip. Take advantage and enjoy a vacation with the family.

Catamaran Excursion on Kids Vacation

flickrized, flickr

10. World Exploration

There are some families who take their children out of school for more than just a vacation. Canadian travel writer Diane Selkirk is traveling around the world with her husband and their nine-year-old daughter on a 40-foot catamaran. Regarding her daughter's education at sea, Selkirk says, "She's able to immerse herself in new cultures at kid speed. Rather than rushing through as much as we can fit into a two-week break, we get to immerse ourselves in places gradually and learn to love and respect the cultural differences."

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People kill me. There is no lesson in middle or high school that is so important it cant be missed and not made up. Life is for living, not working all the time. Anyone that gives up a life experience to in order to not miss a week of school or work is missing the point of being alive.

January 23 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

dont know about vacations during the school year . i actually liked to learn when i was a kid i was all over the place living state to state country to country . in retospect as an adult i learned alot and some things that ive would rather not have learned . it can cause as much harm as good i suppose . in my case the living in diffrent areas and never having a history in any one area . a vacation in this aspect is a normal thing . i suppose having roots in one perticular area . and checking out anouther culture while school is out is ok . while school is in learning would be better and the info may be helpful later . disiney land is not a good excuse . been ther e twice when i was a kid . as a kid after the first time i was drug a second time . would have rather went to school and it was out of season in 1983 .

January 23 2011 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where do you live? Teachers are underpaid and over workded. Teaching is a part time job at best, and comes with a six figure salary. Where else can you be paid that much to work 6 hours, and in those 6 hours you get 1 1/2 hours off. So, your day is all of 4 1/2 hours long for 180 days a year. I call that part time. Deal with it!

January 23 2011 at 7:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Alright enough about teachers not doing thier jobs. I agree there are some bad teachers. I have also seen teachers work very hard. For example, My daughter's teacher is there over 30 minutes before school starts. I have went and spoken to her during this time. I have also picked my daughter up from bible club, which ends at almost 5. She is still there working. I also have a son with a learning disability. I have had teachers at the risk of getting into trouble, tell me things to push the schools into doing things my son needed to receive a education. Teachers alot of times are over worked and under paid. On top of doing all of this for our children, they get a bad wrap because out of the 30 or so teachers you deal with, in the course of our children's education, you run across a couple who quite honestly shouldnt be teaching. I would like to take the time right now, to say thankyou to the ones of you who have taken the time to teach children, even with the crap you deal with. Even if you don't realize it, You make a huge difference!!!!

January 23 2011 at 6:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't agree with this author. That parent will teach his child that it's acceptable to ditch his responsibility in order to have fun . Maybe the author of the article thinks it's a "great deal" or (paraphrasing) "convenient" . He might even try to justify world travel as "learning" but in my opinion if he can afford to have children and take a trip then he can also pay the higher rate of travel on the actual school breaks .

Perhaps that author doesn't respect education enough to value EVERY monment of it.Maybe he doesn't feel that it's a privaledge to have teachers and administrators who go to work to teach his child. Maybe the real "convenience" for him is to view school more as a babysitting service when he has to go to work .

Maybe he got a "great deal" or didn't have to wait on line. Would it be a surprise to the author if one day when his adult child is 25, or 30 , or 40 and still living at home (unemployed) because he'd rather ditch working to have fun ?

January 23 2011 at 5:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

That is just horrible. Sometimes emergencies come up. Oh and if you where my child's teacher I would have filed so many complaints You would still be doing training on how to deal with students, and following IEPS.

January 23 2011 at 5:24 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I totally love the idea of this article! If only it were like that for me. I am a freshman in highschool and if I EVER did this, take a week off from school, I would be so lost. First, I would have tons of homework to make up. Second, you have to think about the learning; if I missed even a day of math or science(we take notes everyday) I would be lost, let alone a week. You have a schedule the state has made and on that schedule is what you will learn/teach for whatever time-period. So you would miss something and then it goes downhill from there. I highly recommend this for homeschooled students:)

January 23 2011 at 4:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

*sarcasm* yep, saving money should ALWAYS trump the kids' education. and don't even GO there about waiting 30 minutes in line to over an hour for a trip on space mountain, the time saved is so much more important than learning to read!... *seriously now* THAT SAID, a family reunion or something like that may BE a reason to bow out of school for a few days, seeing grandma and getting her knowledge of history before she dies kind of thing. now THAT i agree with! but REALLY? to go to disneyworld because it's cheaper or shorter lines? i bet these selfsame parents are the ones who scream the loudest about test scores! they rant and rave because their kids don't know fractions!

January 23 2011 at 3:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey, all of you vacationing during school parents and kids, read this:

January 23 2011 at 3:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


The idea of you educating children is a frightening thought.

I'll add that you're not as "educated" or as knowledgeable as you might think you are in believing that China, Russia and the like are countries worthy of emulating. As one small but terribly sad example, look into Russia's treatment and handling of orphaned children. Another would be the approach of either example you have given to those born physically or mentally disabled. We may have our problems here in the U.S., but we are light years ahead of many portions of the world when it comes to the fair and equal treatment of people, and a healthy respect for life.

Lastly, hungry children need food, irregardless of who or what their parents are! This isn't, nor should it be North Korea. Your level of sympathy for children is appalling, and your inability to separate young innocent individuals from the problems attached to their parents needs a LOT of improvement. Those children need your attention, help and understanding (...and perhaps even guidance), not your sociopath laden sentiments.

January 23 2011 at 3:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Em's comment
Lina Way

I disagree! Europe can teach america a lot!!! Europe is much older than US! america is a baby compare to some cities in Europe, or even China! Russia has amazing history!!! education in Russia is much better than in any american public or private school! i know, i studied there, and beleve me it harder than in USA! i travel a lot around the world for business and i will take my 7 year old daughter out of school for a trip to India in a heart beat! she will learn there much more than in any school! or taking her to Saudi Arabia, the experience is priceless!!!! i read recently, than only 20% of america has int'l passport! and only 5% out of that 20% goes further than Mexico or Canada! widen your horizon people!!! america should travel more and learn from other countries maybe than your economy will get better!

January 09 2012 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply