Rep. Patricia Schroeder (D.-Colo.) and her family like to travel. In fact, it is almost a family tradition. "When I was growing up," she recalls, "my father was a pilot and we had a small plane, and went to Florida, Alaska, California, the East, the South, all over. Vacations were a time to see things."

Schroeder and her husband, Jim, agree. And their non-Colorado vacations are often intentionally educational. They have taken their now 12- and 16-year-old children on many trips through Europe and the Far East. "That perspective on the world is what you need," she explains.

She points to these as some of her favorite trips.

* Hong Kong and Thailand: "We went to see the refugee camps. It wasn't recreational or restful, but the kids learned a lot. It was a very serious vacation. My son took over $600 worth of pictures. He was totally caught up with what he was seeing, and that made it all more than worth it."

* Germany and Austria: "We just came back from a trip we took we took over the Fourth of July break. The children said they wanted to drive through East Germany -- just feeling it is very important. We did Salzburg, Munich, Gosler [the town that didn't get bombed because it had the Red Cross covering it]."

* An island cruise in the Aegean about six years ago: "It was a cross between recreation and a more serious trip. The ship had an archeologist along, and every evening he lectured about the history of where we were going and what we would see the next day. We went to Crete, Patmos, Santorini, Istanbul. It was a wonderful vacation. We were overwhelmed."

* Colorado: is a definite favorite, and their family vacations there are usually for recreation and relaxation. "There is nothing like Colorado evenings in the summer. They're the kind you fantasize about in the winter -- nice, cool, brisk. We fly back and forth a lot. For sheer rest and relaxation," she says, "no place beats Colorado, period." For Schroeder, the state has everything: dry, cool air, blue skies, wonderful retreats. You can forget about the rest of the world.

When it is hot and muggy, she wants the Colorado mountains. For music, the family goes to Aspen. For quiet elegance, to Broadmoor. And going to Vail is always the most beautiful. Although the family enjoys hiking there as well as river rafting ("another great escape, an all-day thing which you can do all over the place") and skiing, Schroeder admits she is not an active camper. "I really like warm showers and clean sheets."