It’s no secret that family vacations are often stressful. But when you add extended family into the mix, things can quickly go from stressful to downright chaotic. So if you’re planning a trip with grandparents, aunts, uncles, nephews, nieces and Great Aunt Agnes, here are some tips to keep you from losing your mind.
Involve Everyone in the Vacation Planning
Don’t decide on the vacation spot without getting the other family members’ opinions. That includes the introverted or easygoing members too. Each family member should share what he or she would like to do or see once everyone arrives at the vacation spot. Then make sure it happens. And if most of your extended family is scattered across the country, choose a vacation destination that is accessible to everyone.
Decide How to Split Vacation Costs
Vacations are expensive. Plane tickets, car rentals, hotels, vacation homes, theme parks, guided tours, shopping and eating are just a few vacation necessities that cost a big chunk of change. Stick to a budget, openly communicating with family members so you can make the right decisions for everyone involved. Avoid a lot of confusion and hurt feelings by discussing with extended family members who is responsible for paying specific costs. If you’re paying for everyone’s airfare, make sure the family knows you won’t pay for everyone’s admission to Disney World or Universal Studios.
Stay Flexible With Activities
If you have a large group of people vacationing together, everyone will have their own likes and dislikes when it comes to vacation activities. Some people may enjoy a jam-packed itinerary of museums, sightseeing and souvenir shopping. But other members of the group may want a more chill type of vacation by sunbathing on the beach with the latest bestseller or sitting on the deck watching the world go by. That’s okay. Realize that your family will sometimes want to break into small groups to pursue their own interests.
So if you want to visit a chocolate factory while a relative wants to find a souvenir t-shirt for her neighbor back home, realize it’s perfectly fine to not do every activity as a group. This also provides you with the opportunity for alone time. Maybe you want to stroll down the beach with your significant other or drink a coffee by yourself at the local cafe. Carving out time for yourself will help you enjoy the extended family vacation even more.
Elbow Room for All
Too much time together can be a stressful. For example, you love your sister's five-year-old twins, but when they’re arguing about whether they’re going to watch Paw Patrol or Sofia the First, it can make your stress levels rise. It’s times like this when you’ll appreciate the foresight in choosing accommodations that allow you some space away from the rest of the family. This may involve renting a large vacation home with plenty of room for everyone to spread out.
Try not to sacrifice space to save a few bucks. This is understandable because vacations don’t come cheap. But having enough room to get away from the crowd can mean the difference between a relaxing vacation and a nightmare.