Family vacations promote quality bonding time as you share unique adventures and learn through experiences together. This time away from home allows you to focus on each other without the distractions of work and school. But with multiple personalities and varying interests on board, disagreements on family vacations are inevitable. While vacationing together will require more planning, these tips will set you up for success.
Plan Ahead Together
Planning ahead, especially for travel in the peak season, allows your family to secure ideal accommodations that suit your needs for easy sightseeing, as well as flights with the least connections at the most optimal prices. Encourage participation from each family member during the planning process in order to ensure that everybody has an activity or aspect of the journey to look forward to, and make the planning phase an engaging process for children by relating your chosen destination to their favorite bedtime story or cartoon character. By planning together, your family will know what to expect on each day’s itinerary, which will also calm the nerves of any first-time travelers or individuals who are anxious about being in a new place.
Determine Family Needs
Deciding what type of vacation is best for your family highly depends on the age range and interests of the group. Determine together the purpose of your vacation, whether it’s a fun-in-the-sun venture, a road trip to discover the National Parks of America or a long weekend getaway for the kids to meet their favorite characters at Disneyland. With a purpose in mind, narrowing down the destinations will be a breeze. Similarly, determine accommodation needs for your family, and once you decide on the suitable number of rooms needed at your rental, or if your children who love water play require a pool at the hotel, selecting appropriate accommodations becomes more time efficient.
Opt for a destination that offers suitable experiences for everyone. While Hawaii delights beach bums and avid hikers, agree on an island with a lively urban core for the nightlife enthusiast and fine dining connoisseur of the group to meet each person’s needs. It’s also handy to carry a list of optional activities you’ve previously compiled together in case the group blitzes through the day’s itinerary or if plans fall through and you’re now in need of more options. Opt to stay somewhere with a number of dining choices instead of just a deli and a cafe down the neighborhood block to suit the interests of the group.
Before you embark on your journey together, know that your family will move at the pace of the slowest person, whether that’s your 80-year-old grandpa who walks with a cane or the toddler in tow. When planning activities, allow plenty of time to enjoy and complete it, and be realistic in what you can achieve based on each member’s abilities. Refrain from packing the day’s itinerary, or you’ll find yourself rushing from one activity to the next and risk being frustrated that your group isn’t working through the day’s schedule within the given timeframe.
Schedule Time Apart
It’s ironic to have to schedule time apart while on a family vacation, but healthy doses of alone time are much needed for the sake of everyone’s sanity. There will be varying interests in a large group, and instead of having dad sacrifice lunch at the city’s most celebrated new restaurant for an afternoon of shopping along Santa Monica’s 3rd Street Promenade, schedule a few hours apart for solo experiences that tailor to your own interests. Take the time to unwind and read a book on your Airbnb’s sun-drenched patio, or go for a stroll along the waters of the nearby sandy beach. This time apart allows you to refocus and reset your attention, rejoining the family gathering with a fresh mind. Spending time apart will also give you more about your day to share with each other when you reunite again.