Family vacations are the perfect way to relax, reconnect, and unplug from the stresses of day to day life. Unfortunately, many family vacations are most memorable for the things that went wrong – fighting kids, cramped quarters, sunburns, motion sickness, crying babies, bored teenagers, and the list goes on. Here are some tips to make your next family vacation memorable for all the right reasons.
Involve Everyone in the Planning
Especially if you have several kids of different ages, make sure to include something on the agenda for everyone. Just like your toddlers will get bored quickly at a museum, teenagers won’t enjoy the kiddie park for long. Use online resources or travel brochures to research activities at your destination, and select at least one thing every day that everyone will enjoy.
While it’s important to have a schedule, it’s even more important to recognize the need to deviate from that schedule on occasion. Once you’ve arrived at your destination, ask your hotel concierge or restaurant waiter if there is anything special happening locally and, if it sounds like something your family would enjoy, give it a try! Sometimes the most unexpected side trips turn out to be the part of the trip that everyone remembers most fondly.
Family vacations should be about relaxing and enjoying each other’s company, so don’t pack every minute with activities. Especially with younger children, it’s critical to avoid over-scheduling yourselves. If you’re traveling during the summertime, plan a bit of free time during the hottest part of the day. Younger kids can nap in the room or in the shade, teenagers can hang by the pool or explore the resort, and mom and dad can recharge before setting out again in the afternoon. Since it’s likely that the younger family members will be staying up later than usual while on vacation, this little bit of rest midday helps to ensure that everyone will have the energy to enjoy evening activities as well.
Even if you’re driving, resist the urge to pack everything you own in the car. Plan what clothing everyone will need, including swimwear and something a little dressy if necessary, but don’t pack for every possible scenario unless you want to be lugging a lot of extra weight around. Most hotels and resort have laundry facilities and if you forget something critical, chances are that there’s a Walmart or Target nearby. Plus, you want to be sure you have room to bring those souvenirs home!