Family vacations can range from fun and kind of crazy to frustrating and disastrous. While there are more people to manage and more details to deal with, travelling with the entire family in tow does not have to be a headache. Keep on reading for some expert tips on how to keep stress away from your family holiday.
Home Alone and its sequels are some of the most classic movies of the 1990s. We all remember the story—it’s Christmas, the (huge) family doesn’t wake up on time, utter chaos ensues, and the youngest kid actually gets left behind at the airport in all the confusion.
Sure, he survives and even outwits local burglars with his kid smarts and homemade booby traps, but the family vacation is officially toast.
With these expert tips and tricks, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of travelling with your loved ones (just make sure to count your kids!). It’s all about bonding as a family, trying new things together, sharing adventures and creating exciting memories.
1. Agree on the goal of the trip and get everyone’s ideas
After deciding on your destination, one of the first things you should do as a family is agree on the main goal of the trip. Is it to visit historical landmarks? Or spend as much time as possible doing activities in nature? Is it to sample as much of the local cuisine as you can? Or is it to spend as much time relaxing?
Get everyone to decide on a main goal, and then get each person’s input on what they want out of the trip. Some might request some relaxing hotel or spa time, and some may want to go adventuring.
It’s a good idea to get each family member’s ideas about what they want to do at the destination and then plan the trip accordingly. Agreeing on a mutual trip goal and making a plan that incorporates something for everyone ensures that the vacation will go smoothly and with fewer disagreements.
2. Agree on a family safety plan ahead of time
When travelling, it’s always best to err on the side of caution. Coming up with a safety plan for the family before the travels begin will ease worries and prepare everyone for the trip.
If you have several children, it is a good idea to pair them up and enforce the good old buddy system. Pairing an older child with a younger child is ideal so that they can watch over them.
Brief the whole family (those who can talk, at least!) on all the important information—names, addresses and contact numbers of hotels or other accommodation and who to call in case of an emergency. If you are travelling in a country where you do not speak the language, take several cards from the hotel that has the address and phone number in the local language and hand them out to family members.
If you’re out and about for the day, agree on a meeting place when in crowded areas so you don’t lose each other, such as a restaurant or coffee shop in a main square or street.
3. Let the small things slide
Family vacations are never without hiccups, no matter how much you plan for things to go smoothly. It’s important to make the most of the vacation time together, so if someone has an attitude or if disagreements erupt, do your best to not let it become a big thing. Let it slide, overlook it if you can, and endeavour to keep things positive. Encourage family members to do the same. Don’t waste precious holiday seconds on negativity!
4. Delegate responsibilities
While the parents are in charge, the kids need to do their part as well for the family trip to go smoothly. Delegate some responsibilities to the kids; for example, an older child can be in-charge of getting the younger kids dressed or they can be tasked with sweeping the hotel rooms and bathrooms for any items that the family might have accidentally left behind.
5. Don’t stop observing your family traditions
Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean that you can’t still do the things you love to do together as a family. Observing family traditions will help everyone feel comfortable and close while on vacation. Being in a different country can feel strange, and kids can get tired and fussy on travels, so keeping up family traditions is important.
If you like to have a big, long breakfast together as a family, for example, you can still do that while on holiday. If you read your kids a story every night before they go to bed, keep it up on the trip so that your little ones feel safe and secure.
The same goes for quality time with your spouse or partner. Make sure you still carve out time to have your little traditions, whatever they may be, like quiet coffee time together in the morning before the kids get up or a late night Netflix session before bed.
Family trips don’t have to be a nightmare—they can be (somewhat) effortless and extremely enjoyable! -/TISG