Family vacations are what memories are made of. Some of the memories aren’t all that great! However, with a few tips and some planning you can have a wonderful family vacation full of positive and happy memories. Here are four tips to get the most out of a family vacation, and stay sane.
#1 Plan ahead for car trips
The drive to and from a family vacation can be the most stressful part of the trip. Plan ahead. Pack a cooler full of snacks – not sugary snacks because then your children will get wiggly. Rather pack nutritious snacks with protein so they digest slowly.
Also pack books, games, and entertainment devices. Older children do well with a hand-held gaming device or an iPod while younger children generally appreciate a good movie on a portable DVD player.
It also helps to have some games on hand like “I spy” so you can get the whole family involved in the car trip fun.
Make sure the kids are comfortable. Pillows and blankets aren’t unreasonable for the kids in the back seat. And make sure they’re wearing comfortable clothes with shoes that can easily be slipped on for bathroom stops.
Oh yeah, and plan those stops in advance and make everyone go – whether they have to or not. Plan on stopping about every two to three hours depending on the ages of your children.
Remember to pack car trip supplies for you too. Pack your favorite snacks and items to keep you busy in the car.
#2 Start your trip in the right frame of mind
Many trips start off with the parents packing last minute and hurrying everyone to the car. Make lists and have your stuff ready to go at least one day ahead of time. Spend the day before you leave relaxed and in pre-vacation mode.
#3 Let go of your expectations
One of the reasons vacations seem to get tense is because we set grandiose expectations for the trip. We envision perfect moments captured on film to share for generations. Let it go. A family trip is just that – a family trip. Things happen, surprises come up and children don’t behave. Let your children know what you’re doing, where you’re going and why and then let the rest go. The more you relax and go with the flow, the more fun you’ll actually have.
#4 Plan a variety of excursions
Plan activities for the entire family. If you want to do the Freedom walk in Boston but your kids are complaining, the plan a trip to the aquarium or go whale watching – something they want to do – as well. Compromise and teach your children how to compromise. That way everyone gets to do something that interests them.
Staying sane on a family vacation is possible if you adjust your expectations and plan ahead. Go ahead, make some memories!