There is no doubt in my mind that family vacations can be beyond stressful, but over the years I have discovered little ways to make them a little easier on me and the rest of my family. Now, it took me some time to find all the helpful tips that I use today, but you will be happy to know that I am willing to share them with you all at once. That means that you can start having stress-free family vacations much sooner than I was able to!
Here are 10 tips for a stress-free family vacation:
1. Plan the Trip Together
This tip is key, because there is no way that you can have a stress-free vacation if no one else is happy with the chosen destination. This is especially true if you want to lounge on a beach, yet no one else in your family is a fan of the sand! I recommend calling a family meeting and have everyone state where they want to go or what they want to do when on vacation. The second one is the most helpful, because it will allow you to find a destination that has all those options in one form or another. And if you need some help, our list of best travel planning apps is a good place to start.
2. Set Standards Prior to Departure
If you want, or need, your children to act a certain way, or do something, while on vacation, the time to tell them is before you leave. This should be done at least a week or two in advance, because that will ensure that they have time to process what you told them and plan accordingly. This is especially helpful if you have siblings sharing a room when they don’t need to at home.
3. Reserve Larger Accommodations
Hotel rooms are great, and they can be much cheaper than other accommodation options, but if you have quite a few people sharing a small room, disaster is going to be waiting for you. I recommend making reservations for larger accommodations, whether it is a hotel suite, a condo, or even a regular house through AirBnB. You will be amazed at how much space you have and how you can all claim your own little corner to cool down and relax in.
4. Schedule Personal Time
Every member of your family will need some time to themselves each and every day, so try to schedule that in. The kids can use their time to swim in the pool or do an activity that they love, while you can take a yoga class or catch up on the latest bestseller. Once everyone has their own personal time, you will all feel ready to spend the rest of the day together.
5. Schedule Downtime
As wonderful as personal time is, it is also necessary to schedule some downtime for everyone during your family vacation. While you may think that personal time is downtime, in reality, it is not. Downtime is considered the time when everyone can choose to do whatever it is that they want. Some members of your family may take a nap, while others may use that time to lay out in the sun by the pool.
6. Consider Skipping the Long Lines
There are many attractions around the world, as well as amusement parks, that have long lines waiting for you when you arrive. While you may want to save as much money as possible when planning your trip, paying a little extra to skip all those long lines is normally an excellent investment. Your family will not moan and groan about having to stand in, yet another long line, and you won’t have to listen to them, as you simmer and think that you are there doing the same thing and not complaining.
7. Don’t Even Think About Work!
This should be a no brainer, but in order to have a stress-free vacation, you need to leave all your work behind! You may be tempted to check your emails or make a phone call or two, but the time that it will take away from your family and the activities that you are doing is just not worth the potential stress. Plus, you know that that quick email check is going to mean that you will need to spend additional time on problems, as will that quick phone call.
8. Take Snacks with You or Buy Them When You Arrive
You know that everyone in your family is going to be hungry throughout the day, so plan ahead and have a bunch of snacks readily available and with you. If you do not have time to get to the store before you leave, then stop at one when you reach your destination. You will thank yourself later, when you are saving a ton of money by not purchasing those overpriced snacks at the attractions or nowhere near a place that sells food. You may also want to take reusable water bottles with you, so you can fill them once you clear airport security and throughout your trip. That will ensure that no one gets overly thirsty and cranky.
9. Break a Few Rules
Vacations are supposed to be fun, which is why I recommend allowing your children to break a few rules. No, do not let them run through the halls of the hotel screaming or stray too far away from you in crowds. However, do let them stay up a little late or eat dessert with every meal. Even an extra movie or television show during quiet time will be appreciated by many kids.
10. Set a Budget
There is nothing more stressful than wondering how you are going to finish paying for vacation, especially when you are in the middle of it. For that reason, I recommend setting up your budget well in advance and then sticking to it. Once you have your accommodations and transportation sorted out, you can then take whatever is left in your budget and divide it between the days of your trip. Then make sure that you plan your days according to your budget. If you are trying to save money, look for hotels that offer free breakfasts with your stay, as that will cut down on costs. You can also search for deals in advance for entertainment and dining out. When you arrive at your destination, check for local coupon books and ask the locals where they recommend eating, as they always know the cheapest places with the best food!
When you do these ten things for your next family vacation, you should find that your days and nights away from home are less stressful than they have been in the past. You may not be able to break old habits right away, but it will get easier with each future vacation, and before long, you will not even worry about whether you will be stressed or not!