After a long year of juggling your home, your job, and your family, it’s finally time for a family vacation. You’ve earned a few days to relax, breathe, and recharge.
However, in order to keep your vacation stress-free, there are a few basic planning mistakes you need to avoid. It’s a little more complicated than planning a day trip, but we’ve got you covered.
1 – Not Ensuring Your Accommodations Are Family-Friendly
The best start to making sure your family trip is stress-free is picking the right kind of accommodations.
It can be tempting to just go for the cheapest option or to book a hotel that really appeals to you and your partner — without checking if it also caters to kids.
However, it can make a world of difference to your stress levels whether you’re staying at a high-class hotel or a pacific grove inn with kid-friendly menus and toddler play groups.
Making sure that your accommodations are family-friendly and have something to offer for all your family members means you get to kick back and relax as soon as you get there.
2 – Overscheduling Your Trip
Planning activities in advance is important. Otherwise, you’ll be struggling to keep your kids occupied when you arrive at your destination.
However, over-scheduling your days will generate stress, not eliminate it. Yes, you won’t need to come up with activities on the spot. But you’ll be racing to get from one pre-planned event to the other without catching your breath.
3 – Failing to Factor in Everyone’s Interests
Another frequent mistake on family vacations is to forget to factor in everyone’s interests. Especially if your family is large, it can be a struggle to please everyone all the time. There will be activities at least one family member finds dead boring.
However, by discussing in advance, you can add elements that satisfy everyone’s curiosity, from visiting a petting zoo with your youngest to going on a tour of a WWII war ship with your history-obsessed oldest.
Also, knowing that there is something for them to enjoy to look forward to makes it easier for kids to bear with activities that they might not be crazy about.
4 – Forgetting to Account for Buffer Times
Finally, one of the most severe sources of stress on family vacations is expecting everything to go smoothly. And not planning in extra buffer time.
As most parents know, traveling with kids takes far longer than traveling alone or with your partner. You have to make sure that everyone has their luggage and their travel documents, that you have enough food and water to survive the trip, that everyone has been to the bathroom etc.
That means you have to allow for additional delay times when booking travel options. Quickly having to change connections with several kids, for instance, can be complicated.
By taking this into consideration in advance, you can avoid this pitfall.
Family vacations can be a wonderful way to make memories and to recharge your batteries — if you plan them right. By avoiding the mistakes above, you’ll be able to spend an enjoyable, friction-free time with your family and return home with wonderful memories and new energy.