Tis the season for Family Vacations! And although we look forward to them and they are a lot of fun, they are also stressful and a lot of work. As mothers and women, family vacations tend to feel less like a vacation and more like work, than play. Here are 11 tips to help take the stress out of your vacations and make them more enjoyable for everyone.
Take your time.
Rushing causes stress,and stress ruins vacations and raises tempers. Be prepared so you don’t have to rush to the airport. Give yourself enough time to get to new destinations in your travel city. Don’t over schedule your vacation time.
Be willing to take breaks.
Although it sounds good to drive all 14 hours non-stop, sometimes it is better to break up the travel. Let go of the notion that you have to do it all in one day. Too many hours in the car makes kids (and adults) a little crazy. Stop every few hours and let the kids stretch their legs, have a snack, and even play at the park for a half hour. It will be worth the rejuvenation.
Have reasonable expectations.
In our minds, family vacations are all roses and rainbows. We see it working out so perfectly. Making memories and taking pictures. Laughing and sharing time together. But… the reality is that most family vacations have arguments, crying babies, and lack of compromise. We need to have reasonable expectations. Just because we are on vacation doesn’t mean that all of a sudden every family member is going to turn into a perfect saint.
When possible, leave the work behind.
Try to get things in order so you, and even your spouse, can leave the work behind. That way, you can more fully enjoy your family’s time together. If you can’t leave the work behind, set aside scheduled time to handle it each day, so you can enjoy the rest of the vacation and experiences.
It might mean that you have to pack a little more, prepare a little more, and prepare a little sooner, but take what you need. Don’t leave things behind if they are going to make your trip more enjoyable, or help you manage situations. If you think you need the extra wipes and diapers, take them. If you want the floating tubes in case you go to a pool, then pack the tubes.
Recognize your childrens limits.
It is easy to push our children too far on vacations, and then we wonder why they are acting up. Just like us, our children have limits. 10 museums in one day would push anyones limits. Mix in a park or something that your children choose to do. And, work to keep meals and even naps as regular as possible.
Make Time to exercise
There is something about just a few minutes to ourselves that is very rejuvenating. Schedule in a few minutes for you to exercise each day you are on vacation. It will help you take care of everyone else, and yourself.
Don’t be surprised.
You know your brother is going to make the silly joke about the guy you dated in high school. You also know that your uncle is only going to want to play golf the entire vacation. Instead of being surprised about how family vacations go, just accept it. Love your family and extended family anyway, and don’t be surprised by the situations that arise. They are most likely the exact same situations that have been happening for years.
Talk about expectations.
Everyone goes on vacation with expectations. My husband expects that we are all up early, out exploring. My expectations are that I might actually get more than 4 hours of sleep in the same night, and be able to relax for a few days. Our kids expect lots of running and playing. If you don’t talk about these expectations before hand, no one will be satisfied.
Remember it is worth it.
Regardless of the stress and work, family vacations are where our children learn values, build identity, learn to adapt and negotiate new situations, make memories, and that is just the beginning. The hard work, packing and patience is all worth it.
Have a say in the planning.
If you are going with other families or extended family, speak up. You know what is best for your family. And it is okay to voice that opinion. With a little planning, we can turn our family vacations into the wonderful experiences they were meant to be.
What is your very best tip for surviving family vacation? If you could go anywhere for a family vacation, where would you want to go?
You may also be interested in this Vacation Packing List and Travel games here.
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