Family vacations are a great time to reconnect with your loved ones and create memories you’ll cherish forever. But they also can be stressful and frustrating — even if it’s only a short trip to see your parents or siblings. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to reduce the stress of planning a family vacation and make it more enjoyable for everyone involved.
1. Plan your vacation based on your family’s needs, not just the kids’ wants and desires
You don’t want to make decisions based solely on what your children will like or what you think they will be interested in, especially if they have special needs. If you’re traveling with a child with autism or another disorder, it’s important to take that into account when selecting activities and locations.
2. Consider a resort or cruise with a fun kids’ club
If you’re going on a family vacation with young children, consider choosing a resort that offers organized activities for them in addition to crafting, says certified coach and parenting expert Elaine Taylor-Klaus. These can include things like treetop yoga, cooking demonstrations, escape rooms, and more.
3. Do stuff that your family will enjoy together
If your kids love to be active, try to mix it up and do something different every day of the trip. That way, they won’t get bored and feel like they’re missing out on other fun things.
4. Don’t pack too much in
You might be tempted to fill your itinerary with lots of fun activities, but that can leave you feeling drained and cranky as a family. Avoid packing too much in by making sure you pack enough food and water to last throughout the entire trip, advises travel blogger Lisa Niver.
5. Be flexible and stay positive
There are a lot of variables when it comes to a family vacation, and they can often cause a lot of tension between parents. But you can prevent this by remaining positive and being flexible, as well as being prepared for things to change unexpectedly.
6. Give your toddler an aquarium experience
If you’re taking a family vacation with a toddler, consider visiting an aquarium to get them acquainted with sea life. This can help them understand what they are seeing, learn about the basics of marine biology and make new friends.
7. Go on a nature adventure
If your family is heading to the beach, don’t forget a visit to a nature scavenger hunt and a swim with fish. Or maybe head to a wildlife refuge where you can see the native species of the island and meet rescued birds in a secluded habitat.
8. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Whether you need to hire a porter to carry your bags, a babysitter to watch the kids or you’re planning on spending some quality time with your spouse, there are ways to make your vacation feel less stressful and more relaxed without breaking the bank.