A family vacation is a time for bonding and exploring. But even the most well-planned trip doesn’t always turn out as envisioned. Kids may act out, adults may bicker and everyone’s favorite distractions can get in the way of real connection. Fortunately, there are ways to help your next family getaway be more fun and relaxing than you’d expect.
When your daily lives are filled with balancing work and household responsibilities, it’s easy to forget that you actually live with people you love. Family vacations can bring that realization back in full force. Whether you’re jetting to an international destination or road-tripping to your neighboring state, the experience of spending quality time with loved ones fosters connection that lasts long after your return home.
Despite their reputation as being expensive and time-consuming, family trips can be an incredible investment in your relationship with your kids and spouse. Studies have shown that children who grow up with frequent experiences with their parents are less likely to struggle with depression, anxiety and other stressors as adults. Plus, it’s not uncommon for parents to remember the fun of their own childhood vacations with their families as some of their fondest memories.
No matter their age, family vacations provide a much-needed break from the stressors that inevitably crop up in everyone’s life. Whether it’s the worry over finances or the anxiety of juggling school, work and home responsibilities, daily stress can take a toll on both adults and kids. Vacations offer a respite from the everyday, which can improve everyone’s mood and help them better cope with stress when they return to their normal routines.
Family vacations provide an opportunity for you and your kids to bond over shared interests like food, adventure or sports. For example, a family skiing vacation in Switzerland or a hiking trip to the Grand Canyon are great options for those who enjoy outdoor activities. Even a simple beach trip can be a great bonding experience, with the sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Jamaica being particularly popular amongst family travelers.
If you have a little thrill-seeker in your family, theme park vacations can be an amazing choice. Theme parks offer a huge selection of rides that cater to different interests, which allows them to let their imaginations run wild and provides them with an unforgettable experience. It’s also a good way to keep teens away from their phones, as they will probably be too busy riding roller coasters to check out social media.
If you have young kids, consider preparing a “vacation book” before your trip. This is a simple idea that lets them add pictures of each day’s activities to a book that can be kept in their room. This gives them something to look forward to and helps them feel more prepared for the trip. It can also help them warm up to unfamiliar relatives who they might not see often. They’ll be more likely to open up if they know their cousins are excited about hanging out with them.