Family vacations are fun and exciting; however, the logistics that come along with traveling can often add stress. Planning, packing, and prepping for the “perfect trip” can make one question whether or not it’s even worth it. Add extended family into the mix, and things can get even more crazy and complicated. My husband and I recently took a beach trip with our families; ten people ranging in ages from ten months to eighty-five. Even the closest of families will likely have a few moments of tension, and if yours is anything like mine, you may have several of those moments. To keep things as smooth as possible, here are a few tips to minimize the tension so everyone can have a great time and enjoy the vacation with the people they love most.
Discuss the Finances
Address the elephant in the room upfront. Making memories can come with a hefty price tag. Disney anyone?!? A surefire way to dampen a great vacation is the awkwardness that comes with not knowing who’s footing the bill. If you discuss ahead of time who will be contributing to what parts of the trip, it will save lots of headache. Once the budget is established, a simple way of handling all money situations is to put one person in charge of paying for everything. Others can then immediately pay their portion back via Venmo or PayPal.
Include Something for Everyone
When vacationing with a large group, the entire family may not be happy 100% of the time, but that’s okay! One way to try to satisfy everyone is to plan at least one activity each person will enjoy. This may mean splitting up and letting grandparents take one child to one activity, while mom and dad head to do something else with the other kids. For instance, we included lots of pool time for our two-year-old, while our teenage son chose parasailing with dad and grandpa. Vacations, like real life, aren’t perfect; however, planning something for everyone will go a long way toward making the vacation more enjoyable for the whole family.
Relax and Have Fun
The most important tip is to live in the moment and enjoy your vacation. It will seem like it takes forever for your trip to finally get here, but in the blink of an eye, it will be over, and you will be back to reality. Yes, you will get on each other’s nerves. Your parents will make one to many “well-intentioned” comments about your parenting. Things may not always go according to plan, and you may need to take a moment for yourself. That’s okay. Do your best to relax and spend your time making wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.