It’s wonderful to experience a vacation experience away from home with your family. Children as well as adults can be a challenge to travel and spend time with. Anticipate the 10 worst things about a family vacation in order to prevent them from happening; or at least avert them by preparing a solution ahead of time. It is assumed that you are the coordinator or a strong decision-maker of your family vacation.
Imagine 7 people traveling by air. You each walk through the airport with two bags each, one to check and one to carry on. At least one of your family members is very young, so that means another family member will be stuck pulling 3 bags. Solution: You must put strict limitations on how much each family member can pack. Try to fit as much as possible in the bags that will be checked. Try to pack two people per large bag (check on the airline website for the industry standards) and limit the carry on bags to just a couple, just to carry a laptop or necessities.
Now imagine those 7 people being taken aside in the security area to have their carry-on bags, purses and laptops inspected one by one. You end up leaving something, like a pair of sunglasses, a belt, etc. because there are so many bags on the table, and you’re just trying to gather your things in a semblance of a calm and organized manner. Solution: If you limit your carry on bags, you won’t have a lot of bags that need to be inspected. Make sure you arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight.
The problem with traveling with a lot of luggage doesn’t stop at the airport. Say you’ve rented a car and you have to ride on a shuttle to get to the car rental company. All of your bags have to be lugged on to the shuttle and then lugged back off. You will also need to rent a van large enough to accommodate the family members and the luggage. Solution: You will reduce the stress of lugging so many bags on and off and to and fro by limiting the amount of your luggage. Also, make sure you book the vehicle in advance to get the best price and to ensure availability.
Now you get to the hotel or the timeshare. Who sleeps where? Solution: If you require any additional sleeping accommodations, find out if the room has a pull-out couch or if you require cots, make sure you inform the hotel before you arrive. If a baby is traveling with you, you can ask the hotel to send a baby crib. You can bring your baby sheets from home so the room won’t feel so strange to the child. If you’ve never been there before and you don’t know what to expect, speak with your family ahead of time that you will have to check things out and figure out who sleeps where.
No one can agree on an activity. Everyone wants to do something different. Solution: Someone may have to compromise depending upon the size of your family and the length of your vacation stay. If you can fit more than one activity in a day, that may be one solution. This should be discussed beforehand or you will get some upset family members while on vacation. Ideally you can find an activity that all agree on and can enjoy together. If you take a family vacation, everyone’s opinion should be taken into account. Do not allow anyone to be a spoiled brat while on vacation.
Not everyone knows how to vacation. What is meant by this statement? Simply put, we do not all make the best of vacation time and enjoy it to its fullest, even if we cannot do everything we want to do. Solution: Speak with your family before leaving home; adults as well as the children. Let them know your purpose on this vacation. Is it to relax? Is it to have an exciting time and run, run, run, every day? Allow them to express their wishes for their expectations so they don’t feel left out when you reach your destination.
More money is spent on food when you’re on a family vacation. Solution: Prepare for this and figure it in your budget. If your stay is in a hotel room, you will need to rely on restaurants quite a bit. If your accommodations include a kitchen, you may want to purchase groceries to cook. Choose easy things to cook – no one wants to be a slave to the stove. The types of restaurants you want to visit may determine how many times you want to eat out.
No one can agree on a restaurant. Solution: First of all, you’ve hopefully discussed a budget with the family, which will determine how many times you can eat out and the price range of the meals. If no one will agree on a restaurant, you may want to put it to a vote. Whichever one gets the most votes, wins. However, qualify it by letting them know it must be something different while on vacation. Or perhaps you can settle on a restaurant with a buffet with food for everyone’s taste!
The children want to spend too much money on souvenirs. Solution: Give each child a budget for souvenirs. You will pay much more if you purchase them from a museum, an amusement park or hotel. There are quite a number of souvenir stores that sell them much more reasonably priced.
The children want to stay in the pool all day and all night. Solution: Children love the water and this is a tough one to avoid. Set aside at least one day that will allow them to stay in the pool as long as they want until they’re shriveled up like prunes! Choose a day you could use some rest and relaxation after seeing the sites, amusement parks or shopping.
Taking a family vacation can turn into a vacation from hell unless there is some control and structure. This type of vacation is not for any one individual; it is about a collective enjoyment of the time spent away from home with each other. Everyone must cooperate in order for this type of vacation to work. Avoid the 10 worst things about a family vacation. The key to make it work is to make your expectations clear from the beginning so there are no misunderstandings; and, above all, make sure to enjoy your vacation time – you deserve it after all of the work you put into planning it!