Pack your bags – it’s time for a family vacation. School is out, the sun is high and the road is calling. Let’s channel our inner Clark Griswold so we can enjoy the summer sun. Here are five things to think about should you be planning a family vacation of your own:
- What do they want to do? Too often we plan things that only we love – say a baseball game? Well what else can you squeeze in that the whole family can truly enjoy? Do a Google search for phrases like, “Family activities in San Francisco” and just swap the city for your destination of choice. Sure squeeze in a fly-fishing trip, but make sure you think of others too!
- Budget: it is easy to go over budget on vacation – believe me. Don’t make that mistake. Plan for meals out – sometimes 3X a day, snacks, water, tickets to attractions, gas, tips, hotels, rentals, etc. Many little surprises pop up on vacation – be prepared and make sure you have emergency cash on hand.
- It will not be perfect: I think most vacation stress and arguments come from a desire to be perfect, to achieve a moment or vision that was had for the time together. It is great to have that vision, but like Clark Griswold taught us in several films, things will inevitably go wrong. But what he also taught us – in the end of almost every film, it’s about the family and making the best of what you can.
- Multi-generational vacations can be awesome: Grandparents! They are awesome, don’t have one – bring an Uncle or Aunt. I have to say, making memories with my parents on my last vacation was more fun than the vacation. Not only do they love your kids, but they are a great hand and if you have a spouse or partner, you can catch a date! Now – don’t bring them to babysit, include them in your activities and spend time making new memories!
- Make time to connect: Inevitably technology invades our life and our vacations. So make time to connect. Go offline, as a family, do things that require engagement and teamwork to enjoy. Or go somewhere where technology and outlets can’t follow – like the woods. Either way, don’t go on vacation and avoid each other. This is a great time to have long conversations, talk about life and dream with your family.
The bottom line – plan but don’t obsess. The key to vacation is realizing that it is a VACATION! Sleep in, rest, have fun, talk and always enjoy the journey – it can be much more fun than the destination!
Hungry for more tips? Here is more advanced reading:
AAA has some great tips for a road trip: http://exchange.aaa.com/automobiles-travel/automobiles/holiday-road-trip-travel-tips/
Mint.com has some tips for the budget process: http://www.mint.com/blog/how-to/how-to-plan-your-family-vacation-on-a-budget-0413/
Disney’s Family.com has a SLEW of tips for many categories:
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