Well, family vacation time is here! Yay! Most parents will admit “togetherness” can be somewhat stressful. That’s ok because I’ve got some pretty great tips for surviving a family vacation.

Tip #1) Make time for your own kind of fun

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So I know that family vacations are made for spending quality time together.  BUT, and this is very important , find some time (even if it’s only 20 mins.), to do what you like to do.  Crack open that romance novel you brought along for the past 5 years but have never made the time to read.  It is vital to the peacefulness of your family vacation to take a few minutes, here and there, for yourself.

Tip #2)  Leave plenty of time to get where you need to be

Remembering those trips when you were stressed out, the kids were stressed out and the family couldn’t get into gear when it came time to leave, will give you shivers!. You really want to take your time, so plan to leave an hour before you need to. Then, when things aren’t exactly going well, you know you have extra time. It is also wise to avoid the peak traffic hours if you can.  Your family will relax more if you leave with plenty of time to get to your destination.

Tip #3)  Take LOTS of Photos

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Trust me when I say, “ Take tons of pics!” Your family will recall happy memories from the photos taken on vacation.  It doesn’t take much effort these days.  Everyone has a camera phone and such.  Collect souvenirs (not gift shop items unless you plan to bring the grandparents a souvenir).  Take photos of where your family is, the surroundings, things like that.  Create a scrapbook, put photos up around the house, etc.

Tip #4)  Take time to stretch out and exercise

Just because your on vacation doesn’t mean you should drop your exercise.  It’s energizing and gets people happy when the serotonin is kept active.  Believe it or not, exercising on vacation will help everyone de-stress, relax and promote a better sleep.  It doesn’t have to be strenuous. Just take a walk or go for a bike ride. Simple!

Tip #5)  Limit technology

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Other then taking pictures, there should be NO electronics during vacation.  This is family time.  I see lots of families who sit around the campsite with their eyes all gazing on their ipods or phones.  Take the time to interact with each other, talk to one another.  Your family may find each other interesting and even have a good time listening to family chatter.

Tip #6)  Allow for everybody’s temperaments

Planning the trip with everybody’s dispositions and skill sets in mind can prevent bad behavior and grumpiness from both the kids and adults. Some may need a bed to themselves . Others need breaks from traffic or stretch time. Flexibility to adjust to all personalities can help the trip go smoothly.

Tip #7)  If it’s a long drive or plane ride bring a busy bag

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This is essential when you have little ones.  Toddlers and small children will NOT sit still if it’s a long drive or plane ride.  So to fix this, bring a busy bag with snacks, drinks and things to keep them occupied.  It could be books, games, iPad, etc.  Without a busy bag, you will be stressed out before you get there!

Tip #8) Individual Toiletry Bags

This idea is marvelous! You can use large zip-loc bags with names on them when you are camping or using community showers.  Everyone can have their own washcloths, toothbrushes, etc.

Tip #9)  Create a Packing and Re Packing List

This is good for those who forget things to bring that are essential, (I’m one of those people).  This ensures that everything you need will be there.  The Re-packing list is also helpful for keeping track of your things so you won’t leave stuff behind.

Tip #10)  Pack Healthy Snacks

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I do know vacations are meant for chilling out and breaking from routines. But keep nutrition a priority. If you pack nothing but unhealthy snacks, the extra sugar isn’t going to make for a happy family on the way, during or on the return trip.

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Written by Cleo Neufeld

Cleo Neufeld

Before meeting the love of her life, Cleo was a single mother to a beautiful little girl for many years. She shares her expertise in single parenting, building a relationship, living on a budget and more.