Taking a trip is supposed to be fun, but travelling with the whole family can have challenges of its own, especially if you have children of different ages.
Making sure everyone is having fun means a lot of compromise, while at the same time you have to ensure that you leave time as adults for your own activities and relaxation.
Trip planning is sometimes difficult, but if you take some simple steps and make the right plans, it can be enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some tips for traveling with the whole family.
Tips for Traveling with the Whole Family
Plan Something for Everyone
No matter where you vacation, you won’t normally have time to partake in all of the activities available. The key is to let each person in the family choose one thing they would like to do, and be sure to plan that into the trip.
Under ideal circumstances, there will be some overlap between individual interests, and so one activity will serve more than one need.
This also means that everyone must understand that there will be times when they are doing something that is not necessarily on their list, but for everyone to be satisfied, they will have to compromise and do the things other family members want to do as well.
Go through your itinerary as a family before hand, so that everyone knows the activities you have planned. That way everyone has time to offer feedback, and there are no surprises, and no complaints!
Split up if Need Be
This is where it is essential for parents and adults on the trip to be flexible. Sometimes the best way to get the most from your vacation is to split up temporarily.
You may find yourself in the situation where two activities can take place at the same time, and splitting up means those who don’t want to participate in one or the other will not be forced to do so.
The philosophy that everyone needs to stay together does not necessarily hold true on family vacations, especially if you are in the same resort or area. You can save a lot of stress by splitting up at times in order to fit in more activities and keep everyone satisfied.
Plan for Surprises
Let’s be honest – even the best laid plans go awry. Inevitably, there will be some sort of surprise on your trip. The joys of travel are that flights can be delayed, reservations messed up, the right rental car can be unavailable. So you need to plan for these things.
Adopting a flexible mindset and having a contingency plan is a great idea. You should also consider travel insurance, just in case you have to cancel all or part of your trip. That way the impact will not be financial as well.
While you can’t always plan for surprises, you can have a good backup plan in place. Have alternate lodging, rental car, and even flight plans in the back of your mind. If you are driving, plan alternate routes just in case of inclement weather or other issues.
Choose the Right Destination
Choosing where to go is a tricky proposition under even the best of circumstances. Some of your children may love the beach and the ocean, while others might be more into amusement parks and roller coasters.
Finding the right mix for everyone can be a challenge, but it’s essential to a great family holiday. A couple of things in choosing the right destination might be:
Family friendly resorts have a variety of activities that might meet the needs or wants of the entire family. They can also have some of those supervised activities that allow for adult time.
Consider Vacation Packages
Destination packages often include tickets to local attractions, a variety of activities, and even some transportation options. These involve less planning on your part and often reduce stress.
Remember the Season
What time of year is it, and what kind of activities are available? Be sure this aligns with what you and your family wants to get out of the trip.
If you need help in choosing the right destination, enlist the help of a travel agent or a professional. They will know what is open and not open in the off season, what you can expect, and the challenges you might face.
For instance, you don’t want to travel in winter if the whole family is dying to get to the beach.
Depending on the timing of your vacation and how set you are on a particular destination, being flexible can make a big difference in both enjoyment and cost.
The more flexible your dates are and whether or not you are able to fly into different airports or change your plans even slightly, the more likely your vacation will go smoothly.
Also, leave time for downtime and simple relaxation. Extra time between activities can mean the difference between a stressful itinerary and a more relaxing transition.
The key is to not over plan or over schedule. Keep your schedule as fluid as possible. Be flexible in your activities on the trip as well, and it will be much more enjoyable for everyone.
Where did you go on your last family vacation? What are some useful tips you have for planning a vacation? Leave us a comment with your thoughts in the section below.
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