The entire point of a vacation is typically to have time to rest and recharge. It’s supposed to be an opportunity to stop going at a frantic pace, rewind and spend time with the ones you love. So why is that we so often go on vacation only to come back more stressed and tired than before? This can be especially true if you’re taking a family trip or traveling with kids.
Often we take so much time to plan for these trips, and we have huge expectations. Then, when we actually arrive at our destination, we may be feeling so much pressure to squeeze every conceivable activity in that it feels more like work than a vacation. There might also be the logistical problems that can come with traveling with family, such as meltdowns from the kids (or the adults). Of course, traveling with kids brings a whole other set of stress in general.
So, what can you do to make your next family vacation more peaceful and tranquil?
Find the Right Lodging for Your Needs
If you can find the right lodging for your family’s needs, it’s going to make everything else on your trip feel a lot smoother.
Consider some of your must-haves as your planning your trip. For example, are laundry facilities going to make you feel more relaxed or on the other hand like you’re overloaded with chores while you’re away?
What about choosing a hotel where the rooms have kitchenettes? This might make mornings easier if everyone can grab a quick bite and you can make a cup of coffee before you’re heading out. Maybe you want a room with just a refrigerator, or perhaps you want a dedicated kids’ program.
Whatever your essentials, identify them and use them as you’re planning your trip.
Create a Packing List
The more prepared you can be when you arrive at your destination, the less you’re going to have to do and think about when you’re supposed to be relaxing.
Create a family packing list, and start a few days or even weeks in advance so you can note something as it comes to you.
If you forget something important it can lead to an inconvenience, or depending on what it is, it can be a full-blown disaster.
You might want to keep a copy of the list for your next trip as well and make updates over time based on your previous trip experiences.
If you’re traveling, it’s tiring, and it can be especially difficult for kids. Even the most well-behaved kids are going to get tired and cranky if you push them too hard and try to cram too much in. Be realistic of what you can expect from your kids (and everyone in your travel group).
Don’t Over-Plan or Over-Schedule
Having some pre-planning in place can be logistically helpful. For example, if you can plan how you’ll travel when you arrive at your destination and have a general framework in place, it can make things go more smoothly.
If you overdo it on the planning and scheduling, however, everyone is going to feel rushed and bombarded. Maybe you plan one activity for each day of the trip, and leave the rest of the time for wandering around or truly unwinding.
Maybe you’re truly adventurous and have some time on your trip with no planned schedules or activities at all.
Ask for Your Kids Input
If you’re traveling with your kids, it can be tempting to try so hard to create an amazing experience and wonderful memories, but in the process, you might end up having frustrated kids. Why not ask them for their input?
Sometimes pleasing kids and ensuring they have a nice trip a well can be much simpler than you think. For example, maybe instead of buying the tickets to do every excursion available in your destination, your kids might be happier to go for a swim at your hotel.
Ask them, and you may be surprised what you find out.
Finally, prepare yourself for the fact that nothing goes entirely as planned. Things are going to go wrong on your family vacation—it’s inevitable. What’s not inevitable is that things going wrong ruin your trip. You can’t control everything but if you want a truly tranquil and peaceful trip, remember that you can control your response to things that happen.
Prepare yourself well in advance for something or maybe even multiple somethings not going as planned and also prepare yourself to let it go when this does occur.