Family travel is a fun and exhausting endeavor.
When you’re headed out on a family trip, it can be exciting to explore new places, but keeping everyone happy can be a challenge. I have a few tips for keeping everyone happy so you can all enjoy your trip.
My advice comes from a place of experience making most of these mistakes myself or seeing them play out with my clients. Our vacation time is precious, and we owe it to ourselves to make it as peaceful as possible. Here are my top 5 tips for keeping everyone happy on the family trip.
Don’t over plan.
Resist the urge to make an Excel spreadsheet of your entire day that everyone follows. If you must do so, I recommend you keep it to yourself. Over planning your vacation or each day of your vacation will quickly lead to burnout. I know that for many of you Type A mamas, Excel spreadsheets bring you joy. The reality is that plans may not always pan out exactly as you hope and that is perfectly okay. So have a wish list or itinerary of what you want to do, be on time for anything you have already reserved and know that you may not “do it all.” An over programmed day can lead to the dreaded overstimulation for everyone. You don’t want to burn out on your first day of vacation and believe me it can happen.
Take rest breaks.
Sometimes enjoying travel looks like a nap or just down time in your hotel, rental home, or RV. Personally, I enjoy those quiet moments while my family naps and I fuel up for the rest of my day with an iced coffee. If you are traveling in the summer months, mother nature usually forces us to take a break during an afternoon thunderstorm. Some destinations are just as much fun in the evening as they are during the day. Taking an hour or two to recharge might mean a lovely dinner and evening stroll to get ice cream.
Keep everyone fed and hydrated
Speaking of food, for some reason when we travel, we forget to feed ourselves. A full belly is the key to happiness, more patience, and an overall better day. Snacks are always part of my pre-travel packing. I never leave home without a few of our favorites. Taking breaks for food and water are just as important as the active moments of your day and sometimes they can be just as memorable. I always recommend one sit down meal a day while on vacation. This allows parents at least one guaranteed meal that you will enjoy sitting at a table.
Don’t be afraid to split up.
If you are a large family or traveling with other friends or family there is no need to stick together at all times. Sometimes activities are occurring at the same time and the group has to split up to address different interests. The good news is you planned a great restaurant for dinner, because you took the time to include meals, and there is a great discussion about your experiences over a delicious meal.
Choose travel companions wisely.
We have all been there. You have a best friend or a family member that you get along great with and you decide to travel together only to find out that aside from getting along well for a few hours at a time, you have very different philosophies on how to spend your day. Maybe you are an early riser, and they like to sleep in late. Maybe you are a planner, and they like to be spontaneous. Nothing will ruin a vacation faster than travel companions who don’t see eye to eye. I think traveling with friends and family can be a lot of fun and memorable. I also know there are some people who I would rather just spend time with when I get back home.