A Stress-Free, Family Vacation? It's Possible
OK, maybe that title overpromises just a bit! After all, when a group with a wide range of ages and personalities vacations together, some stress is almost inevitable. But a little advance planning can help make everything go a lot smoother than you might expect. Here's what you should keep in mind before you go on a trip.
1. Cater to everyone's interests
But here's how to have a foolproof vacation: Once you've decided on a destination, have every member of the family write down what they want to do there, whether it's learning to paddleboard, or going on a long hike, or seeing the world's largest ball of twine.
Armed with that information, you can then create an itinerary by doing exactly what members want, merging certain activities that are similar or trying some things that are completely new to everyone. This wish list will let everyone feel their desires have been heard, and they'll be more likely to enjoy other's recommendations.
2. Take weather into account
But for children and even teenagers, who aren't paying the bills, this might cause more moodiness and meltdowns. So for multigenerational trips I recommend sticking to the high season — or close to it.
3. Schedule alone time
Note: At the beginning of the trip there's always that period when everyone is trying to be polite and won't break away. Be the first to say "Well, I'm taking a snooze." Everyone will appreciate you taking the lead.
4. Steal away with the youngsters
5. Decide who's paying
Condominiums are also a cost-saving way to create some budget wiggle room. You might even consider getting two condos so you can separate the reserved from the rambunctious. There are a number of rental websites to help you choose the perfect house, condo or apartment, including Vacation Rentals by Owner, Home Away and airbnb.
6. Get a group photo with everyone in it
As for you, you'll look across those faces and remember the colicky all-nighters, the new-school struggles, the first time you gave them the car keys (and didn't breathe until they made it back home safely), the financial worries, the trips to the emergency room.
"Say cheese!" someone will say, and the smile will come easy as a wave of memories washes over you with one clear message: This is what life is all about.