Everyone wants something different from a vacation. Relaxation, adventure, exploration, history, or some combination of everything. It’s challenging enough to get a group to agree on ways to spend a vacation, but when you’re putting one together for your family, that’s a whole new ball game. Adults and children have different needs as is, but not all kids are the same (or adults for that matter), and if you have children who are at different stages, that can make things all the more challenging. Variety is key for a family vacation. Follow these tips to plan the perfect get away.
First and foremost, to accommodate everyone, you may be tempted to throw money at the problem and sign up for all kinds of organized tours that drive your budget deep into the ground. Don’t do that. There are ways to make everyone happy without spending your life savings. Think about what your family members have in common, what’s your vacation common denominator? There’s something everyone enjoys, no doubt. So, figure that out, set a budget, and stick to it.
Children need to run around. Adults need to breath for a moment without a precious little one using them as a human jungle gym. So it’s a good idea to choose a place where there’s space for kids to run around somewhere, or an adult can go take a walk. That goes for your lodging, too. It’s not that you need to book at the Ritz, see above about budgeting, but find a hotel room that doesn’t mean everyone is cooped up with nowhere to go in the evenings.
Be Supportive, Get Support
Depending on how many humans are embarking, make sure you have another adult with you. Be it a spouse, a partner, a parent, a sibling, a best friend with their own child, make sure there is someone to share the burden. Divide and conquer is the name of the game. One child wants to get the fancy hot chocolate while the other wants to see dinosaur bones, there’s no reason the family can’t split up. This way, no one’s cranky, and everyone’s happy. Also, if you need a break, having a companion might allow you to go see that impressionist exhibit your kids have no interest in. It’s supposed to be a vacation for everyone, and that includes you.
Go Some Place Diverse
The actual destination needs to cater to everyone. Beach or ski resorts are great vacations for families because there are classes, lessons, and even babysitting services to take advantage of. That means you can have a dinner date, or go down the water slide with your daughter, and your son can play basketball with other kids. The fees tend to be all inclusive so once you pay, you don’t have to worry about the money racking up, which is pretty nice.
Renting a house on a lake or by the beach is a good idea, too, as water sports are fun for everyone. Think sailing, kayaking, waterskiing, swimming, paddle boarding, or just laying out on the beach with a book. It’s a good way to keep the cash in control since you’re going to cook most of your meals and there aren’t any crazy resort fees. Make sure to bring puzzles, cards, books, and movies in case it rains!
Camping makes for great family vacation because it’s in nature, and everyone can do all the activities – fishing, kayaking, hiking, setting up camp, and cooking are all things you do during a camping trip. The idea is to find something in which it’s not just catered to children, so you aren’t bored, or adults, so your children aren’t bored, either.
At some point everyone is going to have to do something they don’t want to do, and they’re not going to see or do something they had their heart set on. This goes for all parties involved. Set expectations, make sure everyone knows before the trip that you can’t do it all. Each evening go over what’s happening the following day, and that way everything makes sense and it’s understood that the day was structured for everyone.
Have you had any great family vacations? What did you do?