Family vacations are something you’ll remember for the rest of your life, and if everything goes right, you’ll have the most fun you’ve had in a long while. However, planning for that vacation is a whole different story and it can be a source of a lot of stress.
But it doesn’t have to be.
There are ways you can make the planning go smoothly and if you follow these tips, you will feel like the planning is just as much a part of the relaxing holiday itself.
Here’s what you should do.
Add Two Days
This might sound like a lot to sacrifice, but you’ll thank me later. You need to have one extra vacation day at the beginning and end of your holiday. This can either be done by taking the extra days off work or making your vacation two days shorter to accommodate for the two days. The first day you are going to need to get everything together. If you are scrambling late at night and early in the morning before a trip, you are most definitely going to forget something. Having a whole day to do nothing but prepare will do wonders for the process and relieve you of any stress you might have.
The day after the trip is equally as important: you don’t want to come home one night and have to go to work the very next morning. You want a day to unpack, put everything in its place, prepare the kids for school tomorrow and do all the little things that you would normally do the night before a workday. If you can only spare one day, make it the day after the vacation, and delegate the preparation process over a couple of days to make sure you have the time in between your tasks.
There is no reason why one person should be doing everything. Your kids can pack their own bags, and you can print off a pre-made list of things they have to bring so that they can check it off. If they are too young to pack for themselves, have them pick out the outfits they’d like to bring and lay them out on the bed, to make packing easier for you. Make sure you have a plan among the adults to make sure everyone knows what they should be doing and that nothing is being done twice. One time while I was preparing for a cross-country trip through Australia with my family, we didn’t have enough time to do everything, so we made full use of the services that were available to us. We had a local mechanic from Perth come to our home to check the car, we had the grocery store deliver the sandwich ingredients to our doorstep, and had the dog picked up instead of dropping him off at the puppy daycare. Delegation is everything, so use it to your maximum capacity.
Make Sure You Stay Healthy
There’s really nothing worse than becoming ill on a trip. So a few weeks before your trip make sure you are doing everything you can to stay healthy. Make sure your diet is nutritious, and if you’re unsure whether you’re getting enough of the good stuff, there’s no harm in taking a few vitamin supplements to boost your immune system. Avoid meeting with anyone who’s been ill recently and if you need to take some shots as a precaution for the place you’re visiting, do it a few weeks in advance to make sure any potential symptoms go away on time.
Find The Right Spot
Long before you’re packing up to leave, you need to choose the right spot for a vacation. You don’t want to risk taking your kids to a place that isn’t exactly child-friendly and where they can’t be themselves. Look carefully at accommodation opportunities as well as things to do in the city. If you really want to visit a museum, does it have a rule that says kids can skip the line, and do they have a kid-friendly program at all? Or why not look out for things that are unique to that city, telling the kids that you’re going to travel to Riverside by party bus sounds way more exciting than a normal bus ride. Plan all of those things in advance, so that you’re not stuck in a city with nothing to do. Unless that’s your plan, in which case, bring a lot of entertainment for both outdoor and indoor fun with the kids.
Short & Sweet
Kids get bored. This is why timing the vacation is crucial. You want to have enough time for your kids to become familiar and comfortable in your new environment, but you also want to leave before they get bored and start to miss home. Somewhere between five days and two weeks is the sweet spot, depending on how old your kids are. Remember, it’s better to take a short vacation and leave wishing you could stay some more than to overstay and can’t wait to get home. The latter will completely ruin your perception of the whole vacation and send you home with a bitter taste in your mouth.
Having a family vacation is great, but planning it in advance and staying organised during the trip are the two things you should be focused on to make sure everything goes well.