Taking your family on vacation can be either a marvelous experience or a nightmare come to life. The difference is in the planning. Do your research beforehand so you know what options are available to you. The time you spend thinking through the best choices for your family will be amply rewarded by a happy, low-stress vacation.
If you want the whole family to enjoy the vacation, involve the whole family in the planning. Give your children choices about where they can go and take their preferences seriously. The last thing you want to do is submit your child to five days in a place where he or she is miserable. Get your children excited about the trip by talking to them about what will happen and what they’ll see, allowing them to ask you questions about the upcoming vacation, and encouraging them to do their own research about the destination on the internet or at the library.
Take care of all necessary reservations and ticketing in advance. Do you need vaccinations? Do your passports need updating? Have you alerted the airline that you’ll be bringing a pet? How about the hotel, is it kid friendly? All these questions should be considered when planning the family vacation. If you are left to settle these affairs with the children in tow, your stress level will increase and your patience will disappear.
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Decide which mode of transportation is best for your vacation. Do you want to drive? Is there a plane trip in the plans? How about a long train ride? Research the available options and choose the best one. The mode of transportation is a vital part of the vacation and will set the tone for the children. If they’re bored during the first leg of the journey, they may not enjoy the rest of the trip either.
Remember that a vacation is meant to be fun and rejuvenating. If no one is relaxed, then what’s the point? Try to plan some family-bonding activities as well as some individual activities. Allow each family member to do something they enjoy at least once and try to entertain the children with alternative activities if the current ones don’t suit them. Some travel options even allow parents and kids to do separate activities so that everyone can do what they enjoy without being bored. A schedule is a good thing, but a regimented one with no flexibility will cause stress.