Family vacation getaways can be one of the greatest experiences in a family. Some of the best memories (and snapshots) are created during family visits to the beach, theme parks, or historical parks or museums just hanging out having fun.
Family vacations are known for bonding times but they’re perhaps as equally well known for being stressful times. So, how do you make sure that those memories are all good? Here are some surprisingly simple tips for keeping your family smiling at your next Family Vacation.
1. Think through your Family vacation getaway carefully
Sara and her husband have always taken their children to the Bahamas for their honeymoon. Two weeks before they were scheduled to fly out to the Bahamas, in June, they received a call from their travel agent offering them a seven-night stay at the Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island.
“We had no idea it would be that spectacular,” says Sara. “The kids loved it immediately when we arrived and every day there was something new to do. We didn’t have to buy anything because everything was there. We used the dining room for lunch and dinner. We watched a politician debate and listened to the news.”
Tom and Sara were immediately sold on the Atlantis trip. “It was well worth the cost and the kids thoroughly enjoyed the helicopter tours over the island. We were lucky to get tickets in advance through our travel agent we were at the opening ceremony – in Little Haiti. We had a great time during the hurricane and four nights at the Sheraton gave us a great low budget destination,” says Tom.
2. Don’t forget to include a day at the Beach
Jody and her husband rebuilt her family beach house and she hasn’t looked back. Her priority is to get her children into local sports cars so they can play near their old home. She has been surprised by how many other families with children are doing the same. Her children’s friends are all doing the same.
3. Keep a family beach bag in your carry on
That way you won’t have to unload a bunch of luggage each time you have to fly. Keep a bag with the kids that includes their favorite teddy, their favorite pillow, or their favorite handheld video game (which some airports do not allow in carry-ons).
4. Don’t be a Frenemy
Tom and his wife have been watching sitcoms with their kids for years. ” ‘Blossom’ was their favorite,” he says, pointing to their Livestar speedometer. “It’s not a blend, but in the Mayan calendar it shows December.”
Because they are suburban parents, they don’t get travel insurance, and they are paying a lot of money for travel that they don’t need. Now that cruise lines offer business class cabins that have a family space for the parents, they seem to be bucking the trend.
5. Avail of the pre-planned kids’ trips
Try to plan trips that the family can finish earlier. Salsa classes are a good option. Once the children are burning up and it’s time for the movie, you can divide the night into several smaller trips, all of which can be finished by the afternoon. If the children need a nap, have a night’s rest at home so you can be mosquito bites and cold in the afternoon.
6. Stop at Starbucks
One of the best parts of a vacation is being able to sit back with the kids and have a cup of coffee or have a kid’s drink. Resort life is built around keeping families happy and entertained, so stop by early in the evening and watch one of their famous Happy Hour beverages.
7. Assign the entertainment
Will you be able to squeeze entertainment during the 11-mile round-trip drive? Be creative and decide on your favorites. “We have an ongoing theme for one of our trips,” relates Bradley. “It’s been a long time since our last trip, so we wanted to create our theme. Doing the whole thing on a car trip allows us to see a lot of interesting places we haven’t seen before. It’s great fun to have a beverages cruise around the country.”
So, to quote that wise head of the class, “There is no such thing as too much sightseeing in San Francisco – it’s just there is so much to see too.”