We believe that traveling together as a family can be one of the most rewarding and amazing ways to bring your family closer together, reconnect, and enrich your children’s education. However, we also know that having a stress-free family vacation can be challenging. Although family vacations can be a little frustrating at times, they allow you to create unforgettable memories and lasting experiences. Whether you plan to go to the beach, the mountains, or even the big city, you can take a memorable family vacation that is low-stress and fun for everyone. Here are our top tips to reduce stress on your next family vacation.
“Sometimes You Will Never Know The Value Of A Moment Until It Becomes Memory” Dr. Seuss
1. Plan ahead
Planning is a very important part of any vacation. Take into account the individual needs of your children. Prepare yourself with the items that will be necessary to take care of them while on vacation ahead of time.
For example, if your four-year-old takes naps, bring along the stuffed animal they sleep with at home as their “comfort” item. For your teen, ensure they have their favorite hand-held electronic device to pass the travel time. while on long flights or car rides but limit their access to ensure they actively participate in all the activities. Bring items to keep the children entertained in the evenings at the hotel and while on the road. Activity books and trivia cards can come in very handy.
2. Set up a flexible schedule for each vacation day
When you have a day-to-day plan, kids can look forward to things they want to do. Plan a special kid activity for each day.
Work in an hour or so of swimming in the hotel’s pool each day or going to play miniature golf. Exercise keeps stress levels low and expends excess energy, especially for kids. Think of playtime as a de-compression time for children that allows them to have a relaxing family vacation.
To see some sights, consider taking a private tour with a private guide and driver. When you have a professional guide and driver the entire family can relax and take in the sights and attractions. Private tours remove the stress that can accompany navigating a new city and keep children entertained and engaged.
While we may want to squeeze in as many amazing activities and experiences as possible remember that children get tired and overstimulated. Visiting just one museum or planning one structured per day may be your best bet. If it rains on a day you planned to go to the water park, switch to another day’s plans to see a movie or do another indoor activity.
Also, every third or fourth day, plan an easy day where you sleep late, hang out at the hotel, or take short walks around the area. Planning low-stress and relaxing days will allow your children to enjoy the activities and structured time without feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
3. Expect the unexpected
It’s a positive experience for kids to learn that, sometimes, even the best planning does not guarantee perfection. Travel can be affected by many things outside of your control that can impede your odds of a stress-free family vacation.
Don’t let weather, delayed flights, hotel errors, and other unforeseen events ruin your time. Talk to your kids in advance about these unplanned possibilities and use them as a teaching moment. Overcoming obstacles during travel is a great way to prepare your children for the obstacles they will face in their lives.
4. Delegate responsibilities to each child
Maybe your twelve-year-old can be assigned to keep the eight-year-old occupied while at the airport. Or your teen can be in charge of watching over the parent’s luggage when they go to the restroom or magazine shop before take-off. Engaging and involving them will make them feel a sense of accomplishment and result in a more positive experience for everyone.
5. Brain-storm problem-solving strategies before travel
Ask your nine-year-old Jack what he can do to ensure his fourteen-year-old sister, Kathy gets along well with him. Talk to Kathy about what she might do to keep Jack happy and ensure a relaxing family vacation. Tell your kids that you’re counting on them to make the trip as enjoyable as possible.
Plan activities that are engaging and stimulating for the kids and allow you to connect as a family. Cooking classes, biking tours, and treasure hunts can be incorporated into almost any trip.
6. Change things up and plan surprises
Whether you’re flying, taking a train, or traveling by car, switch up the seating every half-day or so. Sit in the back seat with your five-year-old daughter while your eleven-year-old son sits in the front with Dad until lunch. Then, change seats after lunch. Consistent seat-changing can freshen up conversations and ease tensions between the kids. Mixing things up will improve your odds of having a stress-free family vacation.
Surprises delight kids! Pack new and unseen items for each child to thrill and distract them from the monotony of travel. Trinkets like sticker books for younger kids, word puzzles for eight- to twelve-year-olds, and magazines for teens help the time pass.
A book about a child’s favorite subjects or even a new game for their hand-held device can be a godsend when stress starts to trickle in.
7. Consider bringing help
No matter how organized and efficient you are in planning your family vacation, occasional hiccups will happen. Consider bringing along family members such as grandparents to provide a helping hand and create wonderful multi-generational memories together. Grandparents can babysit for a night and allow parents to have a quiet dinner or entertain the kids for a few hours during the day so that the parents can take in a museum, show or connect as a couple.
Bringing along a babysitter or nanny is also an option for some families. If you cannot bring an extra set of hands of vacation consider hiring a babysitter for a few evenings to provide respite and alone time. Most luxury hotels will have reputable and vetted childcare services readily available, but planning ahead is always a good idea.
8. Spend time outdoors and immerse in the local culture
Spending time outdoors is one of the best ways for kids to burn energy, enjoy their new surroundings, and explore a new destination. Plan hikes, bike rides, walks, and visits to parks and gardens. Incorporating culturally immersive activities will also get the kids interested in learning about the destination they are visiting.
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Apply these tips for a stress-free family vacation. Boutique Travel Advisors is a full service, luxury travel agency. We specialize in creating bespoke itineraries for discerning clients around the world. Please visit our website or call 480-787-1477 to speak with a dedicated travel expert.