Summer break is upon us, and for some of us, that means vacation. However, if you’ve ever traveled with your family, you know that it isn’t always fun and games. In fact, it can be quite stressful. In this blog, we are going to offer some tried-and-true tips to make your vacation relaxing and enjoyable for the whole family.
Tip 1: Plan ahead. But first …
Over 200 years ago, poet Robert Burns warned us that, “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” He wasn’t talking about family vacations, but he very well could have been. Keep in mind that no matter what expectations you have for your trip, there is a good possibility they won’t all be met. The key is to be flexible and to “go with the flow,” making the best out of every situation and recognizing that hardly anything goes 100% as planned.
Now that you are feeling a bit less pressure to make things perfect, choose a vacation that has something for everyone. Ask for destination and activity input from the whole family and take it all into consideration. Even if the place has already been chosen (such as a week-long trip to Grandma’s in upstate New York), discuss visiting nearby attractions that everyone will enjoy. This could be anything from a fishing pond to an amusement park.
Tip 2: Prepare to travel.
Whether you are taking a plane, train, or automobile, set some ground rules for behavior during the ride or it won’t be just your little travelers who keep asking, “Are we there yet?” Bring blankets and pillows for naps and travel games for entertainment. If you have a portable device that plays movies, pack it along with family-favorite shows and films. Sets of headphones are great to avoid fighting over the radio. And last but not least, healthy snacks and drinks are a must!
Tip 3: Turn the technology off … sometimes.
While you may be tempted to strive for a technology-free vacation, your children and even you adults, may not be on that same page — and that’s okay. However since a family vacation is meant to bring everyone together, make sure to have plenty of group activities planned or even just times to connect as a family that don’t require screen time.
Tip 4: Allow for downtime.
Sometimes you need a vacation to relax after your vacation — and that’s okay too. However, don’t push yourself or your children to keep “having fun” until it becomes no fun at all. Sure, some gentle encouragement to participate in things may be necessary from time to time, but remember that the vacation is for everyone and there are no rules on how active you should all be. In fact, downtime is great and often quite necessary. And if the technology comes out during the downtime, so be it. Also remember that the time you spend together on vacation might be much greater than your together-time during months of work and school, so be mindful of allowing moments for privacy as well.
Everyone here in the Archdiocese of Hartford Catholic school community wishes you and your family great times and safe travels over summer vacation!
What are some suggestions you have for surviving the family vacation? Let us know on our social media pages!
For tips on how to survive the break overall, see our blog: “Adult Survival Guide for Summer Vacation.”