Family vacations can be the perfect way to get some quality time in with your spouse and kids. Your first one can be very intimidating, though, because family vacations are usually much different than romantic getaways. Knowing what to expect before you head off on your grand adventure can make you feel more at-ease about the trip by keeping you prepared for what could happen. Here’s what to expect:
It May Not Turn Out Exactly As You’d Planned
Family getaways are amazing, but you might be disappointed if you’re a big planner. When little kids are involved in a vacation, there are a lot of changes that could happen to what you had planned in your head. You already know that siblings don’t always get along with each other and that your toddler gets super cranky when he’s away from home. These things could be even worse when you’re in a brand-new place doing brand-new things.
It’s important not to set your expectations so high that you feel let down if something goes wrong. Learning how to vacation together is something you’re all doing, so you’re all works in progress. Make the process a little easier by being open to some changes in the schedule and adapting to your kids’ needs.
Budget More Than You Think You Need
There are a lot of expenses that come up on vacation that you might have forgotten to budget for. It even happens to seasoned travelers. Things like paying for Wifi, parking, and any extra activities that you didn’t originally have planned can add up over the course of a family vacation.
Before you go, be sure to sit down with your spouse and jot down every expense you can think of, from airfare and checked bag fees to meals and snacks, that come along with your vacation. Total it up and then add on some extra to your budget to give yourself plenty of cushion for extra expenses you didn’t think of.
A great way to save money on your family vacation is by booking an all-inclusive family-friendly vacation package. You can typically get lodging, activities, and even meals for your family for one cost without the surprises.
Allow Room in the Schedule for Repeat Activities
There’s bound to be something you do during your vacation that the kids seriously loved, enough to want to do it at least ten more times before you go home. Unfortunately, you may not have left enough room in your busy itinerary to allow you to do an activity more than one time, which can leave everyone a bit grumpy.
The key is to give yourself enough activities in your schedule to please everyone in your group, but also leave plenty of room open so that you can move things around, do something again, or even switch activities because of a rainy day.
Plan Several Rest and Snack Breaks
Vacations have a way of leaving everyone feeling drained, even though they’re supposed to be for rejuvenation! Jet lag and busy days can easily wipe your family out. When little kids are in the picture, it’s common to see many cases of the grumps on your vacation from being overtired and off their usual routine.
As tempting as it is to want to squeeze everything in that you can, it’s more important to let everyone have the rest they need. Give yourselves time to move through everything at a steady pace, rather than rush. Let little ones stop to give their legs a rest. Allow for plenty of potty breaks. Keep snacks on hand to satisfy hungry bellies.
Bring Your Camera Wherever You Go (And Leave Plenty of Space on It!)
When vacationing with your family, having a quality camera (or phone with a camera) and ample space on it is a must! It’s not always easy to make space on your phone when you’re busy on vacation, so this is something you’ll want to plan for before you leave.
Your vacation photos will be something you cherish forever, so purchasing a quality digital camera may be a good investment if you plan to book more vacations in the future. You can dedicate it solely to your vacation photos. You’ll likely squeeze out some longer battery life, and maybe even some nicer photos, from your digital camera than you would your smartphone.
Prepare for Lots of Questions
Depending on where you go for your vacation, you’re likely to come across people of various cultures and experience things you wouldn’t normally experience in your town. It’s natural for kids to have questions about food, people, and customs they aren’t used to. Vacationing is the perfect chance to enhance their learning experiences through first-hand sights, sounds, and tastes.
Do some research about the place you’re going beforehand. Find some kid-friendly educational activities, learn about the area’s customs, and prepare yourself for some of the questions your kids might ask. You can also take some time to show them pictures and talk about some of the things you’ll see before you get there.
Your family vacation might not go as planned – but that doesn’t mean your family won’t have fun. Some of the best memories come from unexpected moments. Try and go with the flow on your family vacation, you’ll be happy you did.