Family vacations are the perfect time to bond, and to relax. It’s a time where you are supposed to become closer to your loved ones, and to create wonderful, long-lasting memories. It can also be a nightmare that raises your blood pressure significantly, leaving you with bags under your eyes, and a couple of brand new grey hairs on your head. You can, however, avoid the second situation by organizing properly.
The key to a stress-free family vacation is good organization. Preparing properly will be a lifesaver for your nerves and wellbeing. So, without further ado, you can read how to organize a stress-free family vacation below.
Don’t overstuff your schedule
Let’s start with one of the most annoying and stressful elements people include in their travelling – overstuffing their schedules. We understand the enthusiasm. Who knows when you will be able to visit, let’s say, Sydney, ever again? But this doesn’t mean you have to drive yourself (and your family) crazy by trying to visit every historically and culturally significant location there.
First of all, it’s physically taxing walking the entire day from one area to the next. Remember, you are there to relax. If you wanted to go on an active holiday, you should have gone on an adventure tour. Know that travelling is amazing for your kids, but they won’t gain much if you force them to do things they hate.
Next, wouldn’t you much rather soak a certain part in? Instead of blitzing past every single part of town, why not spend a moment, or twenty, and just focus? Practice a bit of mindfulness, try to be relaxed. Think of it as savouring a meal, instead of just wolfing the entire thing down in seconds.
Always have some extra time
Murphy’s Law is very real, and strikes at the most inopportune moments. Somebody will have to go potty, you will forget your passport or your wallet, your plane will be crowded, and traffic will be downright evil… Whatever time specific thing you have to do, from hotel reservations to climbing aboard a plane, know that you something will happen to make things difficult. So, always start and arrive early, if you can.
Plan for the worst
Always have a plan for the worst. Don’t think of this as being in a constant state of dread. Just the opposite really. Namely, by having a set plan (in your head or on paper) in case some emergency happens, you will be able to relax more. It’s like you’re creating a safety net for yourself and your family.
For example, let’s say you’re renting a car on your trip. Knowing what to do in case of car accident injuries, both in legal and medical aspects, is vital. By legal, we mean having a lawyers phone number saved, maybe even familiarizing yourself with some basic laws of your target country. By medical, we mean knowing where the nearest hospitals are, as well as knowing the emergency numbers of the country you’re visiting.
Next, if your children are small you should teach them exactly what to say and do if they get lost. Teach them to always stay in place and wait for you to arrive. Tell them to trust cops, but do not blindly follow strangers. You can even give them a piece of paper with your information, so they can give that to a helpful stranger in order to find you better.
Finally, you should also include the standard fare, like extra prescription meds, keeping your documents safe, having extra money…
Have something for everyone
When planning your location and your daily agenda, try to find something for everyone. On one hand, have a little time for your spouse, treat yourselves to something special. On the other hand, your kids will go crazy if you don’t provide some stimulating activities. And don’t let a travel agency do the work for you. Actually sit down and think what your children and your spouse want to do. If they want to take part in the stuff the agencies offer, great. If not, leave them as what they actually are – suggestions.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t push your family (and yourself) a bit out of your comfort zones. Not too much, again, this is a time to relax. But, try to keep things fresh, and especially help your children to grow and develop.
Maintain a sense of adventure
This is perhaps a bit paradoxical for an article writing about how to organize things. However, we suggest – you leave some things to the wind! Sure, preparing properly, having safety nets, that’s all well and good. But your spouse and your kids will appreciate a little bit of disorganization. We always fall into routines at home, we always keep to certain structures and rules – why not relax them a bit? How about simply not planning your entire day when you’re on vacation, but just winging it?
For example, why not get into your car rental, drive around, and eat at the first restaurant that seems nice? Or maybe walk around and see what kind of cultural establishments and options you can visit.
And there you have it folks, a couple of tips on how to organize a stress-free vacation with your family. You want to make this a special bonding experience, not a stressful two weeks of hell. Furthermore, you want everybody to have fun, not be at each other’s throats all the time. So, try to relax your schedule a little bit, and leave some room for error (yours and societies). Keep a sense of adventure going, and plan for the worst. Finally, try to have as much fun as possible, and keep everybody entertained as well. Good luck, and have fun!
Alexander Hunkin is an Australian based startup advisor with in-depth experience in growing business. His meaningful and strategic advices have helped in setting and growing many startup companies in Brisbane and Perth. Alexander is also a content creator for different niches. The top ones are business, career, finance and marketing. He aspires to share his experiences and is always on the lookout for the next opportunity to enhance his skills. When he isn’t busy working, you can find him cooking exotic meals, scuba diving and cycling.