A family vacation is a time to spend some quality time together, make memories, and learn about different parts of the world. But sometimes it can be an overwhelming experience. In order to avoid some of the stress let everyone be involved in the planning and set some realistic expectations. Here are some of our tips to help with this:
- Come up with a list of viable options. Make sure everyone understands the budget, and then decide together which special vacation is for your family. Keep a “Dream List “for future vacations that were not on this year’s list of options.
- Outline your family budget for this vacation. if your children have their own money, how much will they take along, or will you give them each a certain amount? Will they each allowed to purchase one memento from the trip
- Give everyone responsibilities for the trip planning. This creates accountability and helps children become invested in the vacation. It’s also a fun learning experience, and you can create moments of family discussion of their progress- presentations for their part of the trip at dinner, for instance.
- Keep a travel journal. It will help preserve memories of the vacation- and can also it help create a back-to-school “favorite thing we did this year” paper.
- Take time to investigate the ports of call your ship will be visiting. Get some books on the destination and read together all about your upcoming trip. As you learn about your destinations, ask you children to give you a list of 2-3 things they would like to do on this cruise vacation.
- Explore the shore excursions. Here is a link to shore excursions for up to 75% off cruise ship rates https://www.cruisecompete.com/shore_excursions/. CruiseCompete offers shore excursion information by ship and by port of call
- Lay out some ground rules about how time will be spent. For example, “We all meet for breakfast, dinner, movies under the stars, the pool at 2pm, other than that we are good with everyone doing what they enjoy as long as we are in the loop for your plans
- Plan how to contact each other should anyone become separated on the journey to the ship or on the ship. Walkie talkies are a great investment, as they work even when cell service may me spotty or non-existent. Our family tends to wear the same color at the airport so we can spot each other easily, plus we put a brilliant colored ribbon on all of our luggage so it’s easy to claim.
- Enact the buddy system for the trip – choose a partner. For safety’s sake, don’t go anywhere alone.
- Make celebrations extra special. Celebrating milestones like birthdays, school graduations, anniversaries and other accomplishments will be extra special on a cruise vacation. If you let the ship staff know, they’ll do something special to recognize the occasion.
Here are a few tips for how to continue to enjoy the vacation memories after you get home:
- Give everyone time to reacclimate. Returning to the stress of everyday life can be disappointing after a week or 2 of travel.
- Relive the experience with a party. Talk about the experience, what was fun and what was not. (Sometimes those are the funniest stories!) Go through your souvenirs, photos and travel journals.
- Begin planning your next vacation. Just the act of picking a date and identifying potential destinations gives us something fun to look forward to.