Family Vacation. Those are two words that strike fear into the hearts of many parents (and kids -- especially if they are teenagers!) Some parents can get so wound up in the details of a summer family vacation that they don't have any fun. Yet, family vacations don't need to be feared. They can be a tremendous source of bonding, relaxation, and fun while building great memories.
Here's how to create a less stressful summer vacation:
1. Plan in advance. Planning ahead will often save you money on all of the big vacation expenses like airfare, hotels, and even attractions. Making your plans well in advance will lighten your stress load and provide more freedom to enjoy while on vacation.
2. Set realistic expectations. Set the expectations bar at a realistic level. A family vacation might be wonderful, but it probably is not going to change your life. Don't expect vacation time to fix problems at home or work.
3. Leave work at home. Don't take work with you on vacation. Don't check your e-mail or text messages, and don't answer your cell phone. It may take time when you go back to work to get back up to speed, but your family deserves your full attention while on vacation. And you need time away from work as well!
4. Value your time together. On a vacation, your living, sleeping, and eating arrangements may well be different than they are at home. You may not be able to find peace and quiet. Be aware of these factors going in and don't stress out about them. Make the best of your circumstances, valuing these unique experiences and enjoying your family time together.
5. Relax. You cannot see, do, and experience everything in one vacation. Don't even try. Don't script every minute of your vacation. Leave room for spontaneity. Be willing to compromise on activities. No one ever gets to do everything they want to do on vacation, but do your best to see that everyone in the family gets to do something that they enjoy.