Every vacation I've ever taken with family has been a learning moment for us. We've had family vacations since I could remember (probably around age five), and each time we had some sort of conflict. These experiences inspired these 5 steps you can take to survive your family vacation! Being adopted, I never naturally accumulated the traits of my parents, so we've always been pretty different, which has often proved to be a place of contention between us on vacations. My folks have very different interests and ways of spending their time than me. So, we've had to find a happy medium.
1. Take turns or part ways. Design your itinerary prior to leaving for your trip, giving equal time to each family member's trip, giving equal time to each family member's #1 choice of activity. Or, another option is to design activities you all want to do together and split ways the rest of the time to do what strikes you as interesting.
2. Game night! Having a game night when everyone disconnects from technology and actively makes time to connect with each other will strengthen your relationships and experience. Some of my favorites include Guesstures, Cranium and Monopoly! Go Fish is great for younger kids.
3. Be gracious with time. Allowing enough travel time is key--some of the worst vacations I've been on included horrible traffic and let down expectations, which then result in grumpy and unhappy family members.
4. Allow technology to happen. The hardest struggle with families is often the kids (and parents) on their cell phones or tablets, screaming and arguing about "quality family time" and how much tech should be limited. What's more worth it: arguing and hurting feelings on vacation, or enjoying it with a few apps and text messages? If you plan for fun activities minus technology (like game night), a little tech shouldn't hurt. Let people enjoy vacation the way they prefer!
5. Avoid high expectations. The biggest let down of all is imagining your vacation as this perfect, flawless adventure where pure bliss is the only emotion experienced (somewhat like Disneyland). Maybe it's the happiest place on earth, but there's no such thing as singular-emotion-feeling humans.
What are some tips you've found to survive your typical family vacation!?