Surviving a family vacation can be super tough when you’re older than 12 and have a lot of your own tastes and creature comforts when it comes to going on an adventure. You know what you like from a vacation, but nope, you have to pack that all away in favor of doing what your parents or your siblings love! A family vacation is all about compromise, but in some cases, this can be a little unfair, and then the whole trip is ruined.
But when it comes to having a good time when you’re going away with family, there are some things you can do to smooth the way. You can go off as normal and hope for the best, or you can very well make some preparations ahead of time and have a much better vacation with your family as a result. So, without further ado, here are some ideas you might want to keep in mind when you’re planning to take everyone away.
Talk About Money Before You Go
The first thing to do, if you’re taking a group of adults and a couple of children or teenagers with you, is to decide who’s paying for what. Obviously, you’re all going to be forking out for a bit of the vacation, but you need to work out (and even get it in writing!) who’s going to be paying for the specifics.
Of course, whoever is bringing their children with them has to pay for the kids' portion of the vacation, but aside from that, who’s paying for what? Maybe you could put the deposit down on the villa or the hotel, and maybe your brother or sister could fork out for the add-on accompanying breakfast and other meal times that might be included in the package? Maybe your parents could pay for the day to day transport, but if you lose a bus pass or a travel card, it’s up to you to pay for a replacement? Either way, if you talk money ahead of time, you’ll have far fewer arguments whilst you’re there over who and how to pay for everything.
Look for a Bigger Place to Stay
You’ve got your whole family to bring along with you, but when it comes to booking a hotel for more than 5 people, you’re probably going to be all squashed in together. No one will enjoy having to share a room that has three or more beds in it, and trying to get to the bathroom may result in a few fights…
Which is why it’s a good idea to think about looking for a bigger place to stay. As we briefly mentioned above, how about booking a villa for a week, and have all paying adults help to fork out for it? You’re all in this together, and to make things more comfortable, it’ll be nice to have a room each and more than one bathroom to make use of!
Not to mention just how many specialised villas, and other houses or apartments you may find on sites like AirBnB, are kitted out for family vacations. The people offering out these accommodations know you’re going to be bringing quite a few people along and will offer extra facilities for your use. Street or private parking for more than one car, a swimming pool round the back, a big garden for the kids, etc., are all commonly seen amenities in these types of accommodation.
Accommodate Ahead of Time
If you’re going to be taking a group of 5 or more people away, and they’re all related to you, they’re not going to be afraid to let you know when you’ve let them down or when they’re feeling hard done by the vacation arrangements. So, to try and ensure no teasing and no complaining is to be done, accommodate for everyone in your initial plans.
And finally, as another great example here, if anyone in your family has difficulty walking, or otherwise moving about, or they’re in a wheelchair, you better make sure you’ve booked some accessible activities for them to get involved with! Otherwise, it simply wouldn’t be a fair trip, and there’s no way around this situation.
Renting a disability scooter from an airport or a local accessibility place, especially if it’s a two-seater scooter, can be a great way for brothers to travel together! Hop in a seat next to your bro and get going around a new city that you’ve wanted to explore for ages, without either of you needing to compromise for the chance to do so.
Take it in Turns
Now that you’re in the mood for the vacation, it’s time to plan out how the days are going to go. But, seeing as you’re not the only one who’s going to be seeing the sights and getting involved in the local life, you’re going to have to take it in turns to take charge of the day. Make people aware of this ahead of time, so they can start thinking about things to do whilst away.
One day it’s you, and the next it’s your sister, then it’s your dad’s turn, etc. Think of this as a method for allowing every single person on the trip a chance to do things that interest them, and have their family along for the whole ride with them. And then the day after, they return the favor and allow you to do a similar thing - planning day by day is incredibly harmonious, and family life is all about trying to keep things fair!
Don’t Let Anyone Dwell in a Bad Mood
Of course, there’s always going to be a couple of bad moods you’re going to have to sort out. Someone is going to get in a huff over something, and when they do, it might bring the whole mood of the trip down. So, in times like these, be sure to reach out and comfort your family member. Don’t let them dwell, and prove you really do care!
Because when someone is in a bad mood over an activity or the choice of lunch place, be sure to sit down with them and have a word. Don’t be mean; just remind them of how the vacation works.
Pack for the Family
A short but sweet point here, seeing as packing for the family is an unspoken rule on family vacations. Sure, you’re going to pack mostly for yourself, and that’s good! But you’re going to need to throw in a few extras as well, simply because you know how forgetful the people in your family can be, and you don’t want hassle. So, an extra toothbrush here, a spare pair of socks there, etc., just in case anyone leaves an essential behind and starts to go crazy about it when they unzip their suitcase.
Make an Effort to Spend Time Together
Family vacations mean you’re stuck with the people in your group, no matter where you go or what you decide to do. And because of that, you’re going to need to make an effort here. You’re an adult now, so you can’t scream and shout and stamp your feet when you don’t get your own way - you’ve got to make an effort to enjoy spending time together!
Maybe you don’t want to go and try lunch at that pretentious looking French restaurant, and maybe you don’t want to hire a boat for the day and get out on the waves, but if a member of your family does (and you’ve been outvoted here), don’t let yourself be a grump for the entire time you’re out there.
As we mentioned above, don’t dwell, and try to enjoy yourself. Because you love and care for the people you’re with, and you might very well have one of the best days of your life if you just let yourself go a little bit here!
All in All…
When it comes to surviving a family vacation, it’s all about compromising, but in the right way! Make sure you’re a voice of reason when your younger brother starts to complain, or your mother decides the sightseeing tour isn’t for her.
Because you could very well ensure that everyone has a good time together, even if they’re not doing something they enjoy, simply because there’s a good mood in the air and you’ve planned to accommodate everyone. You’ve got something for your brother and something for your sister, and you’ve made sure to include some activities your parents will enjoy, and there’s something for the little ones if you’re bringing any of them along too!
So, be sure to keep the above tips in mind when you’re planning a family vacation. They might go a long way to ensuring you’re not left with a bad taste and bad memories when your group vacation comes home.
*Post contributed by Amy Dutton, a U.K. based travel writer*