This past summer I've been thinking about the vacations we went on when I was little. I have no idea how my Mom went about planning them. I know that she didn't use a travel agent, so I just imagine her spending lots of time looking through magazines for ideas and then making lots of phone calls. (Thanks, Mom!)
With technology, it is a lot easier to plan a vacation these days, but we have another problem when it comes to taking time off. A recent study which took a look at parenting advice doled out over the last 28 years show an increasing amount of fears that parents are trying to address when planning vacations - everything from their children slipping academically to everyone having a good time. So now we have the problem that parents need vacations from their vacations.
I want to return from our family vacations well-rested and happy. So, here's how we are approaching vacations as a family:
- Keep it a surprise. I learned this from a coworker. She never tells her children when or where they are going on vacation - that way it feels like more of an adventure for them and it negates the pre-trip anticipation, so they can stay focused on school and other activities.
- All inclusive resorts are wonderful. At first this seemed a little lazy to me, but honestly, the worry-free aspect to it is great for parents. You can always use the inclusive as your starting point and then add activities from there.
- Be flexible. Don't schedule every moment of your day. That is the easiest way to make your vacation feel like work. A little downtime is a good thing.
- You don't need to be together all the time. Do you normally spend 24/7 with your family? Probably not. It's fine to spend some time alone.
- Take a vacation from your vacation. Are you one of those families that does the same thing every year? Mix it up a bit and see how that turns out. Or, if Mom normally does the planning, let Dad plan it. See what happens.