Taking a vacation with extended family can be an absolute joy – and bring on some frustration. Whether getting the family together at a beach house, enjoying a cruise with cousins or taking on Disney World with the grandparents, time together is priceless. That is until the vacation rental is trashed, the kids are overly tired, and no one wants to speak up about what to do next.
If you’re planning a vacation with extended family, use our 10 tips while planning so you can focus on what’s most important – time with your family.
1. Involve everyone in the planning process
Gather input from everyone – from grandparents and kids to the teenagers. Ask about what destination and activities they prefer. Are there budget limitations? What kind of lodging is desired? Figure out what is of prime importance and plan accordingly.
2. Choose accommodations to meet your needs
From resort suites and vacation homes to cruises and hotels, there’s no right or wrong answer to the accommodation question. Discuss the options to identify what type works best for everyone. Consider how much privacy is desired when deciding preferences. Sometimes a vacation rental with separate sleeping quarters and common living areas is ideal, while others may prefer adjoining rooms or cabins. Remember to ask if there are group discounts available to make the most of your vacation budget.
3. Schedule time apart to take breaks
As much as everyone would like to think every moment together will be spent in blissful harmony, that’s probably not realistic. In fact, planning some downtime to rest and taking in separate activities from time to time is healthy. You may decide you want to define “group time” and “me time” for certain hours or chunks of time during your vacation. Just be sure everyone understands the purpose so there are no hurt feelings.
4. Share the meal planning
Plan ahead if you’ll be preparing meals together, dining out or a combination of both. For meals in, consider dividing up the meals so each party shares the responsibility. If you plan to eat out, don’t forget to make reservations for seating a large group.
5. Plan activities to suit everyone
When planning activities, think about low cost or free activities everyone in the group would enjoy. Consider what level and duration of activity people in your group can reasonably handle. Do you want to plan several large group experiences? Mornings sightseeing with afternoons at the beach? Consider everyone’s budget, be realistic, and plan accordingly. If you’re interested in planning a tour, consider using the expertise of a travel company like Adventure Life who will create a custom itinerary perfectly suited to your family.
6. Divide up the chores
If everyone is sharing accommodations, divvy up the chores to share the responsibility. In other words, don’t assume mom will be doing all the cooking and grandma all the dishes. Plan ahead to share the load.
7. Communicate and plan ahead financially
Not everyone will have the same budget, so for everyone’s sake work to keep costs down. Decide ahead of time who will be paying for what and when. For rentals or activities that require payment upfront, consider assigning one person to collect funds and make payments. Consider using an app like Venmo or Cash App so the family can pay the responsible person directly. Ideal for vacationing with extended family, people can pay their portion immediately, offsetting the upfront costs.
8. Document your memories
Make sure one or more people are taking pictures and videos to document your vacation. Afterwards, you can create an online photo library or family vacation book so each party will have a keepsake. While taking an extended family vacation every year may not be practical, whenever you do get together, you’ll have memories to cherish for a lifetime.
9. Practice patience
Embracing a good attitude can go a long way. All of us have our quirks, so focusing on the positive and having patience with one another is essential. Embrace the silly moments, share some belly laughs, and connect on a deeper level.
10. Don’t forget travel insurance
Don’t forget to protect your travel investment from the unexpected. Our Travel Select plan is a great family-friendly option as children residing in the same household are protected at no additional cost when traveling with a covered adult.
While no vacation with extended family is perfect, with some planning it can be just what it’s supposed to be – cherished time together. Travel on, friends!
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