In our ultra-connected world, it’s ironic that unplugging and getting away is the best way to truly connect with loved ones, but that is ever increasingly true. A family vacation that includes extended family is a wonderful way to create lifetime memories for all and reconnect with loved ones.
If you’re the vacation planner in the family, you’re likely used to a certain amount of control over the process. As you plan a getaway for your extended family, however, you may find yourself in the kitchen with a number of different cooks. A few tweaks to your approach, and this process can be a joy as well.
Set a Budget
Once you’ve all decided you’d like to vacation together, move directly to the discussion about money. Communicate openly and clearly and continue to do so throughout the process. If you bust through what can be an uncomfortable topic for some right at the outset, it will make communication and decision making much easier as you go along.
Rent a House
You may be accustomed to hotel accommodations for your immediate family, but when you have a crowd, a house is almost always more economical and provides more options for people. Look for open common spaces and private sleeping spaces. You’ll also be very glad if you can find a place with a dishwasher and a laundry room.
While you may be the one ultimately pulling the trigger when booking accommodations and reservations, get everyone involved from the start and communicate fully with them throughout the entire process. Start early enough that you can enjoy conversations about the destination, and focus on the comforts each family member expects and the joys he or she wishes for.
Keep Options Open and Free
People approach vacations differently. Some long for adventure, some to simply relax, some to savor culture, some to enjoy luxury. Understand who you’re traveling with, what they enjoy on vacation, and (this may be a tough one for some planners) let them be free to have the vacation they want.
Try your best to give a lot of options when it comes to activities, and don’t force anyone to do something he or she is not excited about. This is a vacation. Be OK with everyone going separate ways sometimes and appreciate the unique personality of each family member.
Teach Your Kids Tolerance
If your children are lucky enough to have experienced vacations before with your immediate family, they may have gotten used to a certain amount of attention to their needs and wishes during your adventures. Talk with them in advance about the importance of considering everyone’s needs on vacations and the idea that different people enjoy different things. This offers a fantastic learning opportunity for them.
Enjoy Your Vacation
As the planner, you may find yourself at the center of most decisions, answering a lot of questions, and bending to others’ needs. It can be taxing. Pencil in some time for yourself to step away and take a walk, relax in a pool, or whatever it will take to unwind and refresh. Don’t forget about you.
Capture the Memories
What a gift to spend such quality time with your entire family. Take lots of pictures and videos, and bring home mementos. Enjoy your time together experiencing new things together. You’ll remember this time always. When you come home, make a collage or album to commemorate the trip. This can be a fantastic holiday gift for each vacationer.