Family Vacation Etiquette

Family Vacation Etiquette
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Bill Lindsey
Vacations taken as a family are a great way for everyone to share a new experience, build tight bonds, make life-long memories, and have fun adventures.

Stick to the Plan

Lay out the plan and any related rules well before you begin packing. For example, decide what theme parks, museums, or other attractions will be visited and in what order, and clearly state the rules for behavior while at hotels, restaurants, and any attractions. Parents must stand by the rules; if any of the children (or adults) act badly, there should be repercussions up to and including cutting the vacation short and returning home.

Make It a Learning Experience

Vacations are all about relaxing and recharging, and although theme parks or resorts are certainly fun, also consider unique destinations. Examples include rafting on the Grand Canyon’s Colorado River, visiting the Kennedy Space Center, and exploring Dahlonega, Georgia, the United States’ first gold rush town. The idea is to combine fun with education; it’s fun to learn new things in a new, interesting setting. Don’t forget about museums, especially natural science museums, which just might have fascinating exhibits that show you something new.

Respect the Locals

As you and your family are enjoying yourselves at the hotel, theme park, museum, or restaurant, make sure to treat all the people serving and assisting you with respect and courtesy. As you pass the hotel maid in the hall, thank her for keeping your room spotless. Be pleasant to the front desk clerk, museum docent, and restaurant wait staff, and ask them for suggestions of interesting places to visit.

Multi-Family Vacations

If you and another family get along well, consider including them in your vacation plans. Traveling as a larger group can be a lot of fun, as there are more perspectives on the activities. Include everyone in the planning process to take personal preferences and interests into account. Having two sets of parents may allow for the adults to take turns being in charge, giving the other parents a night off from the kids.

Bring a Friend

It has become increasingly popular for families to bring one or two of their children’s friends on a vacation. While this is fun for the kids, it adds significant responsibilities to the adults. For this reason, make sure the friends and their families understand the rules of the vacation; they need to agree that you are in charge. The friends are invited guests, so you’re responsible for the added expenses, but it’s OK to let their parents chip in.
Bill Lindsey is an award-winning writer based in South Florida. He covers real estate, automobiles, timepieces, boats, and travel topics.
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