The holiday season is all about good tidings and cheer and showing your friends and family just how much you love them, but then a fight breaks out and you wonder why you came home in the first place and when the hell it’s appropriate to leave.
While the holidays are great and bring together loved ones, they can also bring out the worst in people as stress levels are high and, depending on your travel destination, you might be stuck inside for long periods of time with your chosen travel partners.
Traveling with your family can be a great bonding experience and leave you with wonderful lifelong memories no matter what time of year you hit the road, but every group is bound to have a bad hour, or eight, together.
If you’re traveling with family soon, review these tips to keep the peace as much as possible in your group!
5 tips for traveling with family
1. Know everyone’s personalities and quirks
It’s bound to happen, even if you love everyone in your travel party, you’re going to clash or have different ideas of how to get to a destination or what to do with your time. Be considerate of everyone’s feelings and preferences and remember that everyone is going to have to put their best foot forward.
Though let’s be honest, fighting among a group or travel party is inevitable.
Try to remember why you love this person and try to put yourself in their shoes to understand their position. Cooler heads will prevail in this situation and if you know your sister Tanya has to be somewhere 15 minutes before she’s supposed to be, do your best to accommodate her and maybe even arrive 30 minutes before so you can grab a seat at the bar first.
2. Plan ahead
One way to make sure everyone is happy, and possibly get your fights out of the way before the trip, is to plan your itinerary in advance. There has to be open communication and everyone has to be willing to make some compromises. Your dad may want to spend a whole day inside a particular museum and while you can accommodate his wishes, he should be prepared to compromise by spending the morning there and then the afternoon doing what you or your mom wants to do.
Create one master itinerary that everyone can contribute to and share their ideas on how to spend your family vacation. Also keep in mind the travel destination should be a good fit for everyone. Just because your brother Jimmy has three kids and wants to have your parents pay their way into Disney doesn’t mean you have to agree. Find a location that offers everyone a little something and can actually be a place you’ll look back on fondly.
3. Time apart
Even though you’re going on this adventure together that doesn’t mean every single moment has to be spent together. Schedule in some time apart so you and your partner can sleep in or go on a run at sunrise without dragging the rest of the party with you.
This can be as simple as having set times to go off and do your own thing or if you’re staying on a resort or cruise, book different excursions or activities so you can share your stories later but don’t have to plug your ears as your mother talks about how humid it was for the 400th time that day.
Having downtime can help everyone reset and recharge so they’re ready to get cozy on the couch and play games or watch a movie as a family.
4. Think big
When it comes to accommodations I mean. Have enough space in your vacation rental or consider booking separate rooms to have space to spread out or enjoy some downtime if you need it. Vacation rental houses can be great for traveling families as you have shared spaces to hang out together but can always retreat to your room when you catch your brother cheating at Monopoly.
5. We have to talk about money
Money conversations can be awkward but when you’re traveling with your family as adults it needs to be considered. You’re no longer a kid and should expect that your parents will buy everything, unless they’ve specifically stated this is the case or they want to. Even if they do say they’re paying everyone’s way, chip in for food, buy them a meal, pay for a group activity, or bring a special treat as a thank you.
If mom and dad aren’t paying for everyone, make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for and who’s putting down the deposits or booking tours and activities. For my bachelorette party, one of my girlfriends recommended we download the app Splitwise where we could track who paid for what and who owes who how much. It was a great app that easily settled everything without making it awkward.
One last quick thing to mention: Try to get a family photo during your vacation (it’s okay to ask a stranger for help instead of busting out the selfie stick).
How do you survive family vacations? Tell us your tips and tricks in the comments below or on Facebook!