Have you ever noticed a mom that looked tired and frustrated on a family vacation? Of course you have, we’ve all been there. This summer you can actually enjoy a vacation without returning home exhausted. Here’s how to plan the perfect vacation where you get to relax and your kids still have a blast.
The summer has arrived and this is prime time for family vacations. Just remembering your family getaway last year brings forth an onset of mental exhaustion and stress. As the flashback kicks in you see yourself frantically shuffling the kids from theme park to theme park where you wait in line an average of 2 hours in sweltering 90 degree heat just to get on rides that send your stomach spinning and your breakfast flying, then spending your evenings scolding the kids for screaming and fighting in the quiet restaurant and you roll your eyes at your loving husband who pretends to be oblivious to it all behind the sports section of the newspaper.
It’s no wonder summer vacations have become bittersweet. You can put away the Excedrin. Just in time for summer, here is some great advice for busy Moms that want to put the concept of ‘vacation’ back into family vacations and ideas that will ensure everyone in the crew has fun.
1. Plan Activities Prior To Travel. A great way to troubleshoot for your next family vacation is to plan your activities ahead of time. It’s good to have an idea of what kinds of things you want to do, but it’s fantastic to have details and print-outs of directions, times, and phone numbers for your family getaway. Be sure to include possible activities for downtime and rainy-days.
2. Mommy’s Little Helpers. Keeping your kids involved in the planning process will go a long way when you take your family vacation. Allow your older children to use the internet to discover what activities they are interested in and where they’d like to go. Then tell them to make a list of their top 9 ideas. Even if you don’t choose any of their top 9 destinations, you can appease them with making sure they are able to do some of the activities they are interested in. Take notice of the things that bring your toddler joy on a daily basis. This will save you some time and actually get the bulk of the planning out of the way.
3. Integrate Child Care. Many resorts and hotels today have child care services on location. When you begin to shop around for vacation packages, make sure you inquire about child care services in or near the destination. Moms can even take advantage of some dynamic Day Camps offered at resorts which are packed with exciting activities and a child-friendly staff. We understand that Moms have concerns about allowing strangers to care for their children, so if this is not for you, consider bringing along a fun, trust-worthy babysitter or family member to be responsible for monitoring your children while you all are on vacation. Many babysitters or family members will be willing to do this at no charge if you accommodate their housing, food, and entertainment for the duration of the vacation.
4. Create A Daily Agenda. Before setting out or sailing away, create a daily agenda for your trip leaving room for downtime, eating, and unexpected activities. Many families plan trips but once they get there have no clue as to what to do or can’t agree on the daily activities. Avoid the confusion and frustration by finding out some suggestions and planning the daily routine ahead of time.
5. Set A Budget. Determine what you can afford to spend to avoid returning from a vacation feeling financially strapped and upset. It is very important to factor into your budget entertainment, food, and spending money so you don’t leave room for excess spending.
6. Shop Around On The Web. Take advantage of the online discount opportunities for travelers. Many websites will create cyber specials for customers that make reservations online. Nowadays there is a plethora of information on the web. Using the internet conveniently saves a lot of time and money that you normally would spend trying to plan your family vacation.
7. Coordinate With Another Family. Too many Moms snooze on the benefits of co-traveling. If you plan your vacation with another family, you can save hundreds of dollars on housing, food, and often entertainment. When families co-travel they have the option of renting a villa or a condo. Not only do you save money this way, you also have an abundance of space and more rooms to utilize during your stay. Most rental units come equipped with kitchens and cooking ware, so you can alternate planning fabulous, low-cost meals for both of your families. When you travel with other kids, the children will entertain themselves, which will give the Moms a needed break. The kids will love the idea of having friends on their vacation to play with.
8. Pack Light. Technology can save you from over-packing for your next family getaway. You don’t want to be overwhelmed with too many things to carry at the airport or weighed down with extra stuff when you arrive at your getaway destination. Websites such as http://www.babysaway.com will deliver everything from strollers, car seats, cribs, and even toys to your hotel at great low costs. You can use the internet to find out what stores are nearby and what amenities the hotel offers parents. Your vacation is your time to feel carefree, so limit your baggage and enjoy your lack of restrictions.
9. Hide-And-Sneak. When Moms are on family vacations there is one thing that they must do, sneak away when nobody is looking and take some well-deserved time for themselves. You can even work this rendezvous into the daily schedule by making sure everyone is happy and occupied with activities (even your husband). This may sound selfish, but it actually will enhance the trip and lives of your entire family because Mom will feel refreshed and happy.
Copyright 2006 Pat Brill