How to travel as a family (without losing your freaking mind)

photo by CC user Fiontain on wikimedia

Want to learn how to travel as a family that mirrors what you see in the media? It may not seem possible given the realities of how relationships really work, but by planning intelligently, you will be surprised how much more smoothly a trip can go when you look at each element closely and attempt to root out trouble before it has a chance to rear its ugly head.

Let’s go over several tips that will help you do just that…

1) Strongly consider getting a vacation rental over a hotel room

Although you have long associated the experience of getting a hotel room as something you just do when you are on vacation, we have a suggestion that will make this upcoming one much less stressful for you: rent a condo/home.

When you are in a hotel room together, privacy is non-existent, but in a vacation rental, everybody has their own space when you inevitably tire of each other’s presence. This is huge if you have teens.

2) Plan ahead to keep your kid’s attention occupied while on the road

Why is it some families get along famously en route to a destination, while others are in a perpetual state of war the second boredom sinks in? You too can become part of the former cohort by planning out a series of diversions that will focus your kid’s fragile attention on something other than on the realization that they are trapped in a tin can with nothing to do for an indeterminable amount of hours.

Observation games like “I Spy” work well, while movies and video games pre-loaded on a mobile device will work once they tire of the former activity. Pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks for when the inevitable hunger pangs kick in as well, and you’ll have all your bases covered when the curiosities of travel fail to impress their young minds.

3) Limit activities and attractions to 1-2 major objectives each day – and no more

Fast travel is hard enough for most adults to handle, but for families, it’s basically mission impossible (though that doesn’t dissuade many from trying anyway). Ideally, pick one (no more than two) major objective to focus on, as this will allow you to enjoy the attraction you are seeing (imagine that!). It’s foolhardy to think that you can see everything in a destination in a single trip – don’t succumb to the temptation.

4) Got teenagers? Involve them in the planning process…

While they are adamant that they know everything even when they have yet to truly live, your teenagers are almost adults, and they still have preferences that ought to catered to as a result. By involving them in the planning process, you’ll greatly reduce the friction that comes all too easily when they are going through this time in their lives.

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