How to Plan a Stress-Free Summer Family Vacation!
It is sweet tea weather here in Atlanta, and that means summer vacation is right around the corner. So far this month, we’ve celebrated Moms and Grads, and it seems like I’m just going from party to party every other Sunday. It’s such a blessing to be celebrating milestones with family and friends once again.
Every year, I count down the days to our annual summer family vacation at the beach. I was just there the other weekend to get things ready, and the excitement y’all is just building! There’s nothing I love more than a beach getaway with Eddie, Chloe, my kids, and my grandkids. Sometimes it’s the memories of our beach vacation that keeps me going, especially during hard days. Because my daughter-in-law Becca is a nurse, we have to split up our family getaway since everyone’s schedules don’t always sync up. Although I love when Mollie and Cory’s families are together, I don’t mind taking them away separately too. It allows me to spend precious one-on-one time with them, which is so hard to do during the year.
As wonderful as family vacations are, they can also be so stressful. You have to constantly walk a fine line, balancing personalities and preferences. One child doesn’t want to take a hike to collect seashells on the beach and another child won’t come in from the water no matter how much you holler at them, plus you still need to make dinner and the dog needs a walk. I can sometimes get overwhelmed just thinking about all the ways a family trip can go wrong.
With just a little planning though, you can have an enjoyable, stress-free summer family vacation. Here are just a few of my travel tips:
- Get rid of all your expectations – You heard me, just take them and throw them out the window. The key to enjoying summer vacation is not to have so many expectations, this way no one gets hurt or disappointed. Do your best to keep things as fluid as possible because inevitably something is going to happen.
- Flexibility is key – Especially when you’re traveling with younger kids, you’ve got to be flexible. Things are bound to go wrong, it happens. Whenever possible, keep plans fluid so that you’re not angry if activities end up changing at the last minute.
- Plan ahead – I know this one is really hard for spontaneous folks, but it’s really important to make some plans before you get to your vacation destination. Be realistic with your plans too – know that kids only have so much patience and attention span, so you might not want to pack your day with sightseeing. They also get tired pretty easily, so you’ll want to build in plenty of downtime with enjoyable, relaxing activities too.
- Schedule in some surprises – I love to surprise my kids and grandkids when we’re on vacation. It doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant, even just a last-minute trip to grab some ice cream or a night activity to see some of the local nightlife, is a fun and exciting little treat for the whole family.
- Snacks & hydration – This might seem so obvious, but sometimes we end up forgetting how essential food is on a trip! It’s a good idea to make sure that whenever you’re planning a summer family trip you pack plenty of snacks and drinks. Kids get hungry and whiny when their blood sugar levels dip, by planning ahead you can have some healthy snacks and treats on hand instead of having to panic buy something at the nearest rest stop or the airport. I make sure to add plenty of healthy snacks to my Shipt order that gets sent to our beach condo; when the kids are starving after spending hours digging holes in the sand and wave jumping, I pull out some healthy treats from my beach bag.
- Get a babysitter – Family trips tend to focus more on the kids and less on the adults, and I feel like it’s just so important for the adults to get a nice break too. Consider hiring a babysitter for a night so that the adults can go out for a nice meal, get some drinks, or go out to the movies. Eddie and I also make sure to send our kids out for a night out while we stay in and watch the kids. We love to do it and it makes me so happy to see Mollie & Jason and Cory & Becca reconnecting with one another during vacation.
- Backup rainy day plans – No one wants a rainout during their summer family vacation but sometimes the weather just does not cooperate. It’s a good idea to have a couple of rainy day activities in your back pocket for when the clouds roll in. Bring some board games or indoor activities so that you’re not spending the day having a movie marathon (not like there’s anything wrong with that, especially during summer vacation!). I love crafting, so I always make sure to have supplies on hand and we make some really fun beach-inspired crafts like decorating picture frames with the seashells we collected on the beach. It’s a nice trip memento, print out a family pic from the beach and hang it in the beach house to remember your special trip!
Are you planning a summer vacation with the family this year? Share with us your survival tips in the comments.
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