Summer is near, so you know what that means! Vacation time with the family (smile). Whether you plan on taking an international flight or a road trip somewhere, dealing with different ages and personalities (you know those annoying people you call parents, children, and/or spouse) for long for long periods of time can be stressful.
Taking time off work and going away is supposed to be relaxing and fun. You should dread going back to work instead of looking forward to it when your vacation near its end. It’s easier said than done because something always seem to go wrong when you are aiming for perfection. Injuries, missing documents, stolen IDs and credit cards…you name it, it can happen to you while you’re on a trip. That’s why it is important to plan ahead and prepare for emergencies.
Samantha Brown from the Travel Channel suggests having every family member “write down what he or she wants to do” when you reach your destination. That way, you can create an itinerary based on the family’s interest. This list will make everyone feel included and willing to participate and enjoy the others’ recommendations. Another task you might want to add to your planning is to research the weather of the city you’ll be visiting. The last thing you want is to have your vacation ruined by rain and thunderstorms, and end up stuck in your hotel rooms. That is a recipe for disaster, including complaints, attitudes, and fights. The trick is to keep everyone in a good mood so your inner peace is not disrupted.
However, since weather predictions are not entirely accurate, level your expectations. Teri Bourdeau, clinical associate professor at Oklahoma State University’s Center for Health Sciences believes that you can make mishaps work for you by bringing something that you can enjoy, like books or a boardgames, to help you feel productive when plans change. In other words, be prepared for downtime.
Another biggie—set a feasible budget. Finding ways to eliminate financial stress on your family vacation is conducive to having a good time…and being able to buy a T-shirt (or other souvenirs) to prove it. Decide beforehand what you are willing to spend money on and search for deals on sites like groupon.com. For example, if you don’t want to spend $10 on a bottled water at an amusement park, buy one at the hotel or a drugstore nearby. Instead of booking a hotel room, try renting a condo or town home (Groupon can help you with that). That way you can cook for the family instead of eating out. You might want to load up on snacks while you’re at it to avoid using vending machines or taking numerous trips to the nearest gift shops. Also, decide who’s paying for what so you’re not burdened with footing the bill every time. Tools like Budget Your Trip or Mint can help you keep track of your expenses.