How to Survive a Family Vacation

We all love the idea of going on vacation. It’s a chance to kick back and cleanse all of the work stress out of our bodies. It is the chance to finally take a deep breath out and just relax for once. You can revel in the fact that the hardest decision you will need to make is about what you feel like eating next. Family vacations can be even more fun in principle. It is an opportunity to spend time with your family in a relaxed environment, where you can all bond and have fun and make lots of special memories together. On paper, it all sounds perfect, but anyone who has been on a family vacation knows that sometimes it can be anything but perfect. Let me tell you the truth – perfect family vacations only exist on social media and in travel brochures. Even the most tight-knit family that gets along swimmingly won’t be 100% happy and picture-perfect on holiday. Things happen – people argue and fight, plans fall through, there are too many people, or the weather just has it out for you. Anything can happen that can turn your picture-perfect family vacation into something that seems more fitting in a horror show than a blow-up picture in a travel agency.

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I am speaking from experience. Sometimes family vacations can be more of a nightmare than a dream. Especially with a family filled with stubborn, strong-minded people who all have very different ideas of what a relaxing holiday is. My mom likes doing as much as possible, and her sitting still for longer than a meal is unusual. My dad could quite happily sit and watch the world go by for an entire day. I would prefer to go at a leisurely pace or read my book for a few hours. My little brother doesn’t really mind so long as there is air-conditioning and internet connection. 

As you can see, we all have very different ideas. So, sometimes family vacations take a little hard work from all of our sides so that they end up being fun and relaxing for all. So, seeing as I am currently on holiday with my family (and boyfriend) in Croatia, I thought I might share some tips for how to survive a family vacation. You may not need all these tips, but they are just some suggestions that can help ensure your period of relaxation stays that way.

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Nothing bad can ever come from doing a little extra research, especially when it can help ensure that everyone stays happy on a family trip. Research is a good idea because it can help you get an idea of where you are going and help you think about the things you can do with your time there. You don’t have to go overboard with the research and buy a dozen guide books and read through every website remotely related to your destination. But, having a general idea of the place can never do any harm. By doing research, it allows you to pack more efficiently and ensure that there are enough things to do that can tick everyone’s boxes. It also helps you know what you might need to know for getting around and ensure you don’t miss out on something you want to do. Basically, do a little extra research. It can only help in ensuring that your holiday is more fun and less likely to fall apart.

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Be prepared

I hear all of you constant readers rolling your eyes at me and all you Disney fans singing that fantastic villain song in your head. Just give me a second though. Not to sound too much like a sergeant but preparation is more often than not the key to success. What I mean by preparation is planning essential things. Transport to and from places, knowing when sites are open and making sure you fit them into your schedule, and not forgetting anything crucial in terms of packing or planning. If you are going somewhere by the ocean, make sure you are prepared in what you are packing. If you are going somewhere like Disney World, make sure you have all the necessary bookings and prepared for anything you might need beyond just walking through the door. Preparation can save you from so many fights and problems because, with preparation, so many of those fights won’t even happen. I know that it might seem a bit overkill to try and prepare so much in advance, but if the plus side is having a stress-free family holiday, can you really say it’s not worth it?

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Plan activities together

Planning activities together is always a great idea, and I’ll tell you why. By everyone sitting down and ‘democratically’ deciding what to do, everyone will likely be happy with what you end up doing. By planning things together, you ensure that everyone is okay to do the chosen activity. Also, if people are unhappy about it, you can sort it out before it ends up being an unpleasant experience. It also makes everyone feel included when they get to have their say about what the family is doing. Speaking from the ‘kid’s’ perspective, I understand that sometimes it is for the best when parents make executive decisions. However, asking everyone how they feel about an activity or asking what they would rather do instead is sometimes better than just stating what will be happening. This is because it doesn’t then feel like something forced, and is instead something that everyone actually wants to do together. Not everything has to be planned together because I do understand that that can just end up being tiring and counterproductive. But planning some activities together is a way to make everyone happy.

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Leave time to relax

I cannot stress this point enough. Being on holiday is getting the opportunity to relax. So, as great as it is that you want to see all the sites and fill your days with endless activities, think about factoring in some actual relaxing time. Here is why I say this. Yes, it is essential to experience the place you are going to, but you also need to allow yourself time to sit back and relax. Otherwise, you will end up back at work feeling more exhausted than when you first left for your trip. Also, if you don’t schedule in time to wind down, you are more likely to end up arguing because no one has had the time to relax. There is nothing wrong with seeing the sites. However, remembering to take an hour or two off to relax, sleep, read a book etc. will make the overall trip a lot more pleasant. For you and the family in general.

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It’s okay to do different things

As much as you are all on vacation together, you need to remember you are well within your rights to want to do things by yourself. Yes, this isn’t always possible. You can’t just let a five-year-old loose in a foreign city to ‘do their own thing’, but in certain instances, this might be the way to go. If some people want to go out on an adventure while others would prefer to stay back and relax, then that is okay! If everyone wants to branch off for a while and do their own things, then let that happen. You don’t have to always do everything together, and in fact, it is better for everyone if people have the opportunity to do their own thing. This is because people then get the space to do their own activities. I’m sure you will all agree with me that as much as you love your family, you still want to do some things on your own.

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Give each other space

Following on smoothly from my point above, it is also essential to give each other space. What I mean by space is just because you are on holiday together, you don’t have to spend every minute together. If anything, please avoid doing that. Yes, it is fantastic to spend time with each other. However, spending all the time with each other is only going to make people feel trapped and in desperate need of a small bit of breathing space. Don’t let it get to that stage. Allow everyone to have their me-time, and if people do want a few hours to themselves, let them. People are different and need that alone time. So, by allowing everyone to have their own space, you will find that the time you spend together will usually be a lot less tense. There will also be less chance of fights and problems.

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Do peaceful things together

I think I am going to need to explain this one. So yes, it is great to do activities together, such as going to the sites or visiting museums etc. However, more often than not, those activities are not particularly peaceful or relaxing. They may be lots of fun and a great experience, but they won’t always leave you feeling calm or relaxed afterwards. One great way to survive a family vacation is to try doing peaceful things together. You could play cards together or go for a swim together or just sit and play something childish like charades or eye-spy together. The reason why doing this sort of thing will help you survive the holiday is because it is a relaxing activity that isn’t too straining on anyone. It also allows you to bond by doing something fun. You will feel connected as a family but also happy and relaxed, which is a win-win for everyone if you ask me.

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Try to be understanding

One thing that we can sometimes forget is that there can be stresses and strains on holidays. That is completely normal but the trick to getting through this, especially on a family vacation, is learning and trying to be understanding about it. If you have spent the whole day in the hot sun in crowded tourist locations and someone snaps, you need to try to be understanding about why they are like this. The reason this will help you survive the vacation is that it can stop problems brewing before they boil over. By trying to be understanding of how others are feeling, it can change how you behave and might then allow for them to recover before the tension builds up and a fight breaks out. Things aren’t always going to be happy and perfect. So, trying to be understanding when it isn’t will help you survive because it will make the bad times a little easier. It will also help you get back to the good times faster.

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Be the bigger person

Sometimes families fight. That is more than usual. In fact, if families don’t fight at all, then I might be a little concerned because nothing is fantastic and peaceful all the time. Fights can happen quite often on family holidays because of the different setting or problems that crop up. The only issue with conflicts arising on holiday is that people don’t usually have the same coping mechanisms back home. So, what started out as a mild fight can become a family feud of Shakespearean proportions. These can become ugly and can make what was a lovely holiday an incredibly bitter and sour experience, so the way to survive is to be the bigger person. Yes, we all argue and fight. But the trick is to then apologise and get passed it instead of letting the negativity fester. It may not have been your fault, but being the bigger person and trying to move past it will help everyone to get passed the problem. That way, you can still enjoy your vacation together. I am part of a very stubborn family, so people don’t usually leap to be the first one to apologise. The only issue with this is that it puts everyone in a foul mood and often ruins a perfectly good day. From experience, be the one to apologise and try to move on. Fights are going to happen – that is, unfortunately, a fact of life. But you can be the one to help get everyone past the conflict and back to enjoying what has been an enjoyable holiday. Trust me when I say that being the bigger person is the only way to survive that part of family vacations.

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Laugh about it

They say that laughter is the best medicine and is, in fact, a great healer and way to put everyone in a good mood. So, why not use that? Try and laugh together while on holiday, as much as you can. Not just because it will put everyone in a better mood but also because of all the other benefits that come with laughing. If you can laugh about a negative experience or at yourself and each other in a positive way, you will survive your vacation far more successfully. There is very little that laughter can’t make a little bit better. So, if things seem a little tense, a good laugh might be just the thing to pull the family out from the negative hole and back into the happy zone. Laughter will always help you survive a little better. Even if you are the only one who can laugh about it, at least you will be having a better time and surviving a little more successfully.

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And so there you have it! I hope that you have all enjoyed this blog post today! Family vacations can be so much fun, and they are much deserved, especially for a busy family that doesn’t get to spend much time together. However, they are not immune to their fair share of problems, as I’m sure you are all very aware of. What is vital, though, is preventing issues that you can and being able to fix problems that crop up. That way, even if negativity hits, you all still get to enjoy the family holiday you so deserve. I hope that this blog post kind of served that purpose in that it gave you some tips on how you might survive the next family holiday. Or, at the very least showed you that your family is not alone if your family holidays aren’t always perfect. For my questions of the day:

– What tips do you have for surviving family vacations?

– Do you have any fun stories you would like to share about a family vacation?

Thank you all so much for reading, and I look forward to reading and replying to your comments. If you enjoyed today’s post, please don’t forget to hit that little like button at the bottom of the post and subscribe so that you don’t miss out on any future posts. As always, thank you so much for taking the time to follow my little blog and read my posts. Your support means the world to me, and I am so thankful to each and every one of you.

 Lots of Love

Blondey on a Mission xxx

Author: blondeyonamission

Hey everyone! I'm a lifestyle and travel blogger from South Africa and about to relocate to the UK for university. My blog is all about stories, tips and advice with topics ranging from university, organisation, friends, books, travel and more. Please check it out and I hope you enjoy xxx

3 thoughts

  1. Hi Blondey, thanks for the tips on surviving family holidays, unfortunaely, our families no longer seem to fit work time tables in any more to all enjoy a holiday together, maybe for the better.???

    Liked by 1 person

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