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How to Have a Stress-Free Family Vacation

Written by Chris Osburn

Vacations are for relaxing and rebooting from the stress of everyday life. And then there’s the family vacation. Yes, you love them but they can get on your last nerve when all you’re trying to do is take it easy and have some fun.

Here are some ways to take a family vacation minus all the unnecessary hassle.

Something for Everyone



One key ingredient to a good family vacation is to make sure everybody in your family is happy. If everyone’s cool doing just one thing together for the entire time you’re away then great! But odds are that your family’s interests will be a mix of various activities. Maybe dad likes golf and mom likes yoga … and the kids like anything that doesn’t have to include the parents. Spending days at a theme park might be a dream come true for some but a nightmare for others. Ditto a weekend doing nothing but shopping. When planning your trip take each member of your family into account and see if you can find a destination that can cater to everyone’s interests.

Go Long (But Not Too Long)


Try to go away for the right amount of time. A vacation that’s too short might require more planning and travel than some in your family can endure and could result in everyone needing another break just to recover from it. Of course, a vacation that’s too long can start to be a burdensome drag, racking up resentment and unnecessary expenses. A 10-day vacation is thought by many to be an ideal time for a group, giving all involved enough time to relax and not feel like every moment has to be scheduled and spent together.

Catch Up Over Dinner


As the saying goes, if you love someone … set them free. Consider taking some “me time” and letting the other members of your family do the same. You may find your vacation to be better for all if the kids are left with childcare while mom and dad head off for a more adult-oriented outing. Going your separate ways during the day and then reconvening for a catch up over dinner could be a great way to spark lively conversation and learn new things about your loved ones.

King for a Day


Give each person in your family a chance to plan equal parts of your itinerary. Maybe each family member can be “king for a day” and have a day when what they say goes. Another idea might be to let a different person choose dinner every night. Obviously, some guidance will be required for smaller kids, but the idea should work with all ages if parameters are clearly set and everyone goes into it with goodwill.

Great Expectations

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Hope runs high during family vacations. Sometimes, though, the expectations of one family member aren’t the same as another. Be sure to verbalize what you want – before and during your trip – and to ask everyone who’s going what they think. Does a vacation mean playing it by ear or booking activities in advance and keeping to a schedule? Is it okay to work during your vacation or should the job be left behind? Does, for example, a trip to New York absolutely have to include catching a Broadway show? Being open about budgets, time constraints, how you like to spend your time, and how much time you want to spend with everyone is fundamental to having fun and avoiding disappointment and arguments.

How about you and your family? How do you make the most of your vacations together? Got any tips for getting along while traveling?

About the author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, and curator and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world and has called London home since 2001.

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