A particular joy comes with going on a vacation with your extended family. Whether visiting Disneyland with your grandkids, taking an afternoon walk on the beach with your cousins, or having some family moments at a guest ranch, the time spent together is precious.
However, planning a vacation for an extended family is not as easy as it may sound. It takes a combined effort to have a successful and fun-filled family trip.
Are you planning a vacation with your larger family and don’t know how to go about it? This article is the ultimate read for you because I will share tips for planning an extended family vacation.
1. Involve Everyone When Planning
Planning a vacation without the input of other family members might turn against you, especially if something goes wrong. Therefore, it would be best if you allowed the cousins, grandchildren, and everyone to give their views on how they think the trip should be.
Let them suggest the destinations and activities they would love to participate in and their expectations for the vacation.
Also, get their input on a time frame for the vacation. This way, everyone will share the responsibility, and the vacation is more likely to succeed.
2. Choose a Nearby Destination
While flying with children may be an adventure, it might not be altogether smooth, especially when navigating the airport for security checking. Removing the baby’s formula at the checkpoint while still holding the baby in the other hand, is tiresome.
Choosing a location you can drive to would be best and allow everyone to pack and load their luggage without the fear of restrictions.
A helpful tip would be to look for a location with exciting attractions or spots along the way so you can make stopovers and take a breather before proceeding to your destination.
3. Choose Appropriate Accommodations
Everyone, no matter how old or young, has different expectations about what the accommodations should be like. That’s why it’s critical that you talk about it before booking a room so that everyone is satisfied.
When looking into each person’s preference, consider factors like privacy.
A helpful idea on this would be to look for a large house with enough bedrooms at least for individual family groupings, with a shared living room and kitchen together.
This will give you the freedom to do things like you are at home. Nevertheless, if there are people among you who want more privacy, consider looking for a rental with separate bungalows.
Remember to request group discounts to ease your vacation budget.
4. Schedule Some Alone Time
No matter how close your family is, you need a break from each other. As much as family vacations are meant to bring people together, it might not be practical to be together ALL the time.
It would be healthy to plan some resting time for everyone after participating in various activities. This will allow your cousins to catch up with their friends on social media or via calls.
Have some “group” and “me” time for some hours during your holiday. Nevertheless, you need to ensure that everyone understands the importance of this so you don’t have your kids throwing tantrums because it’s not playtime. Lay out the expectations ahead of time.
Planning some time to be alone is also suitable for couples since they can get away for a while and have some couple moments, especially when the kids fall asleep.
5. Have a Packing List
Travelling as an extended family means a lot of gear to carry. This is where the essence of proper planning comes in.
Create a packing list for every member of the family going on vacation. You can do so on google docs so that everyone gets their list and edits it.
Remember to make the list shareable, so families can let you know what each is bringing, and so that you don’t bring duplicate items.
Kids have a lot of things they can share, including toys, wipes, and sunscreens. Let each adult choose what they will bring from the list of the shared items. As you pack, avoid what you can do without for the days you will be away.
6. Plan Meals Together And Split The Duties
For large groups, eating out might be a bit challenging, especially if there are people who are allergic to some foods or you have picky children. Besides, it is costly, so you should consider preparing your meals together.
Depending on the number of families, you can have each family plan, prepare, serve a meal and wash dishes afterward on a particular day while the other families take care of the kids and then swap duties another day.
This leaves room for no one to feel exploited and makes the load lighter, especially if you discuss duties in advance.
7. Plan For Activities But Make Them Optional
No family vacation is complete without activities; you need to plan them ahead of time. When planning, consider going for the free or low-cost activities that will be enjoyable to everyone in the group.
Also, remember that not everyone has the same energy levels as you and your cousins, so pick activities that accommodate everyone.
Nevertheless, you can make them optional because your interests may differ. For instance, the young men would prefer hiking while the older men would prefer golfing.
The best way to go about this is to separate activities, so everyone feels comfortable and makes the most out of the vacation.
8. Have a Money Talk
Discussing how you will settle the bills is critical when planning for a vacation. Not everyone will have the same financial muscles to spend as you; therefore, you have to compromise and cut down the cost at some point.
Discuss in advance who will pay for the admission fees, buy groceries, or cover transport costs.
If you are going for rentals that require advance payments, assign the duties of collecting the money and making the payments to one person.
Having a money talk comes in handy in ensuring that there will be no money-related disagreements, hence an enjoyable, fun-filled vacation.
9. Remember to Bring a Camera
Extended family vacations are not an everyday thing, so you need to preserve the memories. You can pick one or two people in your group to take videos and photos and ensure your vacation is documented.
After you return home, they can create a family vacation photo book so each family will have a copy. This is one sure way everyone will have memories to cherish, and you will keep them looking forward to another vacation.
10. Bend The Rules
When you are at home, dinner is served at 6:30 in the evening, and maybe by 9:00, the kids go to sleep. However, things might be different during a vacation. The fireworks could be way past your kid’s normal bedtime, but there is no harm in bending the rules and allowing them to have an experience.
Make allowances and let everyone in the crew benefit.
What to Do When Taking Kids For An Extended Family Vacation
As much as traveling for an extended family vacation is fun, you need to pay attention to the comfort of your kids. Here are some tips to help you ensure all the kids enjoy the vacation.
Bring toys and books
There is a special place for toys in every kid’s heart, so no matter where you travel, you should not forget their favorite toys. You don’t have to carry many of them. A few cars, Polly pockets, and a bag of LEGOS will keep them entertained for the whole afternoon as the adults take a nap.
Also, remember to throw in some storybooks and coloring books, and life away from home will be easy.
Bring Extra Clothes
If you don’t have plans to wash clothes during your vacation, remember to carry enough extra ones to cover all the days you’ll be away, and then some. Kids can get themselves into some messy situations, especially when they are out on the beach.
The extra clothes will come in handy just in case there is a need to change twice a day.
Let Them Choose Some Activities
During a vacation, allowing your kids to choose the activities they want to participate in is excellent and fair. Avoid restricting them unless it has something to do with their safety.
Being an extended family vacation means kids will be many, and they will have their ideas to share for each activity, and the best you can do is give them the freedom to do so as much as possible.
An extended family vacation is one way of building strong family ties and unwinding from the hustles and bustles of the daily grind. Planning for one shouldn’t be a nightmare, and I hope the above tips will help you in your upcoming extended family summer vacation.