How to Make Your Vacation Less Stressful (Even with Kids)

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Most of us know that we need to take a vacation from work. Vacations are important! But they are also stressful, especially for parents. There's the planning, the activities, the worry about the fun that you will or will not have, and the exhaustion from traveling.

Moose poop sign

Credit Image: Counselman Collection on Flickr

This past summer I've been thinking about the vacations we went on when I was little. I have no idea how my mom went about planning them. I know that she didn't use a travel agent. I just imagine her spending lots of time looking through magazines for ideas and then making lots of phone calls. (Thanks, Mom!)

It is a lot easier to plan a vacation these days. We have another problem when it comes to taking time off. A recent study took a look at parenting advice over the last 28 years. It showed an increasing fear parents have when planning vacations. Parents worry about everything from their children slipping at school to everyone having a good time. So now parents need vacations from their vacations.

I want to return from our family vacations well rested and happy. So, here's how we're doing vacations as a family:

  • Keep it a surprise. I learned this from a coworker. She never tells her children when or where they are going on vacation. That way it feels like more of an adventure for them. It also prevents the anticipation so they can focus on school and other activities.
  • All-inclusive resorts are wonderful. At first this seemed a little lazy to me, but honestly, the worry-free aspect to it is great for parents. You can always use the inclusive as your starting point and then add activities from there.
  • Be flexible. Don't schedule every moment of your day. That is the easiest way to make your vacation feel like work. A little refresh is a good thing.
  • You don't need to be together all the time. Do you always spend every minute with your family? Probably not. It's fine to spend some time alone.
  • Take a vacation from your vacation. Are you one of those families that does the same thing every year? Mix it up a bit. See how that turns out. Or, if mom normally does the planning, let dad plan it. See what happens.

Tell me at Sorry, Mom. I didn't listen.

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