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Keeping the Joy in Family Travel – A Guest Post

Posted By Jessica Fisher On July 20, 2010 @ 1:07 am In Family Fun,Travel | 6 Comments

[4]Photo Source: Muha [5]

Today’s guest post is from my friend, Amy, the voice behind Mom’s Tool Box [6] as well as Mom’s Travel Tales [7]. She’s my globe-trotting hero. I can’t wait for her travels to bring her my direction.

Family travel can be filled with wonderful experiences and adventures.

And it can also wear a mom out! While traveling with our three kids near and very far through the years, I’ve learned to make a few adjustments so that  vacation feels like, well… vacation, even for me.

Hope these adjustments help you to get more joy out of your travels, too:

Expect slow motion.

Accept the fact that your children will most likely move as slowly as molasses on a cool fall day, no matter how much of a rush you may be in. And then try to embrace that fact. Slow down, if you can, and watch that caterpillar crawling across the sidewalk if your child wants to do that.

So often in my day-to-day life at home we are rushing from place to place. Try to arrange your daily vacation schedule with lots of padding so you can let your kids lead and you follow. You might want to fit in every tour and scheduled experience. Vacation to them might mean you taking the time to let them show you what they think is exciting, not rushing to fit everything.

Think individually.

Plan at least one thing that really appeals to each individual, rather than only planning things you think everyone might like. Sometimes when you try to please everyone, everyone ends up having a mediocre time.

Instead, try planning an event for each person just for them and let the others tag along. This way everyone gets a moment to really shine… and you might be surprised at who else will love the activity, too.


Break out of the herd.

Consider planning alone time for each spouse or splitting up once or twice with each parent taking a smaller group of children or just one child.

We started doing this pretty early when our first two were one and three and we traveled to Costa Rica so my husband could take a few kayak lessons. He made sure I had time set aside for me and I had a blast taking the kids on a crocodile sighting boatride while he did his thing. Also, we take advantage of vacation time to plan an opportunity for him to take each child individually and do something special since we don’t do that at home as often as we would like.

Include a date.

Plan time after the kids go to bed to reconnect with your spouse. We have spent many a vacation evening sitting in the hotel hallway right outside of our door while our kids slept in the room. Sometimes we share a bottle of wine and some cheese. Sometimes we just talk. This gives us a chance to reconnect and talk without being hurried or interrupted.

Pack some fun.

Bring diversions. On vacation you are bound to have lots of waiting time, whether it is in line for a ride, to get into a venue or at a restaurant waiting for food. Bring a deck of Uno cards, a handful of Legos or a few tiny dolls, or colored pencils and paper to pass the time.

[9]Photo Source: OliverAlex [10]

Enjoy the moment!

Every day try to stop, breathe, and look around and be present. Enjoy your family and enjoy the vacation you worked so hard to plan. Then let ‘em know you love ‘em and are thankful to be with them!

Hope these help you as much as they have helped me. I truly want you to enjoy those family vacations and relish those special moments!

Happy Travels!

– For more on family travel, including packing lists, diversion ideas and Destination Snapshots, check out Amy’s blog, MomsTravelTales [7].

What do you do to make vacation more fun for everyone?

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