Summer is the perfect time for far-flung families to reconnect on vacation. Grandparents, adult children, and grandchildren can relax together without the stress of busy holidays or work demands. Following these simple tips can lead to a new family tradition.
Be upfront about your budget:
Answering some questions about money before you begin planning your vacation can prevent stress down the road. How much can each family afford to spend on the vacation? How much will it cost for everyone to arrive at your destination? Housing is the biggest expense. Whether one family pays for the lodging or everyone chips in, how much can it cost? Will meals out be on a fast food budget or a 4-star dining experience? Ticket prices on popular attractions can add up quickly. What are low or no cost alternatives?
Choose a vacation destination:
This is the fun part. We have vacationed everywhere from Orlando, Florida, to the Wisconsin Dells, from the Appalachian Mountains to the Outer Banks. The best destinations offer a wide range of entertainment within an easy drive of your home base. Explore the natural wonders found in every part of the country. Learn about our nation’s history or another country’s culture.
Find a vacation rental that fits your family:
A rental house offers the most in flexibility and economy. Some of our favorite memories come from hanging out in our vacation home. Splashing in a private pool, roasting marshmallows over a fire, and playing board games bring the whole family together. When you are looking for a vacation rental, look at more than just the total number of beds. Will the number and location of beds in each room fit your needs? Are the living areas large enough for everyone to be together comfortably or to spread out when desired? Make your reservation early because homes can fill up quickly for the summer months.
Which activities could be enjoyed by ages four to seventy-four? A great way to start learning about an area is to take a bus or DUCK tour. Many cities offer these tours. Some bus tours allow you to get on and off throughout the day to check out sites that look interesting. Not everyone has to do every activity together. Let the sports fans take in a baseball game while outdoor enthusiasts take a kayak or hiking tour. Look beyond the obvious tourist attractions. Often state or local parks will offer less expensive options and fewer crowds. Remember to leave plenty of time for lounging on the beach or tossing a ball together. Sometimes the best activities are spontaneous. Last summer, a magic show at Circus World inspired nightly magic shows the rest of the week.
Share meals together:
If you choose a vacation rental over a hotel, you can save money by eating at home. Enjoy a quick breakfast before you leave and pack snacks to munch on through the day. Plan time to enjoy eating together, too. Each of our four families who vacation together plan and prepare one meal for the group. Everyone pitches in to clean up. Enjoy a few meals out to sample to local cuisine. Of course, what vacation would be complete without finding the best ice cream or hot dog stands?
Share photos and memories:
The vacation doesn’t have to end once you return home. Make use of photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Picasa to share everyone’s best photos. Many photo development sites will let you easily create a photo book to tell the story of your vacation. Sharing memories and telling stories can let your vacation linger until you do it again next year.