Let’s all go on a family vacation, you thought- it’ll be a great way for all of us to connect! You haven’t even gotten to the airport yet and the kids are yelling at each other and you are bickering with your partner. Sound familiar? You will definitely need these tips to promote conflict free family travel on your next vacation!
The whole purpose of going on vacation is to have fun, relax, and enjoy some quality time with your family. You don’t want to spend the entire time stressed because the kids aren’t happy or because you are all spending too much time with each other.
It is no surprise that families fight. It is just how things go! When you spend so much time together, tensions will rise. Especially with all the stresses that come with traveling to begin with- expect some kind of arguments!
However, you can still limit the amount of arguments that occur with these tips. While you won’t catch them all, you can at least be prepared and know what to do if they happen!
While family travel is such a broad topic, this article will focus more on kids-teenagers with their parents. Bringing along babies or adult children is a whole different ball game- and can be a post of their own!
To get a head start on what some common traveling stress might look like, take a look at this article: what no one tells you about traveling.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Choose a destination together
One of the easiest ways to ensure conflict free family travel starts with the planning of the trip. Unless your children have been just dying to go to Disney Land or some other place you know they would be happy about, plan the trip together!
Trying to make your whole family love a destination that you picked out might not go in your favor. Just because you like it, doesn’t mean everyone else will!
Sit your family down together, and have a discussion on places each person would like to visit. Take into consideration each person’s ideas and opinions, so everyone feels heard.
Narrow it down to 3 choices, then put it up for a vote! Hopefully, everyone will be happy with the end choice!
If one member of your family truly isn’t happy with the choice, it is ok to do another vote. There is no sense in making them go if they are going to be unhappy! There are so many places in the world, you should be able to find somewhere that everyone is happy with!
Stuck on coming up with ideas of where to travel? Check out this destination generator!
Create your itinerary together
Another way you can help create a conflict free family travel experience is to create your travel itinerary together! Just like how you picked a destination together, sit your family down, and let everyone research and brainstorm!
Allow each member of your family to choose at least one activity they want to do while on the trip. Maybe they want to go horseback riding, go to the amusement park, go to a museum, attend a concert or sporting event, etc.
Have your family research the area (or if they are too young, do some research for them and have them pick an activity).
Depending on the time you have in your schedule, each member might be able to pick more than one activity! This will help everyone feel their ideas and opinions are being heard, and everyone can have their own thing to be excited about on the trip!
You can do a similar process for choosing where to eat while traveling. Each member of your family can pick a restaurant (or type of food) they want to eat each day, so everyone gets a say! You can even do this for each meal of the day if you want!
Don’t make any of these travel itinerary mistakes while planning!
Give everyone a role
Everyone wants to feel like they are an important piece to the puzzle. Especially with the stresses of traveling, your family members will want to feel like they are an important part of your journey! What better way to do this than to give everyone a bit of responsibility.
By giving your kids and each family member a role to play, they will feel a sense of importance and power. If everyone has a role, no one person is in control, and everyone needs to work together!
Here are some ideas of roles you can give your family members on vacation:
- Itinerary keeper: this person holds the itinerary, and helps keep everyone on schedule (always keep a spare itinerary with you or on your phone, just in case it gets lost!)
- Direction manager: this person helps to figure out how to get from place to place. This can either be on a paper map or phone maps.
- Backpack holder: This person carries the day bag, with all your important things in it. (read more about what to pack for a day of sightseeing)
- Sunscreen monitor: This person keeps on eye out for anyone getting sunburned, and gives reminders to reapply sunscreen (read more about how to avoid sunburn while traveling)
The possibilities are endless, and you can change them up depending on the age of your family member. Of course, you can rotate jobs each day to keep things fresh!
If a job gets to be too much to handle for one person, don’t stress! Simply have another person take on their job, or trade jobs. No need to add more stress!
Spend time apart
Another way to ensure conflict free family travel is to get away from each other! Too much family time can lead to stress and conflicts, so why not spend some time apart from one another?
Maybe you schedule a girls and guys day, where mom and daughter and dad and son do an activity together. Then, meet up later at dinner time and talk about your day!
Maybe activities that some family members want to do fall at the same time. That’s ok- split up! If someone doesn’t want to do a certain activity, there is no need to make them. Have them stay back with an adult at the hotel and lay by the pool instead.
Remember, vacation is all about relaxing and enjoying yourself. Do everything possible to cater to everyone’s needs. If that means skipping an activity or doing something solo- so be it!
Give kids their own space and items
Kids don’t often like to share and disputing a fight over whose bag of chips that is isn’t what you want to do on vacation. Instead, draw clear boundaries of whose space is whose.
You can even make it fun with some unique colored/patterned duct tape. Label areas in the car or hotel room for each kid. I guarantee they will get a kick out of it!
Also, make sure each child has their own set of snacks and toys. Put together a little backpack for each child with their own things in it. You can even label the snacks with their names on them so there is no question whose is whose!
Make sure each child has the same amount of snacks, so there is no fighting!
If they need more room in the hotel room, consider getting two hotel rooms if they are old enough, or a conjoining room. The more space your family has in the hotel, the better!
Give yourself plenty of time
Is there anything more stressful than rushing? Another way to ensure conflict free family travel is to make sure there is plenty of time in your schedule to get from place to place.
Maybe a 6 AM flight just isn’t the best choice for a family. Perhaps an 11 AM flight would be better to get everyone there happily and well-rested.
Make sure your schedule isn’t packed too much, and give your family time to get from one activity to another. If you can, only plan one-timed activity per day. This way, you can slow down and enjoy yourself without rushing to get somewhere on time.
Additionally, your family might want to sleep in occasionally. By going with the flow and having time to kill, you won’t have to start the day off with an unwanted wake-up call.
The most important way to ensure conflict free family travel is to be flexible! There is no sense sticking to an itinerary that is making everyone unhappy, or doing something even though the weather is cold and rainy.
It is okay to change your plans if things just aren’t working out! Maybe you all get somewhere you had planned and realized you all hate it. That’s ok- leave! Why stay if everyone is miserable?
Be open to new ideas and changes in your plans, and take into consideration everyone’s opinions and feelings!
Have any questions, comments, or concerns? Don’t hesitate to contact us! Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!
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