The Do’s and Don’ts of Family Vacation

Image Source: Thinkstock
Image Source: Thinkstock

In two days we’ll be packing up the car and heading to the Grand Canyon for what I hope will be a memorable family adventure. With two active kids and miles and miles of road under my fanny pack, I can tell you that our family has done vacations right, done vacations very wrong, and done vacations every possible way in between.

And because there are valuable lessons to be learned from every family adventure, I’ve developed a handy dandy list of family vacation do’s and don’ts to ensure your vacation’s done right:


Carry barf bags and changes of clothes. Yes, even for your teenager. Ask me how I know.

Pack more than one phone charger because: A) everyone is going to need a charge at the same time B) everyone believes their phone is the most important C) sharing is overrated.

Understand that your family vacation might, in fact, be the hardest you’ll work all year.

Expect to learn new and interesting (and sometimes annoying) things about your family. You grind your teeth in your sleep? You’re afraid of heights? You’re an amazing photographer!

Before you leave, make sure:

  • The iron/curling iron/flat iron are unplugged
  • The garage door is closed
  • The main water valve is turned off
  • The mail is being taken care of
  • The doors and windows are locked

Set reminders on your phone to apply sunscreen liberally and periodically throughout the day.

Give your kids a souvenir budget at the start of your trip and make them responsible for the accounting. This will ensure they purchase items they actually care about because your 7-year-old has no business with a novelty shot glass.

Insist your party pee before leaving any location with functional restrooms. It matters not whether they need to go. It matters not if they peed ten minutes ago. Pee again. Always, always pee again.

Talk to the locals. Get the insider scoop on the best places to eat and play while on vacay!

Check your expectations. You’re paying for the funnest fun ever. You’ve waited a long time for this. And things don’t always go according to plan. Remember: travel is an exercise is going with the flow.

Do not:

Try to please everyone all the time.

Pack everything you own. Believe it or not, there are places you can pick up just about anything you’ll need while away from home.

Forget the selfie stick. Dorky? Yes. Worth it? YES!

Spend the whole time documenting your vacation on social media instead of actually enjoying it. Get off your phone already!

Pack too much into your agenda. Allow enough free time to explore whatever unexpected awesomeness comes your way.

Pack a suitcase full of brand new shoes. Your feet will be sorry and so will you.

Check your email if you can at all avoid it. Trust me, those emails aren’t going anywhere.

Promise specific souvenirs to people. The last thing you need to be worried about is finding that certain something for that certain someone.

Wait until you’ve reached your destination to figure out your new fancy camera.

Allow your fears and insecurities keep you on the sidelines of your own great adventure. Put on that swimsuit! Brave that zip line! Try that new cuisine!

Forget to care of yourself and your family. Drink enough water. Get enough rest.

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Article Posted 4 years Ago

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