Do you remember childhood trips to the shore or lake, or the excitement of your first plane ride? These happy memories stay with us for a lifetime.
To help your kids enjoy their vacation experiences and make memories they’ll keep forever, here are 5 tips to help squeeze every drop of happiness from a family vacation!
Choose the Vacation and Let the Kids Choose an Activity
Rather than plan the entire vacation around the kids, why not choose your destination but let them choose an outing. They can boost their vacation happiness by researching and planning it well in advance.
- Choose one must-do activity per child.
- Encourage your kids to research not only the activity, but a few fun facts about the getaway destination, too.
Cash in on the Joy of Anticipation
Research proves it–we’re happiest about our vacation in the days and months leading up to the trip! So take advantage of the pre-getaway happiness boost with these no-stress planning ideas:
- A few months before your trip, sit down with the family to begin a Pinterest board about your planned vacation destination. Scour the Internet for new images to add to the board each week.
- Check for books set in the location of your getaway. Read with abandon!
- Look up regional foods and experiment with some tasty new recipes.
- Talk it up! Engage the family in conversation about your upcoming trip and planned activities.
- Set up a desktop app with a vacation countdown clock.
Ahhh…The packing and preparation is over and you’ve made it to your destination. Congratulations! Now, give yourself permission to relax and disconnect from the office–no texts, phone calls or work emails! Though that’s easier said than done, here are some steps you can take to combat the “fear of missing out” syndrome:
- As soon as you’ve settled in, take the kids on an “expedition” to discover the details of your new surroundings. Note textures, sounds, and smells. Use these moments to start your vacation off with an immediate bonding opportunity.
- Plan your days, but don’t try to squeeze in every attraction. In other words- don’t treat your getaway like work!
- Be flexible. Make a detailed “Plan B” for rainy days. Be sure everyone has already agreed that it’s almost as much fun as Plan A.
Channel Your Inner Artist
Practice creativity! Studies show that because we know we’re recording it, we’re less likely to remember a scene if we photograph it. Don’t let the pressure to record every moment take away from your enjoyment of family time, and be sure to limit time behind the lens. Take fewer photos, but find ways to creatively frame those precious shots!
- Zoom in close for a fresh take.
- Take note of the colors and textures framed by your viewfinder. Savor them.
- Know that it’s ok to crop the photo. We often take wide shots to get the scene all at once, but getting several “pieces” of it allows us to reconstruct the scene later, within our memories.
- Let the kids take photos of you, too!
Construct Your Vacation Story
Be sure to remember your vacation as a positive time by later gathering together to relive the stories. As soon as you’re able, set aside family time to review your beautiful photos and reconstruct the trip step-by-step. Other ideas to help you relive and extend your happiness include:
- Creating a scrapbook of the vacation.
- Journaling after the fact. Try to recall as much detail of each scene you capture.
- Planning a family night where you and the kids and talk about their favorite activity or moment.
Vacations are all too fleeting but these 5 tips will go a long way to help you get the most from your time away from your ordinary routine. So, start daydreaming about your next vacation now and set yourself up for creating those amazing and long-lasting family memories!