The Ultimate Guide to Stress-Free Family Vacations

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With the school year coming to an end, it’s time to think about family vacations. This is a great time to bond, but it can also be a tremendous source of stress. We want you to have a peaceful experience that’s full of positive memories. Read on to learn how to plan a stress-free family vacation.

Plan as Early as Possible

If you haven’t started planning yet, start now. Last-minute planning is extremely stressful, and it can also cost more in the long run. Figure out where you’re going, where you’re staying, how you’re getting there, and every detail in between. Make sure you know the exact cost of each of those factors so you can budget accordingly. Set aside extra money for food, fuel, souvenirs, and extra expenses you may incur along the way. The more prepared you feel, the less stressed you will be.

Pack ahead of Time

Packing is a stressful part of the vacation process, and it often gets overlooked. You wait until the day before you leave, and then you frantically have to throw everything in a suitcase. Instead of putting yourself through that torture, pack ahead of time. Pack as much as you can several days before your trip, leaving only the essentials to pack the morning of.

Don’t forget:

  • Clothing for every family member – socks, underwear, tops, bottoms, jackets, swimsuits, shoes, accessories, etc.
  • Toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste (consider getting travel toothbrushes)
  • Hairbrushes, hair tools, styling products, and other haircare essentials
  • Phone chargers
  • Passports and IDs
  • Personal necessities, such as medications or nasal strips

Make a list of everything you need to pack the morning of so you can pack quickly and efficiently. If possible, leave some room in your suitcases for souvenirs. You may also consider packing your last-minute items in your carry-on bags.

Get Your Kids on a Vacation Sleep Schedule

If your sleep schedule is going to change for vacation, give your kids a week to adjust to that. For instance, if you are traveling across the country, bed times may shift several hours. If you adjust sleeping, eating, and other tasks to the vacation schedule, you can avoid the groggy/cranky side effects of routine changes.

Establish Rules before the Vacation Starts

Your kids may be under the impression that household rules don’t apply on vacation. In reality, you probably have stricter rules for the trip (don’t walk away in a store, can’t be loud in the hotel, etc.). Prepare them for those rule changes. If they know what the rules are and what their consequences will be, you can refer back to that conversation while on vacation.

Use the Tools Your Family Therapist Has Taught You

If you are in family therapy, you have learned tools and techniques that work for your family. Use them while on vacation. This includes any communication or conflict resolution skills you’ve developed along the way. Your therapy sessions only represent a small amount of progress for your family. The real work happens in between sessions, when you apply the lessons you’ve learned from week to week. A vacation is a perfect time to test your skills to reduce stress and anxiety.

If you would like to be matched with a family therapist near you, contact Urban Balance at (888) 726-7170.