Family vacation boredom? How is this even possible? Yet, it’s not uncommon. The average American family takes only one family vacation per year. Unfortunately, not every vacation meets all expectations and not every family enjoys their vacation to the fullest. According to travel reports, the likelihood of experiencing a boring family vacation is high when you fail to plan adequately. So if you want to beat family vacation boredom, here are some points to consider.
Know your limits
Too much of a good thing can be boring or even stressful. As unbelievable as this sounds, it happens. When you become too focused on experiencing the best family vacation at all costs, you may well cross your fun limit and end up exhausted. The same applies to your children. Whether you’re tired or hungry or over-stimulated, vacation no longer feels fun.
And unfortunately, family vacation fighting is a real possibility. This is why rest is critical on family vacations. Indeed, your kids may argue against it, but parents typically know what’s best. I’m not just talking about getting enough sleep at night, but planning for regular breaks during the day. Whether it’s a rest stop on a hike, a snack break on a road trip, or an impromptu visit to a playground, it’s the variety that helps.
To avoid pushing your kids beyond their limits, you may want to vary your activities during your trip. Perhaps you alternate more physically active events with quiet time. Even your children need an opportunity to relax with no pressure to engage in activity. If your vacation schedule is packed with an itinerary from dawn until dusk, someone’s going to end up grumpy!
Make time for your kind of fun
Great family vacations consider everyone’s needs. Family trips are often planned with a focus on what the kids want. But putting your own needs on the backburner doesn’t help. It’s one of the surest ways to invite boredom or even frustration into your family vacation. You deserve to have fun as well, and being a parent of young children doesn’t mean there’s no hope.
For example, our three-generation family has an upcoming vacation in Tennessee. Some of us want to be outdoors in the Great Smoky Mountains. Others love to take beautiful landscape photos. And the kids are always up for a thrill. If you plan carefully, you can find activities that appeal to everyone. The Sevierville Ziplines are a great activity for both young and old. Bear in mind that you can only partake in this fun activity if you have no fear of heights. (Or can be persuaded to overcome it!) But it gets you outdoors, there are lots of photo ops, and there’s plenty of thrill factor, too.
Other activities that may appeal to all are amusement parks like Dollywood, with both thrill rides and shows. Perhaps your family could agree on a Davy Crockett-inspired breakfast where you eat great food AND learn some history at the same time.
And we’ll definitely plan some hiking time, too, but perhaps we’ll stop to see a waterfall, eat a favorite snack, or even look for wildlife.
Family vacation boredom sets in when you fail to identify the things you get excited about. So, yes, keep the kids entertained and give them a break from school, but make sure you do something you like as well. Don’t you also deserve a break from the stress of work? As a family, plan ahead of time to be sure you know what everyone most wants to do.
Take more short vacations
Perhaps a big mistake is to plan only one family vacation each year. It might be nice to take more than one vacation for a shorter period of time. This also might free you up to take vacations at times other than summer. Plan a four- or five-day vacation over a weekend, maybe even combining with a lesser holiday or a school’s professional growth day. There’s far less chance of ending up with family vacation boredom if you take shorter vacations throughout the year.
So instead of a long two- or three-week vacation, you could plan a week on Lake Powell in a houseboat, or a road trip to the Grand Canyon or other national parks. Walk the Freedom Trail in Boston or visit Philadelphia to learn more about our country’s history. It is even possible to travel overseas with only one week off.
Pack things that bring smiles
Another thing you can do to beat family vacation boredom is to bring items you know will make your family happy. Favorite games, stuffed animals, stickers and activities, even favorite snacks will all help when boredom sets in. Some children enjoy escaping with a book for a while. Watching a movie or favorite TV episode might also help. Having something familiar from home is a good idea!
Document your happy memories
Family vacations cannot be complete without recording your memories. The truth is, you will love revisiting those fun memories after your trip is over. For this reason, you will find it helpful to immerse yourself in capturing your happy moments. You can do this by taking pictures, videos, writing in a diary or journal, or even jotting notes on postcards. The best part is that as you take the time to document your special moments, you are also leaving no room for boredom!
Boredom only happens when you cannot find anything stimulating to do. As you record your family’s memories and special moments, you will greater appreciate your family and the fun time you’ve shared. When you return from your vacation and edit your photos, create videos or slide shows, and share your stories with others, you are in essence, re-living your family vacation. And all of these stories will serve as inspiration for your next family trip. Repeat what worked and leave out what didn’t.
Change it up
As you continue to plan family vacations, don’t be afraid to change them up. Try new things and add variety to your itinerary. As your children grow older, what they are interested in will change also. You can attend a sports event or Broadway productions, go on a cruise, or go backpacking. Keep using your vacation time in a way that strengthens your family and beats family vacation boredom. Then your family will be excited to plan the next vacation!