Traveling with three generations of your family comes with perks. Apart from the possibility of splitting the expenses, you get a much-needed rest from child-rearing. Your children won’t mind entertaining the rest of the family with their antics, and your parents are bursting with affection to shower on them. It’s also a time to catch up with your siblings, if any, especially if you haven’t seen each other since the last wedding.
Along with the assortment of personalities, though, arises problems. The venues for conflict are many, but if you’re careful enough with planning, you might succeed in having a quality vacation.
Limit the Guest List
Make it clear early in the planning stages that this vacation is limited to your immediate family. Maybe there can be an exception of a few relatives but keep your number manageable.
A vacation isn’t a reunion, and merging both is a recipe for disaster. Imagine dealing with thirty people’s preferences in food and ambiance. Deciding on a place to eat is only the beginning of the problem. Organizing who rides with who and in what can take forever.
A limited guest list lets you plan with ease. If your family’s longing for the beach on the Gold Coast, you can make reservations in Nobby’s Beach Surf Club or restaurants to avoid logistical problems.
Always plan with this mindset: the fewer the people involved, the lesser the chances of disaster.
People often make the mistake of assuming you’ll want toa be around each other all the time because you’ve been apart for so long. Unless your family’s made up of the most understanding members, it’s not the case for the majority of people.
It’s better to book a room for each sub-unit of your family than to get the biggest villa available. This way, you can shush the crying baby and tune in to your favourite late-night show without bothering anybody. It also prevents the scrutiny of each other’s preferences, which is a trigger for awkward meals.
Forcing yourself into the personal business of your parent or sibling was normal in childhood. It doesn’t sit well with anyone anymore now that you have your own families.
The same autonomy applies to car rides. Unless you’ve booked tours that use private vehicles, there’s less stress when you all agree to use your own cars.
Keep the Peace
Leave past dramas behind. Vacations lose their point when every meal is full of pointed stares and sarcasm over old wounds. It creates a bad atmosphere not only for you but for the older and younger members of the family.
Even in the planning stages, you can keep the peace by respecting your sister’s decision to stay in another hotel or your brother’s tendency to go sightseeing alone. They’re craving for a break like you are, and if that’s the way they unwind, let them.
That leads to another misconception about vacations: they’re not all about sightseeing. Filling your schedule with one tourist spot after another leads to fatigue. It can be either from travel or the arguments that happened because of it.
Allow your family members – even the seemingly tireless kids – a chance to relax.
Your family might do it differently than other families. That’s okay. It’s not about the location, the meals, or the tourist spots. The most important part of family vacations is the chance to be together.