Did you know that the Sunday after Labor Day is National Grandparents Day? We didn’t either! But it got us thinking about how special family is—and how much human connection and quality time together really matter, especially in this day and age. Whether it’s your immediate family or your extended family, taking a vacation with your loved ones truly is a special gift.
Do you ever wonder what makes a family vacation a great success? Well, we have some common threads that run through all successful family vacations and what sets them apart from the rest. Read this before you plan your Indian Rocks Beach vacation and feel confident that your next family vacation will run smoothly and without stress—where everyone comes home with cherished memories that last a lifetime.
1. The right kind of vacation rental to suit your style.
How many family members are joining you on vacation and what your own personal family travel style is are two determining factors that drive your vacation rental decision. If you’re traveling with extended family, do you want everyone in the same vacation rental for togetherness or do you prefer to book neighboring condo units for more privacy? Every family is different and has their own vacation style, much like our Indian Rocks Beach rentals and Indian Shores condo rentals. It’s important to discuss these preferences with the family members you’re traveling with—particularly if they’re outside your immediate family—to make sure everyone is comfortable with the accommodation situation. Even if it’s just your own family, you can still discuss the sleeping arrangements, how many bedrooms and bathrooms are optimal, and which amenities matter most to each of your family members.
2. The chance for everyone to be involved in the planning.
While one person may be charged with task of “planning the vacation”, it’s a family affair. Trying to include everyone in the planning may sound like a daunting task, but each person is bound to have an opinion whether they choose to express it or not. Some family members will be more vocal than others, so it’s nice to include a little input from everyone before planning the vacation activities. Try to include things where everyone is able to participate, but also think about activities that may work for the varying age and ability levels of those traveling with you, and plan appropriately. Not everyone will want to do every activity, but having a good variety of options and input from those who are directly involved are two good steps in the right direction.
3. Being realistic about the length of your vacation.
This is an often overlooked consideration. You may think a week’s vacation is a given, but it really depends on your family and those traveling with you. For some, one week may not be long enough. Some people need extra time to be able to transition into vacation mode while others can snap right into it. For others, a week may seem like a long time to spend with extended family and perhaps a long weekend is better. With young babies and toddlers, too many days away or off their normal routine just might be too much for everyone to handle. There is no right or wrong answer here, only what works for you and those you’re vacationing with. Each vacation is unique, so the circumstances of that vacation are all you need to consider at that time. You can always look back and assess what worked best (and what didn’t) then make adjustments for future trips.
4. Communication during the packing process.
If you’re partnering up with other family members outside of your own, it’s best to communicate early on about who is bringing what to the vacation rental. Discussing meal plans and divvying up who’s bringing which supplies and beach essentials are important to do before arriving at your rental. No need to have several duplicates of some things and none of others. While you won’t be sharing everything during your vacation, there will certainly be communal property that can be shared amongst family. Hair products, first aid kids, sunscreen…. you get the idea. This is really helpful if you’re traveling by air and don’t have a lot of wiggle room with your luggage. Pack smarter, not harder by communicating and planning in advance of your arrival.
5. Clear expectations about vacation budget and finances.
This is one that should be worked out from the get-go. No one wants to unknowingly shoulder the financial responsibility of someone else’s vacation or vacation spending. Be clear who is paying for what, and talk about each family member’s budget and expectations. You definitely want everyone to be on the same page about how often you’re going out to eat, what big-ticket attractions you’re planning to spend money on, and how you’ll be dividing the cost of the vacation rental. Even if it’s just you and your kids on this family vacation, you still want to have an open discussion on spending, and set some boundaries and rules for what you’ll pay for and what they’ll be responsible for buying themselves.
6. The proper amount of down time.
Don’t go crazy with planning so much and trying to accommodate everyone that you don’t leave enough (or any) down time for yourself or for others. This is a vacation and relaxation is supposed to be part of the package. If you’re trying to squeeze too many things into your vacation time, you’re going to have take a step back, reevaluate, and pare down your vacation to-do list. No one wants a vacation that ends in exhaustion. You’ll also want to leave wiggle room for unexpected adventures and spur of the moment opportunities that may come your way.
7. Remembering to capture the memories.
Vacation moments go by so quickly and soon become memories. Capture as many as you can whether you take photos, keep a vacation journal, or create an online album that can be filled with special moments and shared with your entire family. So much happens in a week’s vacation that later you may forget the finer details and passing moments as they fade into your memory. The more you document and record now, the more you’ll have to look back upon later. It’s great fun to gather everyone together, pull out those memories, and revisit that moment in time. You’ll find that everyone remembers things differently, you may hear a few stories about things you didn’t even know happened, and everyone will get a few good laughs in reminiscing about it all.
Wishing you a fun and fabulous family vacation! Let us know if we can help you plan your next Indian Rocks Beach adventure.
What’s your definition of a successful family vacatION?
We want to know in the comments below.