When most of us think of “family vacation,” we imagine going on a trip with our spouse or partner, our children, and maybe the family pet. Have you considered inviting along with your parents or in-laws, or maybe your siblings and their kids? While your first instinct may be to recoil at the suggestion that your vacation with your mother-in-law, give it some thought! This could be a great experience in family togetherness, and you just might enjoy getting away from it all… all of you!
Extended Family Vacations
Obviously, there are going to be pros and cons to vacationing with extended family. One positive is that you may be able to enjoy a night on the town or a day at the beach sans kids. Let a doting grandma entertain the kiddies at the hotel pool, a theme park, or a kid-friendly attraction while you relax, enjoy a date with your partner, or simply browse the little touristy boutiques that the kids last 30 seconds in before asking if you’re done yet. Your children can spend some special, unstructured time with their grandparents, and you can relax, knowing that they’re in good hands and having fun.
On the other hand, one potential negative is too much togetherness. Sometimes you might want to have dinner with just your spouse and kids. And if you think your mom’s child-rearing advice is difficult to handle during family gatherings, it might irritate you ten-fold when you’re spending seven days and six nights within mere feet of her.
So, what can you do to make the experience more fun for everyone? Here are a few pointers:
- Don’t insist on too much togetherness. Yes, it’s a family vacation, but face it, your parents will probably run out of steam before you do, and certainly before your three-year-old does. They might not have the patience for little Suzie’s finicky eating habits every night at dinner. Think about times when it might be best to be “just the three/four/five of you,” and suggest that your extended family members meet up with you later in the evening or the next morning. In most cases, family friendly villas Ibiza are the best plans when extended families vacation together.
- Talk about schedules. Are your kids up with the sun? Are your in-laws? Do you need to be back at the resort by 8:00 pm so your kids can get the sleep they need, while your brother and his wife are just sitting down to dinner at that time? Discuss sleeping and eating times before you go, and try to work around everyone’s preferences. Maybe the later risers can strive to get up an hour earlier, while the early birds can enjoy coffee in their own rooms before the rest are awake. And you might decide that family dinner is not going to happen, but that a family lunch will work for everyone.
- Work out money issues ahead of time. Avoid awkwardness by having a frank discussion about who is paying for what. If your parents have offered to pay for the timeshare, for example, that does not necessarily mean that they’ll also be footing the grocery bill for the week. Lay all of the cards on the table, figuratively speaking, to avoid resentment later.
- Keep your sense of humor. Things are not going to go 100 percent your way. Be willing to compromise, and try to laugh it off when someone gets on your nerves. Chances are, you’re going to irritate or frustrate someone at some point, too. If a topic of the discussion gets too heated, agree to disagree and move on.
Your children may remember “that vacation we took with grammy and pop-pop” for decades to come. Help to create pleasant memories of your multi-generational vacation by making sure that you have enough time for yourselves and by discussing potentially sticky issues well in advance of your trip.