How to plan a stress free vacation? Doesn’t taking a vacation mean leaving behind the daily grind and living life free and easy? Not always. Stress Free Vacations take a bit of planning and wiggling so you don’t pack up your cares with your clothes!
Summer is almost here! When you consider planning for the family “get away” keep the following thing in mind:
A Stress Free Vacation Requires a Budget
No one wants to come home from vacation overdrawn and sunburned. Planning a budget for vacation can help soothe everyone’s nerves and stop the “back from vacation” hang overs.
4 Main Categories Stress Free Vacation Planning
Lodging- a lot of options here.
Check out National Park cabins, college dorms, YMCA, hostels also can be rented out for the summer, plus a family “airbnb” has some great rates. Want some great memories at cheap prices pack the kids and a tent.
Food-where do I start? No one wants to be stuck in the kitchen on vacation. Having simple cooking facilities saves a bunch.
-divide up who does what meal and what meals are on your own– snack meals– e.g., breakfast on your own, when you get up
– Lunching out is often cheaper than dinner out and can come with left overs!
-Planning to do meals in the rental space with a few special trips to the ice cream shop/bakery/candy store can save on both frustration with picky eaters and dollars.
Travel-what are you willing to do for a cheaper price or less hassle.
-leaving on a 6 am or 8 pm flight can help with flight cost, plus what about flying into a smaller airport (Dallas Love Field instead of DWF)
-take the car–make the journey part of the vacation, plan this into the budget and enjoy the ride. Down load family podcasts, bring music just of the trip, play car games and plan special snacks just for the car ride.
-make the travel the vacation itself. A train trip or a boat ride or even a ferry out to an island you have been wanting to explore. Make this the fun event and the way to get there.
Fun-Running wild or sitting at the beach we all want to Laugh
-this is why the beach and national forest are all kinds of fun for free. Hours of riding the waves or exploring the woods are real fun and do not cost $89 per person to enter.
-campfires, cook-outs, picnics are just a few stress free vacation ideas that solve two problems for the price of a bucket of chicken.
-start looking early for coupons and deals. If you are headed to a theme park or someplace with a high entrance fee, look for lodging and ticket combos. Join their email list in advance for special offers. Read up on what you really want to do and find the dates that work for you. Staying over night at the Georgia Aquarium is a breath taking experience and much cheaper than a hotel and meal.
Creating the time for a Stress Free Vacation
Summer sport leagues, spending time with family, work commitments and child care can slow down the stress free vacation planing process. Not to mention trying to do a multi generational trip where several adult schedules are involved. Uggh! Sometimes this makes you just want to give up and stay home. Which is not a bad idea!
-“staycations” are awesome! Do all the things in your town that you normally only do with guests. Visit the amusement park, take in an afternoon movie, go to lunch at the fancy restaurant, play a round of golf, enjoy a night at the theatre, take the kids to a restaurant for a big bunch meal. You can visit the museum, park, lake, fishing hole you drive by everyday and wish you had time to stop. Be sure you fold down the sheets and put chocolate on everyone’s pillow at night just to make it official that you are on vacation.
-Can you vacation at a time or place that is a little toward a”shoulder” season. My family went to Dauphin Island, Alabama for 3 weeks in August. The kids in Alabama return to school in early August so we booked a wonderful house for 6 people for less than $140 a night. The water was warm and the beaches contained only a few other families.
-try shorter weekend trips to close locations. Paid vacation for many of us is as foreign as a duck billed platypus. Plan frequent short trips that don’t require long travel times or extended time from work.
-camp in your own yard. I love camping and can’t wait for it to stop snowing so we can dust off the camper and take her down the road–even just 20 miles or so, build a fire, roast marshmallows and talk about what we enjoy about summer.
Setting Expectations With Spouses and Kids
Make a list of all the things you really, really want to do this summer. Hang it up in the kitchen in the spring. Just the act of writing things down changes things. After a little mulling over and a few parent to parent conversations, take the the top five suggestions and discuss what might really be possible.
-teach even young kids about budgets
-look on a map about distance–how long it would take to get there. (We went to the Georgia Aquarium because the one in Okinawa, Japan was a little out of our reach, for now!)
-what will give everyone the most satisfaction with the least hassle. Camping for 3 weeks may give 3 out of the 4 of your family hives just thinking of it. While a tour of 14 cities in 10 days may create a claustrophobic feeling for 2 of you. Is sitting on the beach the right ticket for the workaholic in your family while the runner needs a lot more action in their days?
Fun Family Dinner Game For a Stress Free Vacation
Describe in detail your perfect stress free vacation experience. What would you do, where would you stay, what would you eat.
What is the best vacation you have taken ever?
If you were to vacation with these groups of people–immediate family, friends, just your kids, extended family, just your spouse, just you–what would you do?
Start with the family game. It will give you an idea of where every one is in their lives right now without commitment. Just fun thoughts?
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