5 Tips and Tricks I Have Learned on Family Vacations

Monday, July 17, 2017
Ahhhh, summer! That beautiful time of year when teacher-moms are planning to take a much-needed vacation. It will be family-friendly (and won't break the budget)! We will all get to relax and enjoy each other's company(you tell yourself)! The kid's will all get along perfectly (HA!)!

5 Tips and Tricks I have Learned on Family Vacations for a Fun and Relaxing Time!

This is the second year in a row that we are taking a family vacation with my husband's family. Last year they rented a house on the beach for 8 people (hubs, myself and our two littles, sister-in-law and boyfriend, and grandma and pop-pop) for 7 days. We did have a lot of fun, but we also learned a few good lessons! I wanted to share some of my vacation tips, tricks and truths with you as we embark on this year's adventure to the Poconos!

1) Figure out the right length of time for your stay!
For us, 7 days is toooo long! We actually already knew that from visiting my mom in Texas, but ignored it because VACATION. Not sure why we thought that would make a difference.... We have discovered that 5 days is our vacation sweet spot- long enough to really get to enjoy a place, but not so long that everybody is getting on everybody else's nerves. Figure out what works for you and don't feel bad!

2) Be honest about what you will cook/eat.
My in-laws are usually the first ones to arrive at the vacay house, and they will ask us what we would like from the store. Last year we hesitated to give them a list; it was SUPER long, and we felt bad about having them do all the shopping. Consequence-when we first arrived (right about dinner for two squalling kiddos!) no food kiddos would eat! Whoops! This year, we went ahead and sent the entire grocery list (mostly frozen pasta and chicken nuggets) and will pay them back when we get there. I have a basic plan for meals for myself (diet based) and the girls (picky) already thought out, so I am ready at any time. We are also bringing along a bunch of snacks from our own pantry for the trip and for any delays in supper time upon arrival.

3) Bring toys and activities.
Yes, we were at the beach for 7 days. My then-1-year-old was terrified of the ocean on day 1, and was sick of playing in the sand by day 3. The then-3-year-old was good at the beach until day 4. That meant we spent a lot of money at the local boardwalk and aquarium, taking random, really long walks and being cooped up in the house with tablets. On day 6 we discovered a local park, and the girls had tons of fun and made new friends! This time around, we made sure there was more than just one local feature (that was not too expensive!) There are 2 local playgrounds, woods to walk in, a splash park, mini-golf, movie theater and a little downtown. Plus, I am bringing more books and toys, and a few little arts and crafts activities. (Who wants to make slime and nature pictures!!!)

Making nature pictures after our nature walk!
4) Make a list of EVERYTHING!
And I do mean everything, right down to the mattress covers, night lights, and noise machines. No, we aren't traveling to the middle of nowhere, but last year I forgot my swimsuit (for a beach vacation. Yeah). I had to spend a couple hours trying to find a swimsuit at the end of the summer season. This year, I have been working on my list for 3 days! I keep it in Evernote on my phone, so I can add to it when I think of something. I feel pretty confident that we have almost everything! Bonus points- I also use it to make sure nothing gets left behind when we leave!

5) Try to relax!
This one is for the moms! I know that I always feel a bit bummed out on vacations. They are not really vacations for us, are they? Now, instead of keeping just my own little family on their schedule (naps and meals need to be on time to avoid meltdowns, amIright?!?!?!), but I am also trying to get 4 other grown adults on it as well. Mostly, moms spend their time trying to keep little people from falling into tantrums, but it is important to remember to communicate honestly and openly with the people you are on vacation with. And don't feel bad to ask them to take the kiddos for a bit! I had a bit of a meltdown myself, and I really plan to avoid that this year!

The daily view from our deck!
The babies were "dropped off" at our house two days in a row while mama foraged!
Okay, teacher-moms, there are my 5 tips and tricks that I have learned! Is there anything I missed? What lesson have you learned on vacation with your little ones? Share in the comments below, and enjoy your last days of summer!

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