There are many reasons why you might want to go on vacation. It’s a great way to take a break from work, it can help you relax, and it can be a wonderful way to explore other cultures. For many families, going on vacation means growing closer together.
However, closeness isn’t a given. Just because you spend hours in the car or hop on a plane to visit someplace new doesn’t mean you’re going to make genuine connections with your family while you’re on vacation.
If you want to make real and memorable connections with your family, you have to put in a little extra work, but it’s well worth it. With the tips on this list, everyone can enjoy themselves and return home feeling closer to every member of the family.
Plan Shared Experiences
Vacations are great because doing things is always more memorable than buying things. However, most people are trying to find the best luggage sets sometime during their planning process as they get excited.
The quality of the things you do on vacation matters. Plan shared experiences that you know the whole family will love. That might mean buying tickets to a Branson show you know everyone will love, or it may mean skipping the museum and planning a day at the theme park instead. You’ll all end up spending quality time together because everyone will have fun.
Include Them in the Planning
It’s the norm for adult family members to take the reins and plan the entire vacation from start to finish. Parents do have to do the majority of the work. They are the ones with the credit cards, after all! However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include your kids in the planning process when you can.
Sit down with your kids and review vacation magazines or browse websites together online. Ask them what they have in mind for your upcoming vacation, and try to include their suggestions when you’re planning. Not only does that take some of the pressure off you to figure out what everyone would like to do, they can also look forward to the activity they planned long before you pack your bags.
Spend Time in the Hotel
There are a lot of fun things to do, no matter where you go on vacation. Many families spend all day and evening away from the hotel room. Although you can make memories and get closer to your family by doing activities outside your room together, some of the most memorable experiences happen in the hotel room.
Plan to spend time in the hotel room. You can give everyone a chance to relax and unwind, you can plan what you’re going to do next, and there are some fun things you can do that include:
Invent a fun game to play, like throwing balled socks into the waste basket.
Have a dance party and order room service for dinner.
Cook a kooky meal in the hotel room, like pasta in the coffee maker or grilled cheese on the iron.
Disconnect from Technology
If you want to make better connections with members of your family, you need to disconnect from technology. That means getting off your phone when you’re at home, but it means getting off your phone when you’re on vacation too.
There are things you can do to make disconnecting easier. Disable notifications on your phone so your apps aren’t beeping at you when you’re trying to enjoy your family’s company. Have everyone stack their phones on the table when you go out to eat, and set specific check-in times. That way, you can turn off your phone, even if you split up, without worrying about how you’re going to find each other again.
Put Down Your Camera
Photos are a great way to remember your vacation. Your family can look back on the pictures you take and recall fond memories of your time spent together. However, that doesn’t mean you need hundreds of pictures of a week-long vacation.
Sitting behind a camera can actually pull you away from your family, especially if you’re behind the camera all the time. Instead, make sure you’re part of the moment by putting the camera down. A few quality pictures are better than tons of bad pictures anyway.
Ask the kids to help! Instead of being the one to take pictures all the time, rotate who uses the camera, so everyone gets a chance to live in the moment.
Make Private Memories with Every Family Member
You go on vacation to spend time together as a family. It may seem counterintuitive to split up, but it can actually bring everyone closer together.
Spending one-on-one time with your children is really important, and yet, it’s something that is almost always ignored on vacation.
Plan times to split up so you can spend time with one child while another adult spends time with another child. Not only will they make wonderful memories, it’s a great way to ensure everyone gets to do what they want without getting stuck doing something they aren’t interested in doing.
Start a Family Tradition
Family traditions are a great way to pull the family together. That means baking cookies together during the holidays, but it also means doing the same things together when you’re on vacation.
Family traditions can be just about anything. A few family vacation tradition ideas include:
- Only dine at locally owned restaurants.
- Try something new at every restaurant you visit.
- Collect a magnet everywhere you go.
- Book your stay at the same chain of hotels every time you travel.
- Have a family movie night every first evening in the hotel.
- Find someone to take a picture of the entire family on the last day of your trip.
Vacations are meant to be fun, but that doesn’t mean they will automatically bring your family closer together. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a camping adventure, you’re going away for a long weekend, or you’re spending the week in the city, these tips will ensure you return home with wonderful memories that will bring everyone closer together.