Before kids, the idea of going on vacation was a relaxing one. After kids, the thought brings on a bit of anxiety. Not only do you have to wrangle everyone together for family activities and to get everywhere on time, but you also have to make sure everyone has FUN!
Take a deep breath because not only is this possible, but it’s going to happen. And you can have fun in the process, too!
All it takes is a little planning and some fun ideas.
Here are five ideas you can use to make any trip a great one:
1. Road trip activities
Road trips aren’t for everyone. It takes a lot of planning, organization and patience to pull it all together. It also takes a lot out of your car. You have to have a car that’s up to the challenge, and you have to make sure you’re free to add all those miles. For example, some people have lease limitations that prevent them from going on road trips. So, if you’re all clear and thinking of planning road trip, you can start planning some fun activities.
Here are some great ideas to have fun on your next road trip:
- Create fun lap boards – Grab a metal tray with magnetic pencil holders and paper to create fun lap boards for your kids to play with while you’re driving. It won’t keep them occupied the whole time, but it should provide at least an hour of entertainment.
- Audio books – Music is great, but it can become background noise after a few hours. When you’re done rocking out to your favorite playlist, turn on an age-appropriate audiobook to keep your kids entertained. If it’s a good story, it can keep everyone’s interest for a long while.
- Bring lots of snacks – Sure, snacks are for nourishment, but eating can also keep you from getting bored. Bring enough snacks for everyone.
- Play road trip games – Good old-fashioned road trip games like punch buggy and eye spy can help pass the time while you’re on a road trip.
Geocaching is an amazing new way to explore new places while having fun at the same time. So even if you have rainy days or museum days that the kids don’t love, you can get them to participate in some fun with geocaching.
Once you’ve found the site, create an account and search your destination. You can find geocaches in your area based on the given GPS coordinates. Typically, you’ll be looking for a container that contains a logbook or log sheet and any number of items. If you take something from the cache, it’s proper etiquette to leave something of equal or greater value.
You can even hide geocaches yourself. This is a great idea if you don’t find any good ones along your route. It also creates a sense of accomplishment to have left something that will be of value to someone else (a fellow geocacher). You’ll leave your destination knowing that this geocache will likely be used again and again.
3. Go on a scavenger hunt
Scavenger hunts work similarly to geocaching, but they typically work with clues instead of GPS coordinates. With a good scavenger hunt, you can have fun while learning about your destination. If you have the time and desire, you can create your own scavenger hunt for your family, but this takes a lot of advanced planning.
There are also many scavenger hunting companies that coordinate the hunt for you. Some are online that you do at your own pace and others can be done in-person with a group. Either way, they typically encompass a relatively small yet popular area. This would typically be somewhere you’d want to visit on vacation anyway. You and your family will have a certain amount of time to find each clue before you can move on to the next one.
Scavenger hunts are great family activities because they force you to work together as a team, sometimes even against other families. This creates a sense of togetherness that can sometimes get lost when everyone has different agendas. These are great memories and you’ll probably also get some amazing pictures out of the deal too!
4. Collaborate or designate
When you’re on vacation, you still have some to-dos. They may be more fun than your typical task list, but you still need someone to take charge. Decide in advance which tasks you will collaborate on and which you will designate to a specific person. This will help things go more smoothly, so you can focus on the fun at hand. Here are some examples of things you can collaborate or designate on vacation:
- Road trip playlist
- Choosing an excursion for the day
- Where to have dinner
- Snack choices
- Navigating to a destination (typically this one is better designated)
5. Stay positive
No matter how much you plan, you’re going to encounter some hiccups. It’s inevitable. And the longer you stay on vacation, the more hiccups you’ll see. Instead of letting them get you down, which is easy to do, try to turn them into something positive.
If you get sidetracked or delayed, try to think of it as a good thing. Instead of thinking about what you’ll miss out on, try thinking of the new experiences you can have now that you’ve got more time. If you have to take a detour on your road trip, maybe you’ll find a charming bistro or fun adventure park. Sometimes, the journey is better than the destination.
If anyone in your family seems to be getting down, try to remind them of the positives too. Negativity breeds more negativity, so it’s best to nip it in the bud as soon as possible. If the kids are feeling especially down about something, try to create a fun distraction that will take their minds off of the disappointment.
What’s your favorite way to have fun with the family while traveling?