Advice from a Teen: How to Have an Enjoyable Family Vacation

Note: Our 15-year-old contributed this family vacation blog post after a suggestion from her dad. It’s a fun and unique perspective to see what your kids are thinking about a topic like this!

If you are anything like me, a family vacation seems like it can be enjoyable, but being stuck with your family for an extended period of time can become a little, well, traumatic. Of course, we all want a stress-free vacation, but it may not be that easy at all times.

Especially in my family of five.

Family with teens on vacation at the beach

However, there are many ways and tactics to avoid a quarrel. Coming from a stubborn fifteen-year-old, there are plenty of things that can make it easier to get along with my family.

A Family Vacation is All About Compromise

Yes, I know you are thinking “duh” because I it sounds like such a simple concept, but compromising is a tool that would have been helpful on many occasions for me.

There is this bit in my family where us kids will often argue over who is in the back seat and who rides shot gun, you know, because it is such an important thing. Little fights like this can stress everyone out and it can lead to an even worse issue, which of course you do not want.

In this situation, compromising would have been the perfect solution, where the middle ground would have been just dividing the time between us. If you use and apply this strategy when things start to get a little tense, I can assure you it will be a big helper!

All Opinions Count

Here is a scenario: You have finally arrived at your destination and you and your family are starving, so you need to find a place to eat. As parents, you decide that you want seafood, and you have already found a destination. You think everything is working perfectly until you tell the kids. Suddenly you are partaking in a squabble about how the youngest does not feel up to sea food. Yeah, that did not go as well as you planned.

Now this was an oddly specific scenario, one which you might not have experienced, but you have probably gone through something like it. When making simple decisions on your vacation, I personally believe it is vital that all opinions and considered in the decision making. Now, I am not saying your kids get to decide everything that happens, but considering their opinions with smaller, less dramatic decisions can help everyone get along.

“Me time”

Ok, obviously. Being stuck with the family can of course become stressful. Trust me, I know. “Me time” can give you a break away from everyone else and can help you just simply relax. This can be done in many ways, such as how I may go somewhere and listen to some music or how my brother may go down to the hotel gym. I think finding some individual time to unwind in a way that you enjoy can really help you escape away from anything possible thing that could potentially stress you out.

Avoid a Rush

There have been a numerous amounts of times where last-minute plans were made, and I felt rushed. Being the high maintenance person I am, this definitely became a little frustrating. There is also the often occasion where my parents had a game plan but failed to inform the kids about it. Yeah, and then my mom has a full face of makeup on and I look like I just rushed out of bed. Not good. Not good at all. Moral of the story, making sure you have a plan for the day, and everyone is informed about it can save a lot of frustration from happening.

Keep the Kids Entertained

“Mom, mom are we there yet?” Sound familiar? If not, you are one of the lucky ones!

I have realized over the years that a stressful parent can make a stressful vacation, without a doubt.

Now, in car rides my family gets along well, doing our own entertaining things as well, but we are also age 13 and above. So what would you do about maybe a toddler? In this day and age I think it is honestly easy to keep a kid entertained. I see kids all the time at restaurants just playing a phone game and keeping quiet. Now I am not saying: “Hand the child a tablet, that’ll shut them up!” If you can, I do recommend maybe giving them a phone game to play, because I have seen that trick work wonders.

But if you cannot do that there are also many other ways to keep your children calm and quiet. As a matter of fact, I remember when we traveled when I was a toddler, we would also do a movie marathon that kept us happy and our mouths shut. You can also give them a book, play road games, give them music to listen to, and more. Keeping your children entertained it such an important detail that a lot of stressed traveling parents overlook.

The Blame Game: There really is no winner

Wow. I honestly can not even stress this one enough. Although it seems like it will get you somewhere, playing the blame game is never anything good. Usually it leaves everyone cranky and upset with one another. Not good. My biggest tip with this is try your best not to assign blame to someone, and just let the incident pass. And honestly, writing this has made me realize that I need to take my own advice.

But, in all seriousness, blaming someone for something, especially if they did not do it, will never, and I mean never, end as well as you hope. Just try to let the past be in the past and move forward so you can all enjoy your vacation!

Remember: It is Vacation

It is all about the Zen state-of-mind. When you plan a vacation you always expect it to be a relaxing and feel-good time. OK, so what is my point? Strive to keep that head space. When your parents have spent money and time to travel somewhere, why try to cause any trouble? My family usually takes a yearly trip to the Florida Keys, and I do not think we get along better anywhere else. I genuinely think it is because we are all in a tropical and hippie state which just helps us relax and be nicer to one another.

Next time you think you are struggling on a family vacation I encourage you to try and use one of these techniques to avoid an unnecessary fight. They may seem fairly simple, but I can assure you they will work like magic!

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