Back in the summer my husband’s brother, sister, mother and all our families descended on Panama City Beach for a vacation. My nephews had no clue they were even going to the beach until they were almost there (huge props to my sister in law for being able to pull that one off). My kids had no idea their cousins would be there with us. So imagine the surprise when we “bumped” into them while getting some groceries to take back to our condo.
Vacationing with family that are also best friends is quite possibly the best vacation possible. My nephews are like having another set of kids that I didn’t have to birth. And their parents treat my kids the same.
When you have so many adults present, parenting is significantly less work. At one point my son was with my husband on the beach and my daughter was with my sister in law at the store. Do you know what I did? I listened to the quiet and I slept.
I know most parents would agree with me, the beach and pool can be a little scary when you have a one year old. But with family there we were all watching her and it was far less stressful.
Some of my tips for having a great family vacation with extended family:
- Don’t over schedule. Our trip was to the beach, so the only thing we planned to do was spend time playing in the sand and splashing in the waves. When we were in the early stages of planning the trip it was very tempting to schedule time at various attractions in the area. But finally we decided it would be best for each family to decide for themselves what they would do with their time.
- Reserve enough space. Ideally each family would have their own room and bathroom. Different people have different sleep schedules and it is vacation; so sleeping in while the early birds are up would be nice.
- Buy more than enough food and drinks for your family. If you are sitting down to eat a bowl of cereal you want to be able to share. Sharing is caring. And buy paper plates… no one wants to do the dishes… NO ONE.
- Have freedom to come and go. All the families on our trip had their own vehicles, so they could leave the resort if they had needed to. (With everything our resort had to offer we only left once.) If a couple desired some alone time they could go to the pool, the coffeehouse, walk on the beach, check out the hot tub, sweat it out in the sauna, even just sit on the balcony. There was plenty of places to escape for a few moments of alone time if it was needed. Also, our condo had electronic keypad entry. So no one needed to worry if they had a key… they just knew the code.
- As with any family dynamic keeping score means everyone loses. Don’t keep up with who has swept the floor and who hasn’t… just do it if the floor is dirty.
- Plan in advance. We planned our trip about 6 months prior to actually going. This ensured all the family members were able to get off work and make the trip. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun if everyone hadn’t been able to go. I would even consider shortening or changing a destination if it meant being able to accommodate everyone.
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