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We all know the emotional rollercoaster that comes with a family vacation. Whether it’s those vacation meltdowns that always seem to happen even when you take steps to try to prevent them or the fact that the children are very adept at pushing your buttons. Maybe you are considering planning a couple of vacations a year; one with your children, and one traveling without kids. When you look at this from all angles, is going on vacation better with or without your children? Let’s take a look at some of the pros & cons of family time.
How much do you do for your kids and not yourself?
If you are someone that skips that small group tour you’ve wanted to go on to do an excursion that is more geared toward your kids, I totally get it! Family vacations are all about compromise. Yeah, we could have left our younger children in the kids club on the cruise ship so we could parasail or go wine tasting, but instead we thought maybe next time we’ll do something without them.
But if you think about it, if you are doing everything for your kid’s sake, and not doing any activities that you enjoy, is there any point in actually going on vacation? Of course, it’s important when on a family vacation to create lasting memories, but it is also important for everyone to enjoy themselves. Plus, would it even be a vacation (time spent away from work & your daily life to recharge) if you forgot about relaxation. So I wish I could give you kudos for doing everything for the children’s benefit; however, I think it’s really important to meet some of your own needs in order to be your best self.
How do you and your family get along on vacation?
Okay, so now let’s address the elephant in the hotel room; are you the family that continues to bicker from the moment you step out of the front door all the way to the hotel and it just feels like the tension escalates over the course of a few days? Do your kids whine about when, what, where and everything in between when you take a family vacation? If so, then it’s hardly a surprise that you’re giving thought to traveling without them. I have teenagers, so believe me… I totally get it! The older they get, the more they want to voice their opinions. And boy do they think that the activities that parents want to do are boring or embarrassing (like the time we went gold panning and I wanted to take pictures dressed in old western outfits!).
Well then perhaps you should spend time away from said teenagers! It’s easier than ever to keep in contact with each other with apps like Facetime & Life360. So if the area is safe, why don’t you split up for the day and let your older kids do an activity they want to do; like hanging at the beach for the 4th day in a row. Just think, you may have some interesting things to share about your day during dinner that night, but you also get that all-important time away from the bickering to relax & recharge.
How much time do you spend together at home?
We live in a world where everybody has a million things to do, and the only family time together is at the dinner table. If you don’t spend much time together then taking family vacations is the perfect opportunity to get that time in. A vacation as a family can be such a blessing as you come together for a shared activity. And a trip together really creates the opportunity to reconnect with your children.
If you’re not spending much time together, then you should use the family vacation to have some fun, but also get back in contact with each other on a more intimate level. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but if it’s the one time of the year you get together as a family, then you should definitely take advantage of it!
Family Trip or Adult Trip?
Time as a couple is really important for a marriage, but so is family time. So how do you decide whether to travel with your kids? Since every family dynamic is different, I recommend taking that into consideration. As well as thinking about what you have gotten out of past family vacations. Did you have a great time or did you arrive home feeling drained or disappointed?
In considering these factors, think about what would work best for your family. Maybe compromising on what activities to do on your next family vacation. Or perhaps plan a family trip that’s geared 100% for the kids and then a couples trip focused on all the adult activities you’ve been wanting to do.
In my experience, I think planning two separate vacations is ideal; if you can afford it. If only one vacation works within your schedule or budget, then figure out how you can fit in activities so everyone can enjoy the trip. Sometimes it helps to vacation with relatives or another family so that you can let the kids spend time with others while you & your spouse can do some fun things together.
How have your family trips turned out? Are you thinking about your next vacation and whether you should take the kids? I’d love to know your experience & thoughts, so please share them in the comments.