There was once a time when summer vacation meant getting a three-month long vacation from school. Then, it meant being able to celebrate the summer months by taking trips with your partner, leaving at the drop of a hat with very little responsibilities. Now, planning a summer vacation with kids makes things a bit different. Not in a bad way, of course, but in a different way altogether--much like your life changed when you were no longer in school, and you had to plan summer trips yourself rather than being at the helm of your parents. Having a child while planning a summer vacation is simply a new chapter of your life.
That being said, there are several components to a good summer vacation with your kids that make it a total blast for everyone involved. Planning a successful trip with your family, while taking everything into consideration, can be the difference between a vacation totally worth the time and effort and a summer trip that no one ever wants to talk about again. You know the kind.
In order to have the best possible summer vacation with your kids, be aware of the following points, which are all here to contribute to making your vacation a blast and one for everyone to remember. And before you point out that your two-year-old probably won't remember the summer vacation, they will mostly likely still have as much fun, should you remember these tips to make your summer vacation a blast.
10 Take Advantage of the Beach
Planning a summer vacation at the beach is a natural go-to for most people, families included. Chances are, you either live far enough away from a beach to make it a novelty, or you live close to one and still know how to appreciate it enough.
The best part about the beach, though, besides the waves and warm sand? The fact that it's free! You can pay for a flight or a long car ride for your entire family to get to Myrtle Beach, SC, but you'll be paying exactly nothing to be able to sit on the beach and splash in the ocean.
9 Stray From the Itinerary
Of course, it's important to have some sort of game plan when planning a family summer vacation because reeling in everyone for a trip to a new place can turn into total pandemonium if you're not organized. Then again, having to stick to a set itinerary the entire vacation also makes for unnecessary stress that no one needs while trying to enjoy a relaxing summer vacation.
8 Make the Most of Lazy Summer Evenings
When you're on vacation, you typically take part in most of your entertainment and activities during the day. This is especially true when you have a toddler who needs to go to bed at a reasonable time--even if it is far beyond his or her normal bedtime.
So, make the most of the ability to just kick back and relax. True, you could technically be doing that back at home, but the point of a summer vacation is to be able to relax. If you can do that on a balcony with the sounds of the ocean near, then all the better.
7 Do Your Research
While it's plenty true that following a strict itinerary isn't exactly ideal, it is still not really smart to go totally blind. Having some idea of what to expect on your summer vacation and in the surrounding area can help you make some plans or at least have a little bit of knowledge about where you'll be for a week or so. That way, you'll never find yourself sitting around with the family, bored, and wondering what the heck to do with yourselves.
6 Don't Be Afraid to Sleep in if You Can
We get it--you don't want to sleep in while you're on a vacation because you don't want to miss out on anything. That's totally understandable and we really can't blame you, but this is your vacation, after all. You do not have to wake up with an alarm before the sun comes up. If your little ones will allow it, let yourself sleep in a little later than usual. It won't kill you to get an extra hour or two as long as your kids are still sleeping or being looked after by the rest of the family.
5 Lists, Lists, and More Lists
Going back to the idea that you should have an idea of what to expect in the area and surrounding area of your vacation spot, you should also be open to lists to get and keep yourself organized. You can't have a fun summer vacation without all of the essentials and making a list of everything you need to pack is where the list making begins. And then comes lists for all of the activities you want to do on vacation, which is just good sense to cover everything.
4 Let Some Things Slide With the Kids
If you are as stringent and strict with things like meals and eating enough veggies and healthy things while on vacation, your stress will invariably rise enough to make you feel like you're hardly on vacation at all. The truth is a week off from giving your kids super well-rounded meals and lots of fresh, healthy foods isn't going to hurt them. And being more lax about it all while on summer vacation is the way to save yourself some stress.
3 Make Bedtime More Lax Than Ever
As we said about being more laid back when it comes to meals, the same goes for the old bedtime routine. It's never a good idea to have your kid going on too little sleep so that you can have a jam packed summer vacation. But instead of hurrying your little one off to bed at 7 pm sharp, just like at home, don't be afraid to be a bit more lax about bedtime. If they can handle it, consider adding an extra hour or two. You're on vacation after all, right?
2 Always Have a Camera Ready
This probably goes without saying, but one of the more important things to remember when packing for summer vacation is a handy camera. Sure, we all have cameras in our phones, some of which are even better quality than those of the point and shoot variety. So, have a camera charged and ready to retain all of the photos with an extra memory card to boot.
1 Take a Few Hours for Just You and Your Partner
Taking an exciting family summer vacation is experiencing a trip like no other, with the kids and the rest of the family involved. But there's nothing wrong with craving a little alone time with your partner. Because as much as you love your little ones and your more extended family, having a few hours away as a breather is always a welcome change of pace while on summer vacation.