Extended Family Vacations: 5 Tips to Keep the Peace

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June 19, 2014

Spending time with our families can be an incredibly rewarding experience. The shared history and bonding time can make everything feel that much more important.  The downside is that, while family can be your closest ally, it can also begin to feel like they are your worst enemy.  It’s only natural that, if you spend a lot of time together, you will have some less than joyful moments. Here are five suggestions for keeping the peace during a vacation with extended family.

Decide on Finances Early

Money can truly be the root of all evil. No two families will share identical incomes and, therefore, it can be pretty stressful for those on a tighter budget. For this reason, it’s absolutely necessary for the financial obligations to be decided well in advance so that there are fewer surprises. Come up with a plan that is reasonable for everyone and stick to it.

Include Everyone in Decision-Making

No matter where you go, everyone is going to privately have an idea of what they would like to do. Of course, it is rarely possible for each person to get what they want but, if all family members are included in the discussions, compromises can be made so that everyone feels included and valued. You may also learn a lot from each other’s suggestions.

Respect Each Generation

A multigenerational family on a multigenerational trip will have multigenerational needs. There’s just no way around it. In true family spirit, make sure that the needs and preferences of small kids, teenagers, parents and grandparents are always taken into account when planning activities or choosing accommodations. This is also true of anyone in the group who has special needs. Everyone should feel as though they are important.

Maintain Appropriate Boundaries

An easy way to cause a fight is to cross the line. You may have the best of intentions but there are just some things you should avoid doing, especially on vacation. Resist the urge to criticise someone else’s parenting, marriage or employment. It will only cause hurt feelings. Instead, if something truly concerns you, wait till you get home and take your family member out for lunch to talk. Don’t ruin everyone’s vacations by chiming in on a situation without knowing all of the facts.

Take a Break

Planning some time alone or with one or two family members (or your spouse!) doing something you enjoy will go a long way to maintaining your sanity. Little excursions can be planned with other family members taking turn watching the kids. That being said, don’t saddle grandparents with all the babysitting – they deserve a vacation too!

At the end of the day, remember that we never know how much time we have with our loved ones so, instead of letting little things bother you, focus on enjoying every moment you can with your family.

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