Family vacations are all about fun, bonding and shared adventure. However bringing in your entire extended family on board totally changes the story; an exciting moment becomes the most unbearable experience ever. But do you know that you can have a peace of mind planning your family vacation by simply following some guidelines? Well, consider the following tips and you can have the most amazing vacation of your life;
Photo Credit: Lagniappe Destinations on flickr
1. Organization is key
When it comes to extended family vacations nothing can stand in the way of an organized plan, I mean real organization. Never take anything to chance, instead of complaining about how the huge gang will be going for the vacation, focus on your organization. Get the list of every member of your extended family and prepare a spreadsheet made up of two sections; one for adults and the other for the children. This will be highly beneficial in taking advantage of discount offers on various hotels, pricing activities and plane reservations. There are normally free pricing in some instances for young children, ex-military personnel and even for the senior citizens.
Also remember to make a checklist of some major highlights on the spreadsheet. You can make a column for things such as “horseback riding bookings”, “plane tickets booking”, “hotel room bookings” and many others. Once each and every member of the extended family ascertains that they have made their booking, you can indicate that on the checklist beside their name. This will help when days draw near since at a glance you can identify those who are struggling and require a reminder.
2. Select a representative contact person from every family
You need to choose your best contact person for every family. Choose members who are reliable and easily respond to emails otherwise you may have some hard time putting things in order. Remember it does not matter much you may love or prefer a member of family over others; the key rule is reliability and efficiency. Choose someone who is reliable and efficient.
3. Delegate tasks
It is always more rewarding and exciting to divide tasks. Assign different persons a unique task to handle and make this formal by writing an email to all of them. The email should clearly describe the individual’s responsibilities. All the other members of the gang should also be “cced” on all the mails so that they can clearly understand everyone else’s responsibility. Once tasks are assigned, each individual is accountable for their action and if anyone lags behind they should be answerable to the rest of the members. This will avoid blame being shifted on you for everything and creates a sense of responsibility and personal ownership of the trip.
4. Always ensure upfront payments are made
Most family disagreements emerge from the subject of money. Avoid launching the family vacation on grounds of financial tension and remember it is not your responsibility to pay for all your family members-unless you made a commitment to do so earlier on. Therefore make things clear and straight by informing your family gang that you are not a bank and that each family member must have some certain amount of cash or credit ready in advance.
If it is wiser to make the down payment as an individual then set a deadline for each of the members and make sure they clear their amounts at least 3 days before the day of booking is due. This will give you enough time to figure out what to do in case a relative is unable to raise their part of the deal.
5. Prepare a daily itinerary for the whole trip period
You should be well organized when it comes to all activities to be carried out during the entire trip. Prepare a list of all activities and group them into Morning, Day and Night activity. Also remember to include the venue for each activity. Ensure that the list is prepared in advance and circulated to all the members who will be on board. This will avoid some repetitive questions such as “where will we be going or what will we be doing tomorrow/tonight/today”, blah blah blah. Indicate clear and precise descriptions of the venues and activities that will take place.
Make sure that before the departure date all members have been emailed the itinerary and you should also print a copy for each one so that they can pin it on their hotel rooms. By doing this each member feels as a part of the group and will not bother asking rhetoric questions during the trip.
6. Schedule some “nothing” time
It is always quite exhausting to travel as a huge group and therefore when you create some time for doing nothing as a part of the schedule members can get to relax and have some private sessions. A preferable “nothing” time may be one afternoon or even an entire day so that they can relax and download pictures, relax their exhausted bones, enjoy some cup of coffee, take a lazy stroll, and have time to read a book, or even play around with the children.
7. Never try to please everyone
Always remember that it is impossible to please everyone no matter how hard you try. There are some that simply love the attention they receive when they complain therefore sit back and relax knowing that you have done your part in planning for the vacation.
If you follow through these steps you can have everyone wishing for a return visit at the end of the trip.