The following questions and tips can help you get a handle on vacation stress.
1. Are you being realistic in your planning? Confer with fellow travelers in advance about what each expects in terms of activities and rest time, then plan accordingly. Children aren’t the only ones who need to unwind between stimulating activities – adults need to do so as well.
2. Have you planned “unscheduled time?” Unscheduled time gives family members a chance to kick back and just do what they want to for a little while. Alone time is also important for some. It’s an opportunity to build a deeper connection with oneself.
3. Have you discussed finances? Most vacations involve lots of choices to make in regards to spending money. Getting clear on your budget in advance and making children aware of spending guidelines can help reduce anxiety with this issue.
4. Are you communicating? Increased contact with family members during a vacation can bring conflict to the foreground. Someone may feel he is not getting to do what he really wants to do, while others need to learn to compromise or let another lead from time to time. Honest communication and sincere listening can result in real understanding of each other’s needs and solutions that bring more balance to the situation.
5. Bored in the car or plane? It’s a great time to share something you appreciate about each of your traveling companions. A simple activity you can do with your children is to take turns and have each person you’re traveling with share what they appreciate about someone from your group. Try to keep the tone of this activity fun but sincere. Sometimes it might be best for a parent to begin by sharing their genuine appreciation for one of the children so they can get a better feel for of the concept. This exercise can be fun and gives everyone a chance to express something positive about someone else that they may not have otherwise had an opportunity to share.