6 Tips to Get More Out of Your Next Family Vacation

Gearing up for your next big family vacation?

Bone up on these six tips to realize a more restful, fulfilling family vacation than you have any reason to expect. Oh, and don’t forget your toothbrush.

  1. Go on a Media and Technology Diet for the Duration

“Family time” means family time — not “family and devices time.”

However painful it might be for you and yours, impose a technology diet for the duration of your trip, including travel time. You don’t have to lock your phone in your hotel’s safe deposit box until your last day in town, of course, but perhaps you can set aggressive time limits on your favorite apps or refrain from checking the headlines every couple hours.

Perhaps your family’s tech diet will lead to — gasp — real conversation.

  Find an Escape from the Crowds

No one’s saying you need to disappear into the Andes for weeks on end, but there’s something alluring about treading a bit farther off the beaten path than your bandwagon instincts might allow. And, remember: “off the beaten path” does not mean “inaccessible.”

Case in point: Hecla Island, an undiscovered gem on Lake Winnipeg, is barely two hours north of Winnipeg’s major international airport. Despite manageable crowds throughout the warm season, it boasts a range of accommodations, from rustic campgrounds, to a five-star resort, to a cozy inn operated by local entrepreneurs Lori and David Janeson

  Keep It All in the Family

 Think twice about letting your tweens and teens bring buddies along for the ride, no matter how respectful you know them to be. Non-relatives have a way of diluting family bonding, which of course is the whole point of family vacation. If you do plan to roll with a larger crew, look into all-inclusive options with structured, age-appropriate programming.

  1. Upgrade to a Suite (or Go for an Apartment or House Rental)

Everyone needs their own space, even on longer trips. If your budget allows, consider upgrading to multi-bedroom suites, or opt for an apartment or house rental (often cheaper than a suite anyway).

  1. Don’t Neglect Travel Insurance

Even if the worst case scenario doesn’t come to pass, it’s best to be prepared. Some higher-end credit cards offer built-in travel protection perks. If yours doesn’t, look into travel insurance options before you buy your tickets.

  1. Ditch the Extra Bags and Rent Bulky Kid Stuff

Many hotels and resorts are only too happy to rent strollers, high chairs, pack ‘n plays, and other essential kid items. Yes, you’ll have to pay for the privilege, but perhaps less than the airline’s bulk baggage fee — and maybe the convenience of, you know, not having to drag all that stuff through the airport is worth the added cost anyway.

Stop Sweating the Small Things

Whatever you do on your next family vacation, remember not to sweat the small stuff. You have enough on your plate in the real world — it’s finally time to kick back, relax, and enjoy some quality family bonding time.