Schedule your flights for early in the day whenever possible.
Thunderstorm activity increases as the day progresses and stormy weather means delays. Install the FlightAware app on your phone, so you can track your plane. Have a stash of healthy snacks, compact blankets and inflatable pillows, and surprise toys or books so that, if delayed, you’re not stuck eating expensive airport fare and can keep your family occupied and rested.
Plan time away from each other.
No matter how close the family or how determined you are to use these days as a bonding experience, opportunities for separate activities are important too. Teens need to tap into their phones and friends and take a break from caring for younger siblings. Husbands and wives need alone time together without the kids. Many hotels and resorts offer camp-style programs for various age levels, giving everyone a break and exciting experiences to report on when the family comes back together. Or if just a few hours is needed, hiring a background-checked, highly reviewed babysitter on sites like care.com or urbansitter.com may do the trick.
Arrange for lessons ahead of time.
Vacations can be a great opportunity for everyone to learn a new game or sport together. To make sure everyone gets a chance, think about how your family learns and consider booking a lesson or two. Snorkeling, rock climbing, even mountain biking have techniques that can make them safer and more fun, ensuring they become great memories.
Give everyone a camera.
If your family is like mine, there’s always someone wanting to take a picture and always someone who doesn’t want it taken. Giving everyone a camera, whether with a disposable, a smart phone or a real camera, puts everyone equally in charge and means everyone gets chance at capturing the memories.
Take photos of all your documents, credit cards, tickets, and medical information. Email it to yourself or store it in a cloud-based location. Then make everyone take care of their own documents (within reason). You’ll know you’ve got a secure back-up and the responsibility gets spread around.
Set ground rules ahead of time. Whether you’re renting a beach house or visiting an all-inclusive resort or staying at Grandma’s house – decide as a family what’s expected. Who will do the cleaning up if that needs to be done after dinner? How much time will be scheduled and how much will be free time? If there are summer reading requirements, will those continue through the vacation? When everyone knows what’s expected of them and when, everyone has more fun!