I’m still a little shocked by this, but I recently won a one week stay in a beach house in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina! When I say beach house, I mean approximately 25 yards from the beach. So, of course we invited family, meaning adult children and their families. Our daughter and her family living in California couldn’t make the trip, but our two sons and their families that live close by were very excited to go along. Which meant all staying together in one beach house would be 6 adults and 4 children, ages 9 months, 2, 4 and 6 years.
Most of our days were spent at the beach reveling in the sun and surf. Picking up seashells, walking along the beach, building sand castles and taking in the beautiful view.
We ventured out one day to see Ripley’s Aquarium. We were all impressed, the aquarium wasn’t huge but it was very well done and very clean. The kids touched stingrays, horseshoe crabs and even some jellyfish! The highlight was the moving walkway through a large tank filled with thousands of fish, a green sea turtle, stingrays and lots of sharks!
Paul and I decided to take some time for ourselves and drive down the coast a little ways. We made it to Murrells Inlet. Murells Intlet sits on, as the name implies, a marshy inlet from the Atlantic Ocean. We walked the “Marsh Walk”, which is a boardwalk stretching along the marsh and lined with cute local restaurants and pubs. We sat in the Dead Dog Saloon (charming name, right!) and watched boaters out on the marsh testing their fishing skills while a variety of birds were also testing theirs.
While we were on our drive, the rest of the family spent the day at the WonderWorks Upside Down House. Our 6 year old granddaughter had told all of us about the house because she had seen it on YouTube. She was sooooo excited to get to go in person. The house is full of fun and educational activities for children. The 2 and 4 year old were a little too young for it, but the 6 year old had a blast!
Traveling with family can be, let’s just say, challenging at times. This will be the 4th family vacation we have taken in the last few years and things have flowed pretty well. No major issues to report!Planning travel with extended family? Read this before you go! #familytravel #traveltips #travel Click To Tweet
7 tips to consider when planning travel with extended family:
Decide ahead of time who is paying for what.
Lodging – If your plans involve staying in a motel then each family will probably be paying for their own room. If plans involve renting a vacation home for everyone to bunk together then deciding ahead of time how much each person will be paying is essential.
Food – How will food be paid for? How much will you be cooking in and how much will you be eating out? When we go on a 7-day family vacation, we normally shop when we get there and initially purchase enough for 3 days of meals When we’re on vacation, eating out often occurs spur of the moment and we don’t want to end up with an abundance of leftover food to either throw out or cart home.
Decide who will be cooking when.
As much as one family member may like to cook, I doubt that they want to be stuck cooking all of the meals! What works for our family is for each couple to plan and cook one breakfast and one evening meal, or more depending on length of stay. Involve everyone in the meal planning so even those with hard to please palates don’t feel overlooked.
In a perfect world, every person would always clean up after themselves. As we all know, it usually doesn’t work that way. Talk about this ahead of time, so your neat-nick relative doesn’t have a nervous breakdown over the more casual approach taken by others.
Give yourself extra time to get ready for outings.
My husband does not procrastinate. If he has a task or an outing planned, he is on it and it gets done. With me, on the other hand, it’s a different story! I try to move a little quicker when I see him checking his watch every 5 seconds. When you’re on vacation with extended family, plan on it taking longer to get ready and out the door for every.. single.. outing. Tuck that fact away in your brain and don’t lose sight of it! Start getting ready for outings sooner to allow more time for everyone, and don’t forget to just breathe!
Make sure you schedule some alone time.
As much as you love all of your family, yes even Uncle Billy Bob who plucks your very last nerve; deep down inside you know you love him. Plan some alone time with your spouse or spouse and kids, whichever it may be, to give everyone a breather. You will come back together much more willing to be a little forgiving.
Be flexible with usual routines.
This is especially true with your children. Hard to believe isn’t it, but not all of your family members will agree with your hard-held beliefs that kids should be in bed by 7:00, TV be limited to 1 hour, and breakfast doesn’t include cake! Vacationing with extended family requires flexibility with your usual rules and routines. Things can return to normal when you get back home and no one will be the worse for it. If there are things you can’t bring yourself to bend on, talk about it ahead of time with the other people you will be traveling with.
Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Life is so much easier for those of us that can learn to live our lives this way. Does it really matter in the scope of things if you arrive at the beach an hour later than you wanted to be there? Is it worth getting all stressed out or feeling taken advantage of if you need to clean off someone else’s plate or pick up someone’s towel from the bathroom floor or be the one to take out the trash for the 10th time in a row (how can they possibly squash all of that into one little trash can)? If things are getting to you, take a time out. Go for a walk, pray, excuse yourself and go to your room to rest, read or watch television. And just breathe, nice and deeply! But don’t do or say something out of frustration that you will regret in a big way later.
And in ending….
Talk ahead of time about these issues and anything else you feel might become an issue on your trip.
But most of all, enjoy your family. To put it bluntly, “here today, gone tomorrow”. We never know when we might lose a precious family member.
Now go and have fun!
P.S. What other suggestions do you have for family travel?
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