How To Stay Sane And Relaxed On Family Trips

November 2, 2022

For many, nothing provides us more solace and happiness than spending the holidays with our families. For some people, spending time with family over the holidays is everything from a blessing. From the pressure of traveling to the demands of gift-giving, the holidays may trigger a rush of negative behaviors and sentiments that lead to tensions. But you do not have to let the conflict in your family derail your pleasure throughout the holiday season. 

Family holidays may be stressful, but the memories and experiences you make will last a lifetime. You may have a relaxing and enjoyable family vacation anywhere, whether on the beach, in the mountains, or a large city. It is helpful to be aware of the potential stressors on a family trip to avoid them. Here are some causes of anxiety during family vacations:

  • Money issues
  • Physical and mental exhaustion
  • Kid-related mischiefs
  • Unfulfilled expectations

Stress in trips may seem inescapable, but we beg to disagree. Proper planning makes the difference between a relaxing and chaotic holiday. In this article, we will look into healthy ways how any family can cope with the dramas that may come in your getaway through self-care and mindfulness. Here are some tips to keep your cool at all times. 

1.   Make preparations in advance

Your family road trip should be exciting, not stressful! Before you embark on your journey, plan everything out and have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong. If your four-year-old likes to nap, bring along their favorite stuffed animal from home as a “comfort” item. If you have teens, ensure they have their gadget to keep them entertained throughout the trip.

Create visual presentations of your route, including a stop-and-play time every 45-minute mark. Also, pack enough liquid for the journey to keep your children hydrated. Finally and most importantly, do not forget to visit the washroom frequently!

2.   Plan a spending budget and stick to it

Since money is one stressor about a family trip, it is best to focus some time here. Make a budget for your family vacation and stick to it, so you do not have to worry about it on the road. Here are some ways you can plan for your budget.

  • How much money would your family spend? Your max number will depend on how much money you have saved for your vacation or how much you can save each month. It would also help to have a credit card(s) or a travel loan handy in an emergency. 
  • Choose a place to go that you can afford on that budget. You can find some good options by doing a quick Google search. Even camping or spending the weekend in a national park can be a fun way to escape the daily grind.
  • Make sure to include activities and extras in the travel budget. For instance, would your family like to camp or board AirBnB accommodation? Some families even choose routes that do not feature expensive restaurants or tourist sites. Plan your itinerary according to the trip’s budget.
  • Track your travel budget. It would help if you tracked how much you spent during your trip so you know how to allocate your money later on. There are some free apps you can use to help you track your budget.

3.   Prepare for a lot of jokes to lighten up spirits

When you are with your family on a trip, there are bound to be some tense moments when navigating new roads.

Therefore, you must make everyone around the trip comfortable, which is best done through laughter and jokes. Prepare some good old tricks for the journey so that everyone gets a chance to laugh loudly, and beforehand, prepare funny surprises that will introduce everyone to the character of each family member. You can also visit websites like Funny Jokes Today to read about excellent laughter throughout the journey.

Having a fun atmosphere in the car will make the kids feel at ease, and everyone can enjoy the laughter around the road trip.

4.   Keep the positive vibrations high

So your folks make lame jokes and your aunt’s fashion sense makes you cringe. Keep a positive outlook, because in the end, the good moments will triumph over any unpleasantness. When you travel, you may just let yourself go and enjoy whatever comes your way. This is especially true while on a trip with your family. So go with the flow, have fun with your family, laugh at the craziness of the situation, and build some memories with your family.

5.   Communication is the key

When you are with your family, you are often at your most open and comfortable, which can turn simple situations into emotional time bombs. That is why it is essential to talk about what you want from the trip and set limits before you go. With some prep work before you leave, you can keep fights to a minimum and look back on family trips with fondness.

6.   Do not let go of your healthy routines

Be careful not to turn the holidays into a chaotic free-for-all. Consuming more than you should can heighten your feelings of tension and guilt. Try these suggestions:

  • Have a nutritious snack before holiday dinners to avoid overindulging in sweets, cheese, and beverages
  • Go for healthy meals
  • Ensure to have lots of sleep
  • Set aside deep breathing exercises such as meditation or yoga
  • Avoid overindulgence of tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
  • Adjust the time spent on news and social media because this is a major stressor

7.   Take some quiet time or a breather

Find time for your own needs. Find a hobby that you like. Take a rest in solitude. Spending only 15 minutes alone, without interruptions, may be enough to re-energize you to complete all of your tasks. Find an activity that decreases stress by clearing the thoughts, calming the breathing, and regaining inner peace. Try these suggestions:

  • Taking a stroll at night and stargazing
  • Listen to a relaxing music
  • Do some reading

8.   Do not sweat the small stuff

You are on holiday. Make the most of it and see how you can flip lemons into lemonade. Try to see if you and your family can make something good out of the bad things. Or at least a fun family holiday story to tell for several years.

9.   Do not let your hopes become too high

Here are some ways to keep your expectations in check:

Schedule one activity a day. Too many events and drastic shifts in routine may make children irritable and anxious. Plan less for your family trip and enjoy it more.

Share responsibilities. Dividing the duties will reduce stress and make the holidays more fun for everyone, even if it is just picking up trash in a parking lot or alternating the navigator. Also, a little cooperation goes a long way when you’re cornered with exhaustion and stuck with a cranky toddler at 10 pm.

Choose activities that are right for all ages. If you have people of different ages on the trip, plan activities that everyone can enjoy.

Eat regularly. Dot not for the “best restaurant,” which is a cab ride half an hour from where you are right now. When kids (and adults) are hungry or have too many sweets, they can act out or get cranky. Make sure to bring snacks with protein and eat often.

Final thoughts

Now that you know various sources of family vacation stress and some ways to cope up with it, we hope you found this post helpful while you travel with your family.

Do you have any recommendations for stress-free family vacations? Please share your thoughts in the section below or contact us. We would enjoy hearing from you! Family vacations can be fun and rewarding.

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Andi Perullo de Ledesma

I am Andi Perullo de Ledesma, a Chinese Medicine Doctor and Travel Photojournalist in Charlotte, NC. I am also wife to Lucas and mother to Joaquín. Follow us as we explore life and the world one beautiful adventure at a time.

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