Holidaying with parents is a great way to reconnect and strengthen the family unit, as well as getting some good old fashioned quality time with the family. However, taking a trip with your folks can be perilous terrain if conflicts arise, tempers flare and differing values and interests create rifts during travel. There’s no need to worry though, as it’s actually pretty easy to keep everything running smoothly by following a few simple rules.
Include Everybody in the Planning
When you’re planning a holiday with your folks, you want to make sure that the plans suit everybody. Nothing ruins a holiday like an unhappy camper! Sit down with your parents and anybody else who’ll be coming on your trip, like siblings and/or spouses. Discuss everything from destinations to accommodation to budget limitations. Try and find solutions that are mutually agreeable to all parties. No point planning luxury cruises if your parents want to ride elephants and hike up mountains.
Remember that it’s going to be hard to please everybody so you have to be willing to be flexible. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel on your own, with friends or with your partner, so it’s okay if this time the holiday isn’t tailored entirely toward your preferences. If you show a willingness to compromise then your fellow travelers will be more likely to do the same.
Set clear intentions for your travel. Between yourself and your folks, discuss what exactly you want to get out of your trip, perhaps sightseeing, or to experience the local food and culture, or simply to relax as much as possible. If you can understand and be mindful of each other’s intentions it will make the trip much more enjoyable for all involved.
Having similar intentions is great, but if they are different to your own, just be respectful of them. If you can show an interest in helping your folks get what they want out of their holiday, they will probably return the favor.
Find Activities Everybody Will Enjoy
Whether it’s during the planning process or once you’re actually on your trip together, try to find some activities that everybody in your travelling party will be able to enjoy together. A family trip will, at least in part, be about spending some quality time with the folks, but it won’t be enjoyable unless you find activities that you all enjoy. All you need to do is communicate; with a bit of discussion it’s easy to find things to do together without leaving anybody out.
Plan Time Apart
As much as it’s great to find activities everybody can participate in and enjoy, it’s also important for everybody’s sanity to plan some time apart. Find something that you like to do to wind down and plan a little time for that. It can feel a little suffocating spending your whole holiday breathing down each other’s necks, so don’t feel guilty about getting a little “me time.” It will allow your folks to do the same, and mean you’ll come back refreshed and ready for more family fun.
Showing each other respect is integral to ensuring a conflict-free and enjoyable trip with your parents. If this doesn’t necessarily come easy to your family, it might be a good idea to have a chat about this before you go away and set a few basic ground rules. Always try to be patient and understanding and avoid being critical or short-tempered.
If you follow these tips, as simple as they are, you’ll find that it’s quite easy to dispel those negative stereotypes surrounding holidaying with your parents. Conflicts are either avoided or easily resolved and your trip will end up a treasured memory, not a tense ordeal. It all comes down to a little communication and cooperation. After all, isn’t that what families are for?