Plan Vacation as a Family

by Teresa Cleary

This article is from Living with Teenagers magazine.

While jobs, school work, and outside interests have pulled your family in different directions all year, now you're hoping to leave your routine behind, regroup, and r-e-l-a-x.

But besides your usual dose of fun, you'd like this vacation to bring your family together in new ways. How do you make that happen? First, power down all electronic devices, it's time for a meeting.

Ask For Input

Gather your family and ask: What's the best time we've ever had as a family? What does your perfect vacation look like? Can we combine what's important to us as a Christian family with our vacation time? The answers may surprise you. Giving everyone a say, discussing the budget, and allowing your teen to help choose your activities and location will provide a feeling of ownership and increase everyone's enthusiasm for this time together. Involving all family members-especially when there are differences in age or interests-is sure to build unity and start your vacation off right.

Weigh Your Options

You may find your vacation ideas fall into certain categories-all of them good. Will you choose to:

  • Continue a tradition. You enjoy traveling to the same vacation destination every summer. The familiar sights and activities have created memories that unite you as a family.
  • Make new memories. Traveling to a new city, state or country means everyone is enjoying the "firsts" together. Sharing a new experience with your teens-the laughter and the mishaps-is a great way to tighten your family bond.
  • Serve others. More families are opting to use all or part of their vacation to help others. In your community you might plant a garden at a center for unwed moms or join in rehabbing a home in the inner city. If you choose a short-term mission trip, you might build a school in Haiti or dig wells for an African village. Not only will you get a feeling of satisfaction for a job well done, but experiences like these will change your family. Using your individual talents, yet acting as a team, will create a connection that you and your teens will never forget.

Make Plans Together

Once your choice is made, assign everyone a task to help with your vacation planning. Ask your tech-savvy teen to go online to research your destination and the activities available. Put someone in charge of hotel reservations or airline tickets, if they're needed. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce or community action agency if your plans are closer to home.

Let this year's vacation provide family fun while bringing you and teen closer together.

Why Not Consider?

  • Discovering your family heritage with a trip to where your ancestors lived.
  • Visiting a county park or fair.
  • Touring your state capital.
  • Exploring a cave, beach, bookstore, museum.
  • Starting a vacation blog to recall special times together.


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