It is hard these days to plan a true distraction-free family vacation, with all the technology out there for us to stay up to date on everything. I have teamed up with the Twitter Mom group and have come up with a list of things that you can do to plan a fun vacation that does not include distractions.
1) Don't let the kids take their portable games. If they have their games in hand they are going to want to play and may not be as involved with the family activities as you would like. If they are left at home, they will have no choice!
2) Only take one cell phone. We all know that we need a cell phone these days in case there is an emergency. But if you use your cell phone for business then you need to leave it home - you are on vacation so business will just have to wait!!
3) Leave laptop computer at home!!! If you take it you will be tempted to work, and how can your family enjoy being with you if you are still working?? There are those neat little messages that you can put on your email that says "I will be on vacation but I will reply as soon as I can when I get back". I suggest using these messages to let others know that you are on vacation and you are not just ignoring them, but also so they won't be tempted to try to continue to contact you.
4)Come up with fun games to play in the car. If the kids don't have their games they are going to be bored but there are lots of fun games that the family can all get involved in during the trip. One that I have always enjoyed is the 50 states license plate game. See who is the first person the see a license plate from each state, or see who sees the most.
5) Nobody wants to go on a vacation where you have so many plans that you are tired and miserable, but you do need to have some plans. If you do not have any idea of what you want to do then you may find yourself bored and possibly arguing over what to do. So make plans before you go, but make sure these are plans that can be changed if needed.
6) Let the entire family (including the kids) help out with the plans for the trip. Get the family together before the trip and look at all the possibilities of things to do, then let each person give their input of what they want to do. The kids will have more fun if they get a part in deciding where to go instead of being "drug" to places they are not interested in.
7) Depending on how far you are traveling, it may help to schedule special stops on the way. Look at the map and search before your trip of some fun and exciting places that the family would love to stop at and explore. This may be just a simple place that has a nice lookout or an old country store, but somewhere that will give everyone a break from the ride and keep the interst up.
8) Make a check list of things that need to be done before you leave home. It would not make for a fun time if you are constantly trying to remember if you turned the coffee pot off, etc. Make your check list ahead of time so that you can have time to think of everything that needs to be done before leaving and check everything on the list before walking out the door.
9) Make sure that you have completed all of your tasks at work. Don't go on vacation thinking about what you needed to do at work but didn't, or think about what you will have to do at work when you get back. Claer your mind from work things so that you can enjoy being away from work.
10) And finally, probably the most important tip I can offer is...make sure there is no tension among the family. If you and your spouse have been in a recent argument, make sure everything has been cleared up before vacation. Clear your mind, clear your schedule, and relax and HAVE FUN!!!
I hope some of these tips will be beneficial to someone as you take your summer vacations this year. I am also interested in some tips that you may have as well.