Family Vacations: 3 Ways To Guarantee It’s Successful

familyIt’s always a good day when I get to spend time vacationing with my family. Currently, Kathy and I are in Indiana with our daughter, son-in-law, and grandson. Ender, our grandson, was scheduled to have surgery yesterday (for fluid on his brain) but with God and the power of prayer Ender was told he didn’t have to have surgery. We are so thankful for this and for everyone who prayed for him and our family. Continue to pray for us and for healing of Ender.

It’s hard to find something that everyone in the family enjoys doing on family vacations and yet I want it to not only be a fun time but a time to build relationship, which is really the purpose of a Love family vacation. Don’t make the mistake of vacationing without knowing why you are vacationing. Anything you do in life needs to have a purpose; yours may be to just get away from work and relax, see the world, go to the biggest and best theme parks, see family…that’s great, just know that’s the “why” and plan accordingly. For us, it’s about building relationships.  Here are a few tips for having a successful family vacation regardless of where you go, what you do or how much money you have to spend:

1. Activities for the whole family

Find something the entire family enjoys doing together. This gets harder as kids get older and begin to fully develop their own interest. If you have teenagers and you have something the entire family enjoys doing together consider yourself blessed – plan ample amounts of time on vacation so that you can take advantage of it.

2. Even if it’s for one person, do it! 

Do things that are of interest to each individual family member. As a parent it’s my job to help everyone in the family understand that we are going to do things that each person is passionate about and that part of being a family and having healthy relationships is that we enjoy it with them – even if it’s not our thing. For instance my son Joel loves to eat, especially junk food at this point in life. He found a specialty hot dog stand in the center of Steam Boat Springs that he loves, he had a punch card to get a free one after seven dogs so we all went as a family to eat hot dogs for lunch to help him get a free one before we left town.  The good news is they have an incredible variety.

3. Spend one-on-one quality time

Take advantage of individual time. As a dad and husband I’ve tried to discover things I can do with my wife and kids individually during a vacation to build one-on-one relationships. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it has to always be group time.  For instance Joel and I hit the arcade room at the condo we’re stayed at in Steamboat Springs Colorado (He has the high scores already) and my daughter Kristi and I rented some bikes and rode the river path that goes through town (my butt and legs were sore). Kathy and I went for a ride in the country side to watch the sunset one evening (It’s always a good day when I see elk, deer and antelope within an hour of one another).

Start this fall

Whatever you do, take time-no-make time to spend together. Find the rhythm of those you love the most and get away from the norm so that you can focus on relationship building.  You don’t have to travel around the world to do it, but if you can and you like to travel, go for it. You don’t have to have a lot of money. We don’t spend a lot of money on vacations. We traded a painting for a condo once. We eat a lot of meals from our cooler while traveling and often find our greatest joy as a family when we are doing things that cost very little, like sitting around a camp fire telling stories and making smores.

Remember, it’s important to know the “why” behind a vacation. Here’s to a successful family vacation for you and your family for fall break, for those of you who get it! (I raised my Diet Coke and took a drink!!!)