6 Family Travel Mistakes to Avoid

Lake-Tahoe“Not another picture!” My kids and husband groan as I ask them to pose for yet another picture against the statue of Mickey Mouse. I get a little bit irritated and go through my litany of “this is what you will look at when you go back home!” And the bickering goes on, ruining what would have been a relaxing, fun trip.

Let’s admit it. We all start out good (unless you left the passports!) and towards the middle of the trip, 5 people differently wired but one family would get into each other’s nerves.

Sharing with you my top 5 mistakes when traveling with the fam bam.

1. Taking Too Much Pictures

I love taking pictures. For me it is the best way to immortalize the experience. My family thinks otherwise, for them, the best way to etch the trip is to create a great experience, best lived than pictured. I do agree and I have relaxed my photo requirements since. Instead of asking them to pose, try to catch them in motion without asking them to stop their activity. Try to catch more candid moments.

Candid-Shot of KidsOf course, we still do have those mandatory moments when I ask them to pose for a pic especially with the whole family but it’s not at every tree anymoreJ

2.  Cramming everything in a Day

I am born in a household where everything is maximized not wasted. From the last drop of toothpaste to ticking every must see destination in order to make the most out of the travel. The trouble with that is kids do get tired, we get tired. We can only do so much in a day.

It would be best to plan ahead the places you wish to see (include the whole family in the planning) and prioritize which ones you must see and space it out. Be realistic. You can’t see the whole of Kyoto in a day. If budget and time permits, try staying longer in a place so you can leisurely enjoy the place rather than hurriedly like some contestant in Amazing Race. Or save Tokyo for the next trip, no need to do Kyoto and Tokyo in one trip, nor California and New York!

3.  Following a Schedule to the Dot

Quite related to #2 we parents, in our desire to experience as much in a place, we can unknowingly turn the whole vacation into a military camp with our rigid schedule. With kids in tow, schedules should serve as guides not ISO’s that will earn a demerit when missed.

4.  Forcing our Kids on an Activity

I ride all rides. Superman, ok I’ll fly with you. Haunted Mansion, great ghost hunt! My kids and husband think otherwise. They would go for the smooth and safer rides. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand it and would force my kids to ride it with me. I want them to experience the thrill, rush and fun of it. “How can you say you don’t like it, if you haven’t even tried?” would be my all too common line.

However, I have learned the hard way that forcing our kids to an activity can ruin a vacation. I think it was the Mummy Ride in Universal Studios. My daughter got so hysterical and dizzy she insisted we head home even if we just got thereL

Try to convince the kids to try the experience, offer a few bribes if you must, but if they won’t bite, let it go.  

5.  Planning Everything Based on Kids’ Preference

Yes we do love our kids to the last strand of their knuckle hair but a few cultural, historical or nature side trips won’t give them nightmares. In fact though they may initially despise it, exposing them to things other than theme parks would provide them a better travel experience. Plus the fact that you and your husband counts as part of the family tooJ   Try to plan a good balance of places-to-go-to that would cater to the interests of each person.

6.  Penny Pinching

We do have budgets and if we came prepared, we know how much we can splurge on entrance tickets, shopping, food or if we have extra for that fine dining restaurant.   Planning in advance would remove the tension of having to discuss the budget every time we need to bring out the wallet. Determine how much to spend on food and yes even drinks so you don’t complain every time you have to buy a bottle of Iced Tea. If on a budget, research well in advance because there is always that hole in the wall restaurant that will give the whole family a great experience aside from the usual fast food.

Since 2 of our kids are already in their teens, we give them a shopping allowance.   They can use it for toys, clothes and food novelties they want to try.

Travel is fun and relaxing. Let it be so.

Just Go,

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