Do Research Beforehand
Wherever you and your family decide to travel, there are going to be a lot of different activities to do. With limited time, it’s important to prioritize things that you personally want to do and communicate it with your parents so that you don’t miss out on anything because of scheduling.
Everyone gets “hangry,” so avoid an all out Hunger Games moment by bringing snacks. Some great traveling snacks include granola bars, trail mix and fruit. Don’t be afraid of spoiling your appetite if you feel yourself getting short with your family.
Bring a Buffer Friend
Bringing an outside party on vacation with you automatically makes people more considerate. When it’s just your family, it’s easy to fight constantly without worrying about how others perceive you. However, the second a friend is in the mix, your parents, siblings and yes, even you, will be nicer to make them feel more comfortable.
This may sound like overkill, but seating arrangements can really impact a group dynamic. If you know that you and your sibling don’t get along, try to sit at different ends of the table during dinner or sit as far away as possible when in the car. A little physical separation between arguing family members can help relieve tension in the group.
Pick Your Battles
Chances are your family is going to argue; it’s almost inevitable. Instead of fighting for everything that you want, choose when to speak up. Is what side of the double bed you sleep on really that important? Try to prioritize things in order to minimize little fights.
When you’re traveling in a group, sometimes it’s hard to get moving from one place to another and sometimes it feels like planning takes forever. Be patient with your family. If you feel yourself getting antsy because you feel like you’re wasting time, check your social media on your phone. It’s a perfect time to catch up on things that are happening back at home.
Recognize Everyone’s Physical Limits
If you’re going to do a lot of walking, make sure everyone’s moving at a comfortable pace. Some of your family might not be able to keep up a fast walk, especially if they’re younger or older, so be patient and ask if they need breaks.
Get Enough Sleep
With all of the sightseeing and travel, it’s easy to miss out on sleep during a family vacation. Try to keep a good sleep schedule despite distractions. Getting around eight hours of sleep can do wonders for your mood. Give your body and mind enough rest and you’ll be happier and more willing to put in effort to keep your family happy.
Headphones create an immediate escape from situations. You can watch Netflix, listen to music or even sleep if you have sound canceling headphones. Headphones are great for road trips, long flights or at night when you’re trying to sleep and you have a snorer in the family.
Make Alone Time
Sometimes it’s hard to get away from the group, but it’s important to give yourself some rest from socializing (especially if you’re naturally an introvert). It can be as small as taking a long bathroom break or heading back to the room to take a nap. Know your own limits and allow yourself to decompress after a long day spent surrounded by people.
Natalie Gotko is a sophomore double majoring in marketing and professional writing. She loves to travel, journal, and attend Spartan football games. She’s currently an Event Director for the University Activity Board and has been involved in other leadership positions on campus.