If you and your sweetie love laying on the beach, trip planning is usually easy: you simply choose a warm tropical location that’s in your budget, book a hotel near the water and voila — instant amazing vacation.
This time, however, things will be a bit different. In addition to your beloved spouse or partner, you’re also vacationing with your parents, elderly grandma, sister and her husband and their three kids of varying ages.
And, since you’re the one with the most trip planning experience, everyone has said you can plan the upcoming vacation.
Before you run for the hills and decide to skip the trip all together, take heed: with some pre-planning and a flexible attitude, you can plan a vacation that will be fun for everyone involved, regardless of ages and interests. Check out the following ideas:
Consider a Cruise
When it comes to a vacation that truly offers something for everyone, it’s hard to beat a cruise. For example, choose a cruise that goes to several beaches in the Caribbean, or for something a bit different, opt for an Alaskan cruise. For instance, Princess offers some of the best Alaska cruise options, including glacier viewing experiences and a number of ports of call along the way that will appeal to your entire group. While on board, the kids can enjoy movies under the stars and other activities, while the grownups enjoy sipping adult beverages while watching the incredible Alaskan wildlife.
Depending on everyone’s energy level at the ports of call, you can stay together as a group and check out the local scenery while others decide to stay on the boat and nap — it’s all up to you. Cruises also tend to serve a wide variety of foods, so you won’t have to worry about choosing a restaurant every night that everyone will like. Indeed, chances are your 3-year-old niece will be as happy with the meals as your foodie brother-in-law.
Choose a Centrally Located Hotel or Resort in a Big City
If you prefer to spend your vacation on land, try to book a hotel or resort in a big city with plenty of activities for everyone. Experts suggest checking different hotel websites to see if they offer activities for kids ages 4 to 17 and to ensure the tots and teens are not lumped together into one big group.
If the hotel has an on-site spa, then all the better; after all, this activity may be fun for you, your sweetie and other relatives to enjoy. Prior to booking a hotel or resort, you should also contact everyone to determine what they want to do and see in a particular city and then try to find a hotel or rental house near these spots.
This way, your mom may only have to walk two blocks to go to a museum, your dad will be close to a sports arena, and your sister can get in her shopping fix without having to Uber too far from the hotel.
Plan for Together Time and Alone Time, Too
One of the best ways to keep everyone happy during a vacation filled with a diverse group of people is to know you don’t have to be joined at the hip the entire time. With that in mind, create a flexible daily schedule and then be ready to compromise about everything.
For instance, if you and your nieces and nephews are early birds while everyone else likes to sleep in, take them to breakfast every morning and let the others catch up with you later. Then, try to have lunch and dinner together most days to make the most of your family time.
Likewise, if there is an aquarium everyone wants to see, then by all means go. But in the late afternoon, you might want to lounge by the pool while your folks take a bus tour of the area — and that’s fine, too.
Have Fun and Stay Flexible
While you might not want to spend every vacation with lots of people of different ages and interests, you can certainly have a great time on this type of trip.
By choosing a vacation spot with something for everyone and remembering you can have time together and time apart, you might soon find yourself planning another big family trip.