We recently took a vacation with my parents, my sister’s family (she has 4 kids), and my aunt and uncle. Vacationing with extended family is nothing new for us; we actually vacation with my family about every two years and we have vacationed with my husband’s family in the past as well. Our usual vacation destination is Disney World because we are Disney Vacation Club members, but this year we decided we needed a Disney break, and headed to the Outer Banks in North Carolina instead.
When you get a large group of people together for a vacation, it can be a little tense and difficult because you may not all share the same lifestyle, beliefs, parenting style, or even something that may seem minor, such as dietary choices.
So, as we prepared for our vacation and even as we made the 12+ hour trek back home, I was thinking of ways to make this kind of vacation more enjoyable for everyone. As I said above, we have vacationed with extended family before, but this time I was thinking a lot more about how to make this vacation “work” because we have been dealing with a lot of family issues lately on my side of the family and my husband was very close to pulling the plug on the whole thing (and we had been planning this trip for at least 2 years and wouldn’t be able to get our money back for our rental).
So this is what I have come up with:
This goes without saying – you should pray before every vacation or trip. But when you are planning to spend the whole week with extended family, you might want to add a few things to your prayer list.
Pray that everyone has a good time and is blessed by the time spent together.
Thank the Lord for this opportunity to spend this time with family, especially if you don’t get to see these family members often.
Pray that everyone gets along and communicates effectively.
Pray that the Lord fills your heart with love for each family member, and that you shine Christ to them through your words and actions (especially if your extended family is not saved).
2. Choose Joy
Vacations are supposed to be fun! You can choose to enjoy yourself, or you can choose to be miserable. It is a choice; it’s that simple.
3. Be flexible
Chances are, with a large group of people (we had 17 people), not everyone is going to want to do the same thing at the same time, especially if there are children involved. You need to be flexible and make compromises. It’s not all about you or your family when you are vacationing with others. And besides, God is your ultimate travel agent – He is in control and does all the planning. So, sit back and enjoy!
4. Be patient
This one doesn’t need much explaining and kind of ties into #3. When you are a part of a larger group, not everyone is going to agree on things and most likely, everything will take a bit longer. So be patient with your loved ones; everyone will be happier.
When vacationing with a large family, you need to have effective communication. Again, especially if kids are involved. You need to communicate about things from, what’s for dinner and what time, to how many kids you are taking with you to the beach or pool.
You also need to communicate about your feelings. If something is bothering you, speak up, but in a nice manner. If you hold your worries and feelings in, it will only make you unhappy, and you will most likely miss out on some fun times with your family.