Summer’s here, school’s out and it’s almost time for the family holiday. Excitement and adventure await. Though in reality, the build-up to holiday time can often be rather challenging.We seem to spend the colder months counting down the days and looking forward to some much-needed warmer weather and time off work, yet as holiday season approaches this can bring a little anxiety, as thoughts of preparing for and even being on holiday start to replace those of the day-to-day grind.That sense of responsibility on what to pack, what to do, how to manage the inevitable hiccups, and thoughts of how to deal with fears of flying and traffic-jam protestations, all whilst feeling the need to be in control and present an image of blissful calm.
We put so much pressure on ourselves to present that image; one of the family gatekeeper who is calm and unflappable in the face of chaos and uncertainty. Likewise, the pressure that everything must be perfect; all that time planning for every eventuality and striving to make sure the holiday is one to remember for everyone, often leaving us too tired and wired to actually enjoy it ourselves... or feeling a little deflated when things don’t turn out exactly as planned. Yet it really doesn’t have to be that way, maybe it’s time we gave ourselves a little break...
The holiday is for everyone to enjoy –you included –and getting everyone involved in the lead-up to holiday time might be just the thing to make this year’s one to remember for all the right reasons. It’s all too easy to fall into thinking that we need to ‘just get on’ with the task of preparation, and that involving others only makes the process more complicated and difficult. Yet sharing the load can be something fun, educational and bonding. By engaging the family, we can keep everyone involved and help make the transition in to holiday-mode calm, smooth and seamless, leading to a holiday filled with special, personal touches that are unique to your loved ones. All of this whilst taking some of the heat off you and creating a sense of calm. A real win-win.
Firstly, let’s get talking. Make a start by encouraging the family to get their thinking caps on early; not only will this help to generate excitement and enthusiasm, but also give everyone time to come up with ideas and inspiration and reduce the likelihood for last minute panic. Once the destination has been planned and the travel booked, ideas can be shared, with roles and responsibilities agreed between the family. Perhaps one of your brood is a wiz with trains, or your partner fancies themselves as an international foodie. Play to each other’s strengths and agree who will do what, how, and by when.
Here are a few ideas that might help to get the family working together to create the perfect travel plan for a calm and happy holiday:
Planning what to do on holiday
Set one of the ‘team’ away with the task of researching things to do close to your holiday destination. The best beach? Wet weather activities? ‘Must see’ attractions? Encourage creativity with the added challenge of throwing plenty of free activities in to the mix.
Food glorious food–your foodie’s trip
Your resident foodie will relish the task of swotting up on the local specialities. Perhaps the town is famed for a particular delicacy? Be sure not to miss out, with a little homework on what’s on offer, the best place to try it, and where to learn more. A chance to sample the local delights at the cheese museum? Delicious! Make a shortlist of cafes, restaurants and street food stalls to sample. If you’re self-catering, then find out what cooking facilities are available and where to buy ingredients for meals that can be rustled up and enjoyed together.
Your calm journey on the way
Whether your journey is by plane, train, or automobile, delegate the task of ensuring how this will be an enjoyable one, providing some pointers on what might be needed; for example, games that can be played, books to read, landmarks to look out for, and picnic stops.
Packing it all up together
Ask everyone to write their own packing list, with some guidance on what can be shared, for example toiletries, and what’s needed individually. Invite the team to develop a ‘shopping list’ of things that need to be purchased, whilst ticking off items they already have.
Tests and Triggers
What are the things that might cause problems? A little one with a fear of flying? Granddad's back seizes up after sitting for an hour? With the rest of the team busily working on their tasks, and you can make plans for healthcare essentials and tips for a calm holiday.So, get the team on-board for a calm, shared approach to holiday preparation.
Calm travellers lead to a calm, enjoyable and memorable holiday. Wishing you tranquil travels.