Most people dream of vacations pretty much throughout their year, throughout their workday, and any other time when they are waiting to be away from their routine life and somewhere else. Maybe it’s white sand beaches and margaritas. Or maybe it’s the dream of a jungle adventure in the Amazon. Or maybe it’s relaxing on a cruise ship at sea without a care in the world. Maybe it’s traveling the Philippines from somewhere like Manila to Coron, months of planning finally going to become a reality. Does that sound like you? I know I live to get away and the time spent at home in my regular everyday life pales in comparison to my life on the road, traveling the world, and as I see it, truly living. This is why saving as much money as you possibly can for this kind of trip is essential. Anyone struggling to save money might want to look at ways that their bills are crippling them. For example, you could search broadband deals uk to see if you would be better off elsewhere.
However, when we travel with others like our spouses, partners, family, and friends, sometimes it exposes more of true personalities that we might not see on a more casual basis. This can result in tension and conflict while on vacation and who wants that? Have you ever had a full blown argument while on vacation? Lots of pouting, the silent treatment, or worse — lots of yelling and screaming? You think to yourself that you waited all year for this vacation and now that you’re there, this is how it ends up?
How can you avoid this? Clearly you traveled with these people because you wanted to spend time with them so it’s not a lost cause. As with most things in life, a little planning ahead can save you lots of time in the long run.
If traveling with your spouse, partner, boyfriend/girlfriend:
1. Discuss with your better half before your vacation exactly what your expectations are: Sound silly? It’s not! If you’re anticipating a week of laying around the pool, daily visits to the spa, and romantic beachfront dining while they are expecting surfing, golf, and hiking, then you’re clearly not on the same page or the same vacation. This can lead to fighting while on vacation so have the talk ahead of time. A little compromise will go a long way to avoid world class fighting while on vacation.
2. Don’t overschedule your vacation: When we first started cruising, my husband would take his highlighter and highlight as many possible activities that he could find for us in the daily planner. Before the day even started, I felt stressed. I was looking to unwind and relax and not plan and he didn’t want to miss anything. Now we meet somewhere in the middle where we agree to do activities throughout the day, but we don’t have to do everything.
|Wyndham Nassau Resort & Crystal Palace Casino, Nassau, Bahamas|
3. Spend some time apart: Yes it is your vacation together, but you don’t have to spend every waking moment together. If she likes the pool, but hates golf and you love golf, park her by the pool and grab your golf clubs and go. I promise she won’t even notice you’re gone while she’s baking in the sun. When you meet back up, you’ll both feel refreshed and glad to be back together.
4. If you do end up fighting, make some rules: My husband and I have rules for fighting whether at home or on vacation. If you stick to these rules, you’ll definitely fight far less on vacation (and at home, too!)
* Limit your argument to five minutes and not a second more: If you know that you only have five minutes, you’re less likely to look for things to fight about and you’ll stick to the issue at hand.
* Don’t bring up the past: It’s so easy to mention something from last month or last year, but is that really helpful? Focus on what the problem is at the moment only. This also prevents hard feelings that if you did something wrong, you’ll always end up “paying for it.”
* No swearing or name calling: Nothing is worse than having the person you care about hit below the belt and call you names or start swearing at you. Remember that you care deeply about the other person and prevent yourself from doing this. When you do, it only takes the argument to an entirely different level and diffusing it only becomes harder.
5. Be flexible: Be open to trying new things on vacation to really take advantage of your time together. Maybe you never thought of trying parasailing or surfing, but maybe you should. You’ll both enjoy trying something new.
If traveling with extended family:
1. Anticipate that this will be a great, but challenging vacation: If you haven’t traveled with your parents, siblings, in-laws previously, being confined to one location with these people may result in stress. Yes, you love them, but traveling with them can mean an entirely different story.
2. Plan enough activities for everyone to enjoy: Your group will probably consist of people of different ages, from children through adulthood and maybe even senior citizens. Try to figure out what everyone can enjoy when planning outings.
|Where else, but Las Vegas!|
3. Plan a travel night to discuss your travel plans with everyone in the group: Nothing causes confusion and arguments faster than arriving to your destination and hearing someone say that they don’t know what’s going on. If you can do it in person, meet at someone’s home or a restaurant and have a pre-vacation night to discuss all the options before your trip. This is especially fun if you’re doing a theme, like at a Mexican restaurant if you’re doing an all-inclusive in Mexico or a Caribbean theme if you’re doing a Caribbean cruise. If you can’t do it in person, there’s always Skype or you can set up a FaceBook page and encourage everyone to post and get involved.
4. Discuss finances in advance: If you’re not doing an all-inclusive resort, there will be charges for food, drinks, and activities no matter where you go. If you don’t discuss this in advance, someone might end up paying for the majority of the trip and nothing spells conflict faster than money. Don’t allow one person to pick up the check repeatedly, even if they insist.
5. Build a buffer zone: If you’re staying on a cruise ship, hotel, or resort, although you might think you’d want everyone right next to each other, sometimes it helps to create a buffer zone. Put a little distance between everyone, even if only a few doors away. This way Grandma and Grandpa can get their sleep while your kids scream like crazy people. Maybe you feel uncomfortable having your sister and her children right next to your room where your bringing your significant other for your first romantic weekend. I think you get the idea…
If traveling with children:
1. Take advantage of any children’s clubs or babysitting services: If you’re on a cruise, there are kids clubs available where the kids will beg to go and spend a few hours. Many hotels and resorts offer babysitting services while others will have kids clubs available as well. If not, inquire if there is anyone they can call who can come in and sit with your children for a short time.
2. Bring enough activities to keep them occupied should there be any down time: Bring an iPad, coloring books, etc. and whatever you know will provide enough of a distraction from arguing. This may sound crazy considering you’re going on vacation, but there will always be down time at airports, during car rides, and bad weather days. Plan ahead for these situations to avoid unnecessary conflict.
3. Bring something from home for your little ones: Make sure they have their favorite stuffed animal, toy, doll, blanket, or pillow handy. Although traveling may be exciting for you, if it is a new experience for your child, it may be difficult and having something from home may alleviate their stress considerably.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask your spouse/partner to pitch in: Quite often when on vacation, one person will completely check out and be on vacation while the other will continue to do all the parenting. Sound familiar? If you don’t want to be equally as stressed on vacation as you are at home, you’ll need to make sure that you get the help that you and your children deserve.
5. Maintain a routine: Try to keep to your regular meal times as well as bedtime. Nothing makes for a cranky kid (or parent) like lack of food or sleep.
6. Discipline: Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that you no longer have to discipline your child. Have you ever rolled your eyes while on vacation because someone’s kid was out of control? No one wants to be around that. If your child is acting out, take care of it. Don’t ruin someone else’s vacation because you’ve put disciplining your child on hold for the week.
If traveling with teenagers:
1. Lay down the rules before you travel: Set out your expectations beforehand to avoid conflict later.
2. Set consequences before your travel, but also once your are there: You’ve already reminded your teenager as to the rules, so don’t forget to mention what the consequences will be if the rules are broken. If they break them, there will be consequences and remember, your teen doesn’t want to spend his or her entire vacation with you. They will behave just to get away from you.
3. Give a reasonable curfew: All cruise lines and resorts will have a curfew for anyone under age. For example, it might be 11 pm. Just because it’s 11 pm doesn’t mean you have to give the same curfew. Make sure it is age appropriate and advise your teen that the curfew is subject to change depending on their behavior.
4. Advise your teen not to go into other people’s rooms/cabins, etc.: In order to provide the independence that your teen so desperately wants, there is going to have to be some compromises. This is a big one since you can’t ensure that there will be appropriate supervision of your teen behind the closed door of a hotel or resort room or a cruise cabin. Avoid this and the resulting argument by making other people’s rooms or cabins off limits.
|Costa Maya, Mexico|
5. If you see an issue with your teen in public, don’t chastise them in front of their new friends: Speak to your teen privately, away from their peers. No one likes to be embarrassed in public, especially around their friends.
6. Understand that your teen will probably not buy into the whole family vacation idea as much as you do: Your teen will be happy to be on vacation, but will most likely prefer to spend as little time with your family as possible. Don’t get upset, irritated or frustrated by this. It’s a teenager thing and the quicker you understand this and stop trying to push it to work, the better your vacation will be.
If traveling with friends:
1. Always leave the lines of communication open: Nothing ruins a friendship faster than the disappointment of a failed vacation. Hurt feelings, things left unsaid, and so on. This may be your best friend from grade school or someone you work with, but you’ve probably not spent this much time together before. If you agree to talk about things that bother you, then you won’t have awkward silences and arguments on your vacation.
2. Agree to disagree: You’re probably not going to agree on everything about your vacation so agree to disagree. Maybe you don’t want to lay out on the beach for 12 hours. That’s ok! Go for as long as you like and tell you’re friend you’ll meet her back at the room or the bar. If you go unwillingly, you’ll probably feel resentful and start picking at her, especially once your sunburn sets in.
3. Discuss who will be paying for what before you travel: If you’re sharing your room with a friend, most likely you’ll have given one credit card for expenses. This can cause issues if you haven’t discussed finances before your trip. Discuss who will be paying for what and if one person is footing the bill, make sure you have an arrangement as to how the other will pay it back upon return home.
4. Handling the “hook up”: Oh yes, the hook up. No one wants to talk about it, but it might happen. One person decided to bring a “friend” back to the room or cabin and you have to disappear for a while. Make sure you discuss this in advance as well and if it becomes an inconvenience, an infringement on your personal space, or too much for you, then you both agree to put a stop to it immediately.
5. Secret phrases: We all have them, phrases that indicate it’s time for you to leave, “Help me get out of this situation,” etc. Make sure you both understand what the words mean so that if you say “I think I just saw Jack Black,” which is the secret phrase for “I need you to help me get out of this awkward situation,” your friend understands that it’s time to come up with an excuse for you both to leave.
6. Make sure someone is always aware of your surroundings: If there are only two of you traveling, make sure at least one of you is fully aware and cognizant of what is taking place around you. If you plan to go out drinking, make sure that you both aren’t so inebriated that you leave yourself wide open to get hurt. This is true for both males and females. You can have fun, but don’t throw common sense completely out the window. I can’t think of a worse way to end a vacation than by becoming the victim of a crime.
Do you have any additional ideas or suggestions as to how to make your next vacation a “no fight” zone? If so, let me know!