Dear Auntie A,
I have been struggling trying to pick out a perfect family vacation this summer that will be appropriate for all of my children. It is so expensive to travel with all of us and so disappointing if I don’t knock it out of the park. Last year, we went on a cruise and although there were activities for the smaller children my two teen boys were “bored.” We all enjoyed the port stops and nightly entertainment, but some of that was timed for families that had children with later bedtimes. After returning home I was so stressed that I felt like I needed a vacation! What would you suggest for a family with a 4,6,13 and 15 year-old children?
Well, I would say you are quite brave to think that there exists a perfect vacation for parents traveling with young children and older siblings. There’s so many opportunities for someone to be bored and even feeling a little left out. Your idea of a cruise as a one-stop (we hope to accommodate everyone’s wishes) family vacation option is valid and many of my families find that there’s enough stuff to do that everyone feels they have had a vacation when done. However, I personally am not a fan of cruising.
I have found that an all-inclusive destination vacations with 24-hour room service better meets the needs of larger families. When you get started planning for such a special time it is important to make sure that you do your homework. Make sure the resort offers adequate entertainment for the younger children with certified CPR, trained and bonded babysitters so you can feel safe to step away for a few hours. For the young adults, it’s more about managing them and making sure they don’t get themselves into mischief. What activities are available for them? You want some time to enjoy a romantic afternoon with a seaside couple’s massage while the teens are dancing away and the smaller children are having sand castle contests while supervised and safe. Now that’s a getaway that leaves everyone feeling refreshed! If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me at www.alisamurray.com
Alisa Murray, aka “Auntie A,” is an a-winning columnist and fine-art photographer. She holds a BS in Psychology