Ask 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 with planning and activities. 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?
Auntie A: Well, I would say you are quite brave to think that there exists a perfect vacation for parents traveling with young and young adult children. There’s so many opportunities with so many age differences for someone to be at some point bored and maybe 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 refreshed and like they have had a vacation when done. However, I personally am not a fan of cruising primarily because after three days I am ready to be in the water and sand and running my own schedule and not at the mercy of pre-scheduled port dates and departures or having to worry with what restaurants are open and when. I have found that an all inclusive with 24 hour room service meets the needs better with families that have such a difference in ages of children and times they want to play. When you get started planning for such a special time it is important to make sure that where you stay offers multiple entertainment opportunities and for the smaller children a place to actually go to with certified CPR, trained and bonded babysitters so you can step away for a few hours or more and know the children are in qualified hands and are safe. For the young adults it’s more about managing them and making sure they don’t get themselves into mischief. I love and often send my clients to resorts that offer exclusive entertainment for multiple age ranges within the family. This way you and your husband can enjoy a romantic afternoon with a seaside couple’s massage while the teens are dancing away in the teen spaces and the smaller children are having sand castle contests while supervised and safe. Now that’s a getaway that leaves everyone feeling refreshed! I still have quite a few specials for families such as yours so feel free to contact me as I would be delighted to help you in any way! Happy Travels!