A few weeks before most of our trips I start to get a low rumble of anxiety in my stomach. You know, that nagging feeling that there’s a mounting to-do list and a shrinking timeline?
Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and it’s a huge part of our family’s life, but even after all the trips we’ve taken I still sort of dread the prep and responsibility I feel for getting everything ready. Apparently, I’m not the only one.
And it’s hard not to get a little resentful when I’m printing boarding passes, shopping for more sunscreen, and trying to find my son’s one missing sandal, as the rest of my family happily goes about their normal routines.
Don’t they see how much work it is to go on this super-fun, awesome-family-time vacation!
How to Get Your Family To Help With Vacation Prep
Family vacation preparations are part of the exhausting emotional labor that many women (and some men) find themselves doing ever day and it’s not always easy to be honest about how draining that can be.
Start by being honest with your family and yourself about how much these vacation prep tasks take up time in your schedule, as well as a lot of mental energy.
It’s ok to say that while all of the little tasks of laundry and packing aren’t that bad, when they add up, they take a toll on your mental health and make you feel pretty resentful.
Make a List
I always think that I can keep it all in my head but after reading this book about being overwhelmed, I realized that I’m taking up a lot of valuable brain space trying to hold my list in my head.
Writing down what I’m thinking about, worrying about, or trying to remember, frees up my brain to actually address the issues rather than focusing on not forgetting.
Make a list of all the tasks you need to do. Getting it on paper will make it easier to tackle.
Or, grab my free vacation prep checklist and print it out!
Ask for Help
I struggle with this one big time! I want to be the hero and get it all done, or I’m worried my family won’t be willing to help or might not handle the tasks exactly the way I would, but I’m setting myself up for all kinds of resentment if I’m not willing to ask for help when I need it.
Rather than trying to take on all the tasks, I need to be transparent about what I need help with and how much there is to do to get ready for the trip.
Related Post: How to Plan Your Family Vacation In One Hour
The Best Way to Get Your Family To Help With Vacation Prep
Yup, you heard me. If you’re going on the vacation, then you have to be willing to help get ready. Kids, spouses, traveling companions…everybody pitches in to help with the t0-do list.
I know it’s hard to let go and let other people take some of the responsibility, but unless you’re traveling solo, it’s not fair that you are doing all the work.
Take that handy to-do list you just made and divide things up. Your husband can schedule the dog sitter and stop the mail. Your tech-savvy teen can help print boarding passes and download confirmation numbers. Put your preschooler in charge of gathering up some toys and books for the road while you tackle the laundry.
Here’s a FREE printable vacation prep checklist complete with space to do some delegating.
Why You Should be Asking for Vacation Prep Help From Your Family
Vacations take work to make them enjoyable and adulting means arranging things beforehand so your house and job don’t explode while you’re gone.
Make sure your traveling companion (husband, wife, mother, friend, etc.) and your kids are pulling their weight as you delegate responsibilities for your FAMILY (that’s right, they’re included too!) vacation.
And then, when everyone is kicking back poolside, they’ll really have earned the right to relax, since you won’t be the only one exhausted from all the work it took to get you here.
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What’s the hardest part of vacation prep for you? Have you found a way to get your kids or your husband more involved? Leave a comment and let us know what’s working (or not) at your house!
Catherine @ To & Fro Fam says
I let my kids pack their own clothes (though I supervise my 2-year-old). I tell them how many nights we’re going, which shows them how many outfits and PJs they’ll need. They love the responsibility, and it makes for less arguing when it comes to getting dressed on our trip!
Less arguing is always better! I love giving kids responsibility when it comes to family chores like this. Such a good idea.