If you are in need of some family time, planning a family getaway is a great idea. Getaways are full of anticipation, excitement, and memories. It is like getting presents on Christmas morning, right?
Our extended family started a new tradition a few years ago that for Thanksgiving weekend, we would rent a cabin in the mountains and hang out as a family. Our family doesn’t own a cabin, so each year we research a fun place that will accommodate all of us. Family traditions are ideas you and your family implement to creative fun rituals that if liked, can be passed down from generation to generation. Family traditions can be as simple as making crepes on a Saturday morning together, going to the movies after Thanksgiving dinner, or traveling to see your relative for the holidays.
7 Tips for Planning a Successful Family Getaway
- Search online for the perfect getaway – There are many different web sites you can go to find a vacation rental. You can go to HomeAway, Airbnb, VacatonRental.com, or Google vacation rentals by the city where you want to go. Now lets admit it. Choosing a cabin or vacation home online can be a little scary. We only saw a few pictures and weren’t sure if there would be enough to do to keep all the kids occupied. When we arrived at our rental last year, we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin had a huge 4-queen bunk bed in one room for all the kids, a big screen to watch the football games, a large table to play games, and a toboggan run right out our back door. The cabin was deep in the Park City mountains and the snow and aspen trees in the area were magical!
- Take everyone’s needs into consideration – Lets face it, we all have different interests and needs. Some people like to relax when they go on vacation. Others need to be going in order to feel happy and productive. If you are a game playing family, take your family’s favorite games. If you like art, plan out a few activities to do over the weekend. If you need some alone time, bring a good book to read. Don’t expect someone else to entertain you. Our family getaways work because there is no drama. We just love being together and hanging out.
- Expect the unexpected – The first year we went to a cabin, the faucet broke. Keep in mind that it was Thanksgiving weekend and we were in the mountains. I would suggest bringing a tool box if you are going to remote location. One year we had planned to go sledding and it didn’t snow. Make sure you have a back up plan so people are not disappointed. What is the power goes out? Plan meals you can make without power. In other words, be prepared.
- Take a timeout from electronics – It can be hard to put down your laptop or computer when you are on vacation. Some of my favorite getaways were places that didn’t have power or the internet. I love when we have to be creative and make our own fun. You will be surprised at how easy it is to have fun without your electronics on vacation. If you can’t do it the whole weekend, designate one day or evening to no electronics. It is much easier than you think.
- Spread out the cooking details – One thing that can get old quickly is cooking for a large group. Our family assigns out meals to each family that is attending the getaway. There is no question who is in charge of prep, planning, and cleanup. I love being able to take a break from cooking.
- Safeguard Yourself – Take an inventory of the cabin right when you get there to ensure you don’t get charged for something you didn’t do. Renting a cabin is a lot like renting a car. You don’t want to get charged for something you didn’t do. Take pictures of each room and doors. If there is a problem, contact the property management company the moment you get there. This way you will safeguard yourself from any unexpected charges.
- Don’t just take pictures, take videos – One year my brother made a video every night of the day’s activities. He added pictures and videos of the things we did. This was one of favorite parts of the getaway. There are so many easy video programs that you can use nowadays.
The memories we made at the cabin last year were so strong, that our kids have begged us to go back again this year. So that is exactly what we are doing. We have created a tradition. We will pack our sleds, snow clothes, food, favorite games and sleeping bags and head out for a new adventure. We love being together nestled in the woods, deepening our family connections, and building new memories.
This year we are looking forward to delicious food, fierce Phase 10 matches, hot tubbing, air hockey tournaments, and of course… sledding. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed.
What are your family traditions? Where do you go to get away as a family?
Jill is the second of six children. She has 3 sisters and 2 brothers. Her sisters have always been a huge part of her life. She relies on them when she has a parenting question, when she needs a pick me up, or shoulder to cry on. Her sister’s don’t all live in the same areas, but through phone calls and frequent visits, she has been able to stay close to all of them. What would life be like without a little sister therapy from time to time? She doesn’t even want to know. Jill lives in Draper, Utah with her husband and 4 kids. Her interests include camping, motorcycling, boating, photography, reading, cooking and traveling. Put her in flip flops anywhere warm and she is happy.