This can be a very hard thing to do. Parents have things that they want to do/see on vacation, children have different things (probably very different) that they want to do and see...and if you have more than one child, the fun things that everyone wants to accomplish is one week begins to add up quickly.
How do you avoid this?
1.) Let each person in the family have one day where you will do what they want (Mom picks what you do on Monday, Child 1 picks what you do on Tuesday, etc..) and the extra days can be used for relaxing at the Hotel pool or beach, or even finding a local State Park and picnicking. I find this to be VERY important especially with little ones (though I will admit that on our last vacation we did not follow these rules). The little ones need down time and if you are on the go everyday for a week they will be exhausted and that will not be a happy end to the vacation for anybody.
- When we took our older son to Disney at 3 years old we went to the parks every other day...I think we went 4 out of the 7 days we were there. We spent the other days checking out our resort, playing games, swimming, etc... He was able to nap on those days which led to a much happier little man throughout the entire vacation.
2.) Limit each person to one (maybe two) things to do on their day. Obviously the number will be based on what they are choosing to do, but try not to pick more than a couple of things. If your child really wants to go swimming on their day choose that as a morning activity and then allow them to pick an appropriate afternoon activity as well. If you child wants to go to Animal Kingdom at Disney - that is an all day activity so they get one activity for their day.
3.) Try to use the extra days (that have not been assigned to a family member) to break up the week. For example if you will be on vacation for 5 days and you have 4 people in your family, assign day one and two to family members, keep day three as an extra day and then assign day four and five to the remaining family members. By breaking up the week you will feel like you have had at least some down time during the trip.
Some other helpful hints -
Do some planning in advance and give your children a short list of suggestions for their day. This works especially well with little ones who may find that it is difficult to make a decision for what they want to do on their day.
Stick to it. It is so easy to stray from the plan once you are on vacation. If you can stick to it (or at least something close to your plan) you will leave for home feeling like you have actually had a vacation.
Check out my other Travel Tip Tuesday Posts.