Want to make your family vacation this year even more memorable than usual? It doesn't have to be about the most exotic destination, the most opulent hotel, or the most demanding photo stops; instead, by keeping these three simple concepts in mind, you can plan a trip that will bring your family closer together. Volunteer holidays throughout the world, technology-free days at a theme park, and group learning to master a new skill are all ways to make your next vacation genuinely unique.
Do you have the impression that you're building a lot of memories while sitting around the lunch table with your phones out? We didn't believe so. Set a screen time limit wherever you go on your next family vacation (even for moms and dads). Leave your phones in the hotel so you aren't tempted to check work emails while waiting in line for your favorite roller coaster, and your children aren't distracted by games and texting. When you return to the hotel, make a point of shutting off the television and putting away the handheld gaming systems in favor of going out for ice cream, walking down to the pier, or finding another reason to go out - together.
We can picture the scoffs if you tell the kids that your next family trip would be all about learning, but utilizing your brain doesn't have to mean spending a beautiful afternoon in a stuffy museum. Tour historic warships, spend an afternoon studying musical legends at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, tour a haunted hotel, swim with dolphins, try whitewater rafting for the first time, get a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite amusement park - no matter what your family is interested in, you can find an active, engaging way to expand your knowledge without feeling like you're back in school - and you'll end up with plenty of conversation fodder for your friends.
While relaxing at your favorite seaside area or visiting the same mountain chalet you've visited since you were a child will provide plenty of shared experiences, for a more memorable trip this year, put your family to work while traveling the world. Travel to Bermuda to help Habitat for Humanity build houses; monitor chimps in Uganda on an EarthWatch expedition; or explore for another option that fits your family's interests. When you step away from your everyday routine, you might be amazed at how easy it is to bond with your family - and you'll be helping others at the same time.