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Family Travel: 15 Ways to Take a Relaxing Vacation

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Universal Orlando Resort Islands of Adventure Jurassic Park River Adventure Raise your hand if you have ever felt like you needed a vacation after returning from a family trip? While travel is fun, exciting, and builds lasting memories, it can also be downright tiring.

My family just returned from 7 days at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida. We crammed a lot of fun activities into our week-long adventure, including visits to Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Not wanting to be completely exhausted upon our return, we did a few things before, during, and after our vacation to help us more fully enjoy the trip.

Here are 15 tips we recommend for getting a little rest and relaxation that will last beyond the trip.

Family Travel That Build Memories Without Leaving You Exhausted

Planning Tips Before the Trip

The first step to not crashing after you've returned from a family vacation is to plan well in advance. Check out these simple steps:

  1. Do the family's laundry a week in advance and set clothes aside for the trip so you aren't scrambling at the last minute to find important articles of clothing and travel gear.
  2. Pick up the house prior to heading to the airport.
  3. Go to the grocery store and buy enough food (items that won't spoil) to last you a couple of days upon return from your trip.
  4. Create a detailed list of all of the items you'll need. Make sure to include: band-aids, sunscreen with high SPF, sunburn gel, sunglasses, tissues, a mini first-aid kit, ample over-the-counter medications to accommodate a variety of potential illnesses, etc.
  5. Get the suitcases out several days in advance and slowly start packing, crossing items off your list as you load them into your bags.
  6. Universal Orlando Resort Incredible Hulk Coaster If you are doing anything that requires a reservation or tickets—theme parks, restaurants, shows, activities, events, flights, car rental, transportation, etc.—book everything online as far in advance as possible to take advantage of great rates.
  7. Create a file for all reservations and print out confirmation documents to take with you. Have a back up of these confirmation documents in an email folder online just in case.

Creating Family Memories During the Trip

Many people make the mistake of planning well in advance only to push themselves beyond their limits while on vacation. Here are some simple tips for staying energized while on vacay:

  1. Schedule your days around what works best for your family. If you're a super spontaneous bunch, allow yourselves time to veer off the beaten path. If you do better in a structured environment, book reservations in advance and have a reliable watch to ensure you stay on schedule.
  2. Build in ample down time for rest and relaxation. Things like an afternoon nap, lounging by the pool, laying out at the beach, taking in a movie, enjoying a cocktail or mocktail before dinner can make all the difference in helping you truly relax during your vacation.
  3. Bring a couple of "laundry bags" to store your dirty clothes in during the trip—one for whites, one for darks, and one for wet clothes (if you go to the beach or to a hotel with a pool). This will allow you to easily unpack once you return from your trip.
  4. Universal Orlando Resort Latin Quarter City Walk Make healthy choices! Often on family vacations—especially on theme-park trips—families go, go, go until they fall in bed at night, exhausted. The result? The absolute need for massive recovery after the vacation is over. Instead, make choices that help you keep your energy high while on vacation: eating healthy, exercising, getting ample sleep, drinking lots of water are all ways to help your body from crashing after the vacay has ended.

Staying Rejuvenated After the Trip

If you took the time to pick up your house before leaving and ensured that there was enough food to last you a couple of days upon return of your vacation, you'll immediately feel relieved when you walk through the door. In addition, after returning, do the following:

  1. Unpack your luggage and put it away within 24 hours.
  2. Start a load of laundry immediately after unpacking.
  3. Get a great night's sleep the first night you are back.
  4. Wake up the next morning and have each family member share their favorite memory from your relaxing family vacation!

Now you're ready for your next family vacation!

What is your family's favorite vacation spot? What are your tips for planning a truly relaxing vacation?

Disclosure: Universal Orlando Resort provided my family this trip as part of a press event. The tips, insights, and experiences shared are all my own!

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An active part of the Mom It Forward team, Jyl primarily writes about parenting, social good, and all things travel related. In a past life, Jyl was an award-winning copywriter and designer of corporate training programs for Fortune 100 companies. Offline, Jyl is married to @TroyPattee; a mom to two teen boys and a beagle named #Hashtag; loves large amounts of cheese, dancing, and traveling; and lives in the beautiful Rocky Mountains. Topping her bucket list is the goal to visit 50 countries by the time she's 50.

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