For the past few years we’ve taken an extended family beach vacation with my parents and sister every other summer. We rent a beach house and get the opportunity to just hang out and relax together. But before the fun begins a bit of planning must take place. Here are my tips for planning a successful family beach vacation.
Pick a Place
If you’re planning on renting a beach house you’ll need to book it months in advance. The good ones usually fill up pretty fast. To narrow down your selections figure out how many bedrooms you’ll need, what amenities are important to everyone and a budget. You can search on sites like homeaway.com using filters to find rentals that meet your needs. I usually narrow it down to several different places then ask everyone to rank them. Availability and cost end up being the deciding factors.
Make a plan
Once you’ve picked out your location you’ll want to set a date for your family beach vacation. Find out what everyone’s interests are and sketch out a loose itinerary. I know, I know, vacations are for relaxing and you can schedule time for doing nothing while still making sure to plan on hitting the activities your group doesn’t want to miss out on. By planning ahead you can avoid the disappointment of a restaurant or activity you really wanted to do being closed or not available on the day you happened to stop by. Planning will also help you budget for your trip. I like to have a plan and then go with the flow.
Since I’m a fan of Menu Planning I also like to sketch out a menu for the trip complete with snacks. This will help you know what to put on your grocery list so you don’t end up making daily trips to the store, that’s not my idea of a vacation. Although I really do like going to the grocery store as a group in a different place. For some reason it’s just fun! But, once (maybe twice) is enough.
Make a Packing List
If you are staying at a beach house be sure to check the rental website to see what is included. Some rentals require you to bring things like sheets, blankets, towels and garbage bags while others provide those things. Make a list of what needs to be brought on the trip, whether you will bring them from home or purchase them when you arrive and who will bring or purchase them. Things to consider: blow-up mattresses, fans, beach chairs, beach toys, beach towels, pop-up canopy, blender.
Keep Everyone In The Loop
Be sure to keep family members updated on the plans. You can do this through a group email or a group planning session. Decide upfront how you will split costs to avoid any confusion during the trip. For our most recent trip I kept a spreadsheet of expenses and just split everything up after.
Remember It’s a Vacation
A vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, not filled with tension. If you and your kids want to spend every waking moment beachside and the grandparents want to relax on the porch swing, by all means let them. Your idea of vacation may not be the same as everyone else’s and you have to remember that everyone is there to experience their idea of vacation. Don’t judge how others are deciding to spend their vacation. Invite them along and understand if they simply want to chill instead of going on the tour of the day.
Souvenirs and Mementos
I ordered plastic mason jar mugs from Cuttin Crazy on Etsy with everyone’s name on them. They were fun and we always knew whose cup was whose.
I also like to make photo books of our vacation for everyone on Snapfish. It’s very easy to do and a fun way for everyone to remember our time together. Check out my post on Organizing Photos for instructions on how to make a photo book. It rained on the last day of our most recent beach vacation so I was able to download everyone’s pictures, create and order photo books before we even headed home.
I really enjoy our family beach vacations and hope we continue this tradition, which means I better get to planning.
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