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10 Rules you should have for family getaways

Based out of Dallas, Texas, Mary McCoy is a writer and social worker for disenfranchised women and children. She's a single mom, lover of Texas barbecue, and a die-hard fan of yoga

Boundaries to embrace

As with most things in life, vacations are better with a few parameters. Set a few limits for your family so you can relax without worry.
Family on beach getaway
Photo credit: altrendo images/Photodisc/Getty Images

1

Make a plan for discipline

At home, kids know what to expect if they break the rules. Maybe discipline is a trip to timeout corner, or maybe it's a grounding from friends. Discipline tends to be a little more nebulous on vacation, so make sure your kids know what to expect if they're disobedient. If they know up-front that you still mean business, they'll be less likely to wreak havoc on your family's plans.

2

Stick to a budget

Don't put yourself through the anxiety and regret of a busted vacation budget! There's nothing worse than returning home from a vacation to look at an outrageous credit card statement. Give yourself the freedom to splurge on important things, but remember to keep track of your variable expenses so they don't sneak up on you.

3

Plan for emergencies

Unfortunately, vacations aren't always a break from real life. It's important to make a contingency plan should an emergency arise. Your emergency preparation will vary according to your vacation, but it may be wise to pack your first aid kit and insurance cards, and perhaps even purchase trip insurance.

4

Communicate your schedule

Without the typical structure of home, kids need clear communication about what to expect each day. Every morning, tell your kids about the activities you've planned so they don't feel confused. Confusion and unmet expectations tend to create meltdowns.

5

Vacation is a "no-whining zone"

Do not tolerate whining from your kids, your spouse or yourself. A family vacation may only come once this year, so nip bad attitudes and whining in the bud.

6

Everyone needs a bedtime

It's fine to be a little lenient about bedtime on vacation, within reason. However, your kids still need to have something resembling a schedule when it comes to naps and sleep. Make sure you accommodate napping and bedtime needs for your kiddos.

7

Give everyone a little space

As much as you adore your kids, they may want to spend a little bit of time away from the crucible of family togetherness. If you are the mom of tweens and teens, give them some space to do their own thing so they don't end up ruing the day they agreed to travel with the family.

8

Keep on moving

Rather than turning into a celebration of gluttony and sloth, make sure your vacation plans include at least a little bit of physical activity. Physically active kids are more likely to sleep well in a strange bed and avoid tummy troubles from strange food.

9

Limit screen time

We're guessing you didn't book a family vacation so the kids can sit in front of the television and their tablets. Set expectations up-front about how many minutes of screen time they can expect each day, and stick to it (you too, mom!).

10

Chores are non-negotiable

Just like at home, your kids need to pick up their clothes and help with cleaning and meals. You are on vacation, too, so they shouldn't expect for you to serve as a maid.

Tell us

What rules do you live by when it comes to planning your family travel? Tell us in the comment section below!

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