Like many family activities, the emotions leading up to a family vacation come in phases – 4 to be exact. Learn how to spot them, manage them, and prepare for your best family vacation yet.
Phase 1: Euphoria
When you first imagine your “Family Vacation”, flashing images of laughing children, sun-soaked beach days, and relaxation flood your mind. You then decide that you would give anything to get away! You may even go ahead and actually BOOK a trip for you and yours.
Phase 2: Reality
You know that your family vacation will be incredible, but you also know that there are logistics and details that need to be managed before you commence total relaxation and enjoyment of said vacation.
Phase 3: Panic, Stress
Maybe even a hint of regret that you ever decided to tackle such a huge undertaking in the first place. Where did I put my passport? How do I fit all of this into one suitcase? Where do we meet our driver? Where are my kid’s pants?
Phase 4: Letting Go
You’ve realized that in order for this trip to work you just have to relax and go with the flow. You may have enlisted the help of a travel planning service or maybe you’ve ditched the minute-by-minute itinerary and just decided to wing it. This phase is a wildcard, as you can experience it at any point before, during, or even right after your trip.
How to Let Go Before Your Trip:
The phrase “Family Vacation,” especially for families with young children, can elicit a mixed range of emotions that vary greatly during the planning process and through the end of the vacation. Costa Rica can be a relatively high hurdle to clear, as the tiny country’s terrain presents logistical challenges that can stump even the savviest of vacationers. As travel planners, we recommend having your Letting Go moment before the trip. Here’s how:
Know What Your Family Wants.
It may be easier to make executive decisions about your trip during planning, but in the end it will benefit you to get a sense of what each member of the family wants out of your trip. If your husband is into hiking but your kids want to go tubing, hotels like The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal Volcano offers an extensive array of on-site activities that suit most everyone. The hotel’s “Club Rio Outdoor Center” hosts kayaking, horseback riding, tubing, rappelling, hiking, and more in addition the property’s cold pools and hot springs. If your kids are adamant about observing wildlife, the various exhibits at Peace Lodge will give them the chance to see toucans, sloth, reptiles, and even cats in a controlled setting. Access to the La Paz Waterfall Gardens is included in their nightly rate, ensuring that there is something to do for each member of the family. Knowing what your family wants can be a crucial factor in planning the perfect trip.
Commit to Flexibility.
This is something you should do right from the start. Most people know that things never play out exactly the way you want them to, and vacation is no different. Embrace the Costa Rican “Pura Vida”and go with the flow!
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help.
Maybe you know London like the back of your hand or you’ve successfully navigated the Paris metro system without a hitch. Savvy travelers take pride in their resourcefulness and often view enlisting the help of a travel planner as a sign of weakness. Well let me tell ya, when you’re in Costa Rica you’re playing in a totally different ballpark. Those who have driven through the mountainous, mist-covered roads of Monteverde Cloud Foerst know that the spectacular and varied topography of Costa Rica is not comparable to the country roads of Salzburg in the spring. Our Costa Rica Experts have a great handle on logistics. Use them. They know which hotels are romantic getaways and which ones are family fun spots. They know which hike is better for birding and which is best for monkeys. They know the seasons, the tides, and the most up-to-date information on road conditions and in-country events. When you let someone else take care of the hard stuff, there is more time to focus on relaxation and fun. Their knowledge can turn a bumpy vacation into a seamless adventure.
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