Blended Family Week: 5 Tips That Guarantee a Fun and Stress-Free Blended Family Vacation!

BY: - 16 Sep '14 | Blended Families

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Blended families are beautiful but they can also be stressful.  Everyone’s learning each other’s likes and dislikes, habits and quirks while maintaining the new daily routine.  The stress can spill over to vacations as well, especially if you’re a newly blended family.  Here are a few tips to help you manage the stress on your blended family vacation.

  • Compromise & keep it fair.  As parents you know what your kids will like/dislike on vacation.  To keep it fair and considerate of what all the kids want to do, give them several options and let them vote and come to agreement on where the family should vacation. Remember, children think parents are only their escorts and there to pick up the tab.
  • Mini vacation anyone?!  In the beginning, an 8 day safari will be way too long, especially if everyone is not comfortable with each other yet.  Mini vacations/getaways are best especially when you are a new blended family.  Plan on a 3-4 night vacation and think of it as a trial adventure for members of the new family to get to know each other while having fun.
  • Mix-it Up!  Activities should be inclusive of what everyone likes to do.  Group activities will be great and a lot of fun, but mix-it up by going on separate outings.  For example the wife takes the girls on an all-girl excursion and the husband takes the boys on one.  Experts also stress that going on totally separate vacations (each parent with their biological children only in different destinations) when you are blended families is not a good idea.  It will create division and strife in the family.
  • Be Flexible and Communicate.  Flexibility and communication are the keys to making any vacation fun and stress free.  Be open to changes in the plan and don’t assume anyone knows what you like/dislike.  Don’t be selfish and encourage family members to share their thoughts and desires.
  • Create a lot of memories. Take a lot of group family selfies throughout your vacation and proudly display them at home when you return.  Everyone will remember the fun they had and look forward to the next vacation.

Now that we have our tips and tools, where should we go on our blended family vacation?  Cruises are going to be great floating destinations for a blended family vacation.  All cruises sail to great destinations and have tons of onboard activities that will appeal to all family members.

Cities/destinations with theme parks and specialty resorts are also great because there will be activities for kids of every age.  For example Orlando, Florida is a great destination for blended family vacations.  Not only is Orlando home to Disney World and all that it offers but resorts like Coco Key Orlando also call it home.  Coco Key Orlando has its own water park but is centrally located near Disney, Sea World and Universal as well as shopping malls for Mom.  Simply fun for everyone!

Parents, remember to communicate your expectations and rules and you’re all set for a little fun and break from the daily family routine.

BMWK: As a blended family, can you share your vacation tips?

It’s Blended Families Week on the site.  Please click here for more articles and resources.

About the author

Kirstin Fuller wrote 285 articles on this blog.

Kirstin N. Fuller aka The Travelin Diva is a DC based travel journalist bringing fellow travelers the best deals on family vacations, couples retreats, spa getaways, the best travel gadgets and more in BMWK's exclusive Travel Tuesday & Weekend Travel Guide columns. Check out her new travel blog daily for more deals & destinations www.passenger156.com.

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Blended Families Week: Why Good Intentions are Not Good Enough

BY: - 16 Sep '14 | Blended Families

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Lamar and I just celebrated 9 years of marriage. And while I can’t say that the last nine years have gone by without any drama or trials, I can say that marrying Lamar has been one of the best decisions that I’ve made in my life. He’s not only been a blessing to me, but he has also been a blessing to my children ….our children.

We were recently asked what has been one of your major challenges in our marriage.  And hands down, we both said the challenges that come with being a blended family.  Things were fine at first.  But when the problems came…they hit us like a ton of bricks.  I’ve never experienced that kind of pain before. As the biological mother in this situation, it hurts you to your core to see your children hurting and your spouse hurting.

When we were asked, knowing what we know now…what would we do differently when we prepared to get married?  I said: I would have prepared more for being a blended family.

You see, Lamar and I thought we did everything right.  We discussed all of the major topics that you should discuss before getting married: finances, religion, where we would raise the kids..etc.  And we even did pre-marital counseling with the pastor that married us. But, we did not prepare ourselves specifically for being a blended family.

And I know that it’s impossible to prepare yourself for all of the challenges that may come your way.  But, the odds of your family succeeding increase when you are proactive and when you prepare yourself.  Here is what Ron L. Deal says on page 12 in his book The Smart Step-Family: Seven Habits to a Healthy Family:

There are many hidden challenges in stepfamily life, and you need to be as prepared as you possibly can.  Taking off your blindfold and seeing clearly the journey ahead is the best choice you can make.  Indeed, your decision to form a stepfamily by marriage needs to be an informed choice; otherwise you may regret the decision once the challenges hit you head-on.

So how is that we still claim to be happily married, even with all of the challenges we’ve faced in our family?  We took the blindfolds off. 

“You can not afford to go into marriage armed with “better than last time” intentions.  The process demands that you know and understand more than that.” – Ron Deal, The Smart Step-Family

With blended families, it’s not enough to have good intentions. You’re going to have to put in the work in order have a healthy stepfamily.  And that’s what we did. We read books, we’ve taken classes, and we’ve sought the mentoring of other couples that now have thriving stepfamilies.  So, my advice to you, whether you’re thinking about forming a stepfamily or you’re already in one, go today and find the resources that you need in order to grow healthy relationships in your family. If you don’t know where to start…here are some of our favorite blended family resources.

BMWK – if you’re in a blended family, please share with us the resources or tools that you have used for your family.

It’s Blended Families Week on the site.  Please click here for more articles and resources.

About the author

Ronnie Tyler wrote 517 articles on this blog.

Ronnie Tyler is the co-creator of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com and co-producer of the films Happily Ever After: A Positive Image of Black Marriage, You Saved Me, Men Ain't Boys and Still Standing. The proud mom of 4 has been selected by Parenting Magazine as a Must-Read Mom and is one of Babble's Top 100 Mom Bloggers.

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