You wait all year long for the one week you can relax, sleep late and do whatever your little heart desires. However, just a few days into your Outer Banks vacation, reality can come creeping in and threaten to ruin your well-deserved break.
No, it’s not just you. One reason this strain occurs (more often than you might think) is because most families don’t see each other but around three hours every day (21 hours per week) according to a NYTimes.com blog post.
While on vacation, however, that time skyrockets to 24 hours per day for seven (or more) days straight. That’s a lot of togetherness! Even in groups where everyone gets along famously under normal circumstances, you’re probably going to have a few bumps in the road. What can you do to ward off the effects of “family overload”?
1. Know family overload is a possibility
Recognizing that this has happened in years past (or could happen in the future) gives you the power to plan ahead. Even the closest-knit families can feel the stress occasionally. That’s normal. Knowing what may happen and taking steps to prevent it is smart.
2. Develop a plan
Create a list of diversions. Just knowing that you have purposefully worked in time for yourself brings a huge boost. For instance, if you have noticed that your two kids begin to rub each other the wrong way after spending two days together nonstop, insert strategically placed distractions into your week.
Perhaps you and one child can go to the outlet mall and shop while your spouse and the other child can hang out at the beach for a few hours. Or your spouse might opt to play in the pool with the kids while you go to the grocery store. Depending on the age of your children, you could drop them off at laser tag while you and your honey share some quality time.
Does everyone in the family love water sports? Great! But you don’t all have to participate in the same activities. Most vendors offer a variety of options including jet skis, kayaks, fishing and more. Each person can choose what he or she likes best, then all meet back at a predetermined time.
3. Create routines that include alone time
Love a quiet cup of coffee with your morning paper? Does your spouse enjoy a morning jog? Take some time apart so you both get what you need. The same goes for your kids.
In the evenings, one child might read alone before bed while the other catches up on her Twitter feed.
With so much to do in and around the Outer Banks beaches, you can all have a fabulous time doing what you love: together and apart. For instance, the children and your spouse might opt for ghost crabbing while you get a massage and pedicure. Does your other half love golf? While s/he hits the links, the rest of the family can go for a ferry ride to Ocracoke Island and hunt for seashells.
4. Keep your sense of humor
Is your oldest child’s never ending curiosity about everything you pass annoying or delightful innocent wonder? Many situations are truly up for interpretation. If you choose for them to be irritating, they will be. On the other hand, if you change your perspective, the mood of the situation is altered, too.
Look on the bright side of everything. You’re on vacation in the glorious Outer Banks of North Carolina. You’re surrounded by stunning scenery in one of the most pristine and relaxing destinations in the United States. Now there’s a reality check for you!
Communicate and Compromise
Successful family vacations are often dependent on understanding what others need and communicating your own preferences. While you love your family, you’ll enjoy each other much more when you build some me time into your vacation plan. Working in a little carefully planned separation can mean everyone has a better time during your Outer Banks vacation.