It’s always a little sad when a great family vacation comes to an end. But just because your family’s journey is over doesn’t mean the fun has to be!
One of the best things about going on a family vacation is that you make a ton of new memories to look back on with a smile. Here are our top three strategies for capturing and savoring your vacation, even after your family returns home:
1.Relive the Memories
If going on vacation with your family is all about encouraging your kids to “live in the moment,” then coming home from vacation is about finding ways to hold on to the precious memories you created together. Luckily, you don’t just have to rely on a “mental picture” of your family vacation to remember the good times!
Here are a few ways you can translate vacation memories into to cherished keepsakes:
- Create a slideshow of your vacation with photos and videos you and your kids took. If you’re a tech wiz (or one of your older children is!) you could try using apps like Mac’s iMovie and Magisto, or tried-and-true PowerPoint would work too.
- Make a photo album through online services like Shutterfly or Chatbooks. Think of these as scrapbooks for the 21st century. You upload your photos, design your album online with user-friendly templates, and then have it delivered to your home as a beautifully bound book. These make great gifts for your fellow travelers, too!
- Consider opting for a family photo session while on vacation to capture the good times you’re having together. Flytographer makes it easy to arrange an affordable session with professional portrait photographers in many countries around the world. These vetted photographers will help you pick the most beautiful sights to use as the background for your family photo session, so you can ensure your photos capture some local flavor (OWV bonus: use this link to receive $25 off your own Flytographer session). Not to mention, you’ll love receiving the link to look at your gallery of vacation photos after your family vacation has ended! This will be a big step up from selfie-stick family portraits.
2.Deepen Your Kids’ Knowledge
Family vacations are wonderful opportunities to teach your kids about new cultures and places — and there’s no reason that the learning has to stop just because the trip is over!
These three ideas are fun ways to reinforce what your kids learned on your trip, and perhaps inspire them to further explore new passions they’ve discovered during your family’s travels:
- Encourage your kids to create a report of the trip, from their own perspectives. This isn’t a boring book report … let them have some fun! For example, your kids can band together to create a silly skit or a collage, author and illustrate a short “book,” work or write and perform a song. The more creative and expressive, the better (and more entertaining for their audience — you!).
- Gift your kids something that relates to the destination you visited, or to something they learned on the trip, so they can keep learning. Examples include:
- An age-appropriate book
- A magazine subscription
- A class in your community, ie. cooking classes, language course, etc.
- If you did a homestay with a host family on your trip, encourage your kids to keep in touch with the family by sending notes and postcards (it’s a great way for your wee ones to practice writing and penmanship, too). Didn’t do a homestay? No worries; you can use a site like International Pen Friends to find a “penpal” from the destination you visited.
3.Start Planning Your Next Adventure!
So one family adventure has come to an end … but your next one is just around the corner!
The end of a family vacation is actually the perfect time to start planning your next getaway, since you have what worked well on this vacation (and maybe what didn’t) fresh in your mind. Talk with your family about their favorite parts of the trip and what they wish they skipped or incorporated.
You’ll also want to think about what would complement what your family has learned on this trip. For example, if you just completed a river cruise down the Amazon in Brazil, you might want to show your family a vastly different natural environment — but one that’s still chock full of fascinating animals! — on your next trip, like a family safari in Africa.
Get More Tips on Finding the Best Vacation for Your Family
If you’re ready to start planning your family’s next vacation, there’s one thing you’ll DEFINITELY want to take into consideration: Your children’s ages. Picking a destination and activities that are appropriate for your kid’s ages can make a big difference in whether your vacay is smooth sailing, or just plain stressful. Grab our free guide for creative travel ideas, broken down by age.
Be sure to check out the other parts to this series…