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Tips for Traveling with Your In-Laws

When your spouse wants to travel with her family, it might fill you with a bit of anxiety. There can be issues and hiccups that arise when traveling with your in-laws, but that doesn’t have to be the case. If you plan ahead and think strategically, you can enjoy a relaxing, fun vacation with your in-laws. The following are things to keep in mind.

Choose Your Destination Carefully 

When you’re traveling with a group of any kind, in-laws or otherwise, you always want to be careful about choosing your destination. Think about a destination that’s family-friendly and is going to have activities that appeal to all age groups. For example, if you’re taking your kids, you, of course, want there to be things they’re going to like. You also want to consider your in-law's interests. Maybe they like being outdoors, golf, or seeing shows. Whatever it is, try to think about places with something for everyone. It can seem like a tall order, but these destinations do exist. Branson is a good example. Branson is a family-friendly destination with live shows and music, hiking, boating, fishing, shopping, and dining. This way, you’re all going to be entertained and happy. If there are activities everyone in the group is going to enjoy, then you can split up and do your own thing when you feel like it and come back together when you’re all feeling like it. Let everyone have a say as you’re deciding on a location. Think carefully about the length of your vacation as well. A two-week trip may be way too much to take with your in-laws. A long weekend or five-day trip might be just right. Maybe you start out going on some pretty short trips with your in-laws to see how it goes, and then you can work up to longer travels.

Pick the Right Type of Lodging 

Once you have a destination that everyone agrees on and is excited about, think about your accommodations. Don’t try to share a single hotel room with your in-laws. That’s going to create problems. Ideally, maybe you rent a condo, cabin, or house. These give everyone space to spread out, and then you have communal areas when you want to socialize and spend time with each other. Make sure that everyone has a space where they can go when they want to be alone and get some quiet time. If you are going to stay in a hotel, along with separate rooms, you might want to avoid adjoining rooms. They can seem like a good idea, but then that can create privacy issues. 

Figure Out Their Travel Style 

Everyone has their own travel style. Some people love to be on the go and feel like they’re experiencing everything a destination has to offer. Other people like to relax and have a lot of downtime when they travel. Try to figure out what your in-laws like and don’t like. That doesn’t mean you have to do everything the way they want to, but you’ll be able to plan a little more. For example, if you plan a hike one day and they don’t like the outdoors, this is going to be a problem. 

Have Everyone Submit a Wishlist 

As you’re planning your trip, get everyone to submit a list of things they’re most interested in seeing or doing on your trip. Then, you can integrate everyone’s preferences, and you can also make sure that everyone is playing a role in organizing the trip. If only one person organizes everything and it doesn’t go well, or according to plan, they’re going to bear the brunt of everyone’s frustration or anger. Make sure the planning is falling on everyone’s shoulders.

Talk About Money Early On 

One reason that people tend to disagree or argue when they travel together is because of money. Avoid this and create less stress when you’re actually on your trip by having money conversations early on. When you’re in the planning stages, have your in-laws let you know what their budget is and what they’re comfortable spending. Don’t make assumptions about who will be paying for anything. You don’t want to overpay because that could make your in-laws feel awkward, and you don’t want to underpay because that can create resentment. You also don’t want to book things that are out of the budget of your in-laws altogether. One way that you can handle money is by putting your money into a pool at the start of the holiday, and then you can use those funds to pay for meals and activities. 

Leave Breathing Time 

When you travel as a group, even if you absolutely love everyone you’re with, you’re all going to need quiet time away from each other. Make sure that you’re leaving some flexibility and leeway in your schedule for this. For example, maybe you all do things together in the morning, and then in the afternoons, you have some alone time. Make it clear before the trip starts that you plan to do that so that no one gets offended or thinks they’ve done something wrong. 

Don’t Expect Your In-Laws to Be Full-Time Babysitters 

One of the big perks of traveling with your in-laws is that they’ll probably be excited to spend time with their grandkids, which means you and your spouse will be able to sneak off and do some things on your own. You should have a conversation beforehand about how much your in-laws are willing to watch the kids, though. It’s their vacation too, so don’t think that just because you’re traveling with the grandparents that they’re going to take on all the childcare responsibilities. 

Overall, to plan a trip with your wife’s family, communication, patience, and flexibility are going to be key. This is true of any group travel situation. The more you can talk about and clarify beforehand, the less likelihood of a misunderstanding or disagreement happening when you’re actually on your trip.

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