Dodging Drama on Family Vacation

The Joy and Chaos of Family Vacations

Family vacations can be a tremendous source of joy, providing invaluable time to bond and create lifelong memories. However, mixing various personalities, expectations, and routines can sometimes trigger discord among the best of us. On a recent episode of the “Of Sound Mind and Spirit,” podcast, hosts Shelly Kelly and Lisa Jones delved into strategies to ensure your next family getaway is memorable for all the right reasons, even when the crowd is large and diverse.

Understanding Individual Need

Before embarking on a group trip, it’s crucial to consider everyone’s ages, stamina, and temperaments. we, Shelly and Lisa, stressed the importance of planning activities that cater to the varying needs of group members, from energetic teens to more laid-back elderly parents. “Pacing your activities to fit everyone’s comfort level helps prevent irritation and exhaustion,” Shelly noted during the episode. Recognizing individual limits not only minimizes stress but also makes the vacation enjoyable for everyone involved.

Preventing and Managing Conflicts

Conflict isn’t unusual in group dynamics, especially within the colorful tapestry of family relationships. On the podcast, we suggested strategic planning such as seating siblings apart during travel times or setting clear behavioral boundaries right from the start. Lisa shared a personal anecdote: “I remember feeling particularly stressed during one family trip; I took some time out for reading, which really helped me calm down and return to the group refreshed.” Giving family members permission to take personal timeouts or engage in separate activities can also be an effective way to diffuse tension and respect individual space.

Building a Flexible Itinerary

When asked about managing a vacation involving multiple generations and preferences, Shelly advised, “You need a balanced itinerary that offers both structure and spontaneity. Plan major activities, but always leave room for downtime or unexpected changes like a delayed flight or a spur-of-the-moment adventure.” Allowing for these moments can help the family deal with mishaps more gracefully, fostering a more relaxed and adaptable group dynamic.

Modeling Respect and Forgiveness

During the podcast, we highlighted the integral role of respect and forgiveness in maintaining peace during family trips. “It’s essential to model positive behavior for the younger generation,” Lisa pointed out. She referenced Psalm 133:1, which celebrates unity, to emphasize the spiritual aspect of togetherness on family trips.

“How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers dwell together as one!”

Psalm 133:1

We shared our their plan to craft a Spotify playlist that embodies themes of familial bonds, grace, and mercy, helping set a cooperative tone throughout our travels.

Creating Lasting Memories with Intention

Understanding the ultimate purpose of the trip can help clarify intentions and guide behavior. For us, the motivation for our upcoming family vacation is to fulfill our parents’ wish for a final, memorable family gathering. Such heartfelt intentions can encourage family members to prioritize harmony and create positive experiences together. “Remembering why we’re here—to honor our parents’ wishes—puts petty grievances into perspective,” Shelly reflected.

The Art of Family Travel

Planning a vacation with an extended family isn’t merely about logistics—it’s an opportunity to deepen bonds and build understanding across generations. As highlighted in this family vacation episode, we urge families to employ mindfulness and flexibility, use strategies to address potential conflicts, and focus on the deeper meaning behind spending time together. By taking these steps, families can achieve a fulfilling and harmonious vacation experience.

Traveling with Family - Quote

So, as you plan your next family retreat, consider these insights from our “Of Sound Mind and Spirit” podcast episode to ensure a smooth, enjoyable journey filled with love, laughter, and the creation of cherished memories.

Of Sound Mind and Spirit Podcast

Listen to the Of Sound Mind and Spirit Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube Podcasts, iHeartRadio – anywhere you listen to podcasts. Use the player below to listen to episode 50 – Dodging Drama on Family Vacations.


Lisa Henley Jones