Family vacations give family members an opportunity to relax, reconnect, and set aside distractions. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to create memories. But co-parent vacation planning can be quite difficult.

If real estate is all about location, location, location, then co-parent vacation planning is all about schedules, schedules, schedules.  There are the parents, kidss, stepparents, stepchildren, extended family, friends, vacation groups all to potentially consider. Then of course there are also work schedules, school calendars, sports schedules, and other extra-curricular calendars to work around. And we haven’t even thought about the destination, climate and weather considerations, and our travel arrangements.

Still, it is worth the effort to make the family vacation happen as it will provide both you and your children memories that will last a lifetime.

So how do you do it?

Three keys to successful co-parent vacation planning are advanced planning, compromise, and flexibility.

  • Advanced planning: Talk to your co-parent well in advance; ask their plans; share your plans. Be careful not to dictate everything. This breeds animosity. Get something blocked out on the calendar for both of you to take uninterrupted time with the kids.
  • Compromise: Don’t expect to get your way every time there are conflicting vacation plans. Be open to adjusting. But expect to share the burden of compromise and let your co-parent know this. Example: “I will adjust our schedule this year if next year, you’ll do the same. Does that work?”
  • Flexibility: Get creative with dates, travel arrangements, and even locations
  • Don’t pass the buck off on family or friends. You and your co-parent are the ones responsible for this. Don’t let others dictate your co-parent vacation schedule.
  • Consider everyone affected by your plan. Now you must consider those beyond the immediate household including your co-parent, stepparents, etc.
  • Expect your co-parent to take your children on a vacation each year, even if it’s just something close by or even a staycation. The point is that while your co-parent may not be required to take the children on a family vacation, you should accommodate it provided reasonable plans have been made and communicated.
  • Don’t block the opportunity for your co-parent to enjoy a family vacation with your kids by scheduling conflicting activities like summer camps, summer jobs you have arranged for them, etc. You wouldn’t want them to do that to you.
  • Remember what you really want. If your co-parent has a unique vacation opportunity that you know your kids will enjoy and it just happens to fall during the week that you traditionally have them, decide if you really want your kids to miss out on special once-in-a-lifetime moments. Get creative and propose alternative arrangements everyone can live with.

Do you have other suggestions that you’ve seen work out well? Share them in the comments.
co-parent vacation planning

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