Making the Most of Family Vacation

0817 FamilyVacaWork. School. Homework. Sports. With all the responsibilities in our daily lives, it's become increasingly hard for families to find time to spend together. So if your family is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to take a break from it all and go on vacation, you'll want to be sure to make the most out of it.

Here are some ways to accomplish that and help your family get — and enjoy — quality time together.

Plan a vacation for the ages. Before you make any plans or reservations, consider the ages of your children. Make sure the activities you plan are appropriate for each age group.

Make planning a family affair. One of the best ways to ensure your children's happiness on vacation is to let them have a voice in vacation decisions. Prior to your vacation, ask each member of your family to pick an activity they think the entire family would enjoy – then make plans to do it.

Bring only what you need. Not having the clothing or items you need can be very stressful, however, over packing can lead to added stress and fatigue when lugging heavy suitcases around. Look at the weather and your activities, and make a list of essentials only.

Don't schedule too much. Vacation is supposed to be a time to relax, so be sure to carve out time to do just that. Instead of racing off to a busy amusement park every day, plan to spend some quiet time lounging by the pool or ocean.

Budget. Nothing can make a vacation more stressful than spending more than you can afford. Before your vacation, determine how much you will spend and stick to your budget.

Unplug from work. Vacation is supposed to be a time to get away from stress, so if you can leave your work at home, do it. The only connection you should make on vacation is with those you love.

Capture the moments. Be sure to chronicle your journey together with photos. Then when you get home, try to gather the family together to look at the photos and even start planning your next vacation together.

Careful planning and budgeting. Family involvement. Quiet time. With these and a few other simple steps, you can make the most of your family vacation and ensure you avoid the biggest vacation pitfall of all: needing a vacation from your vacation.