Not even gonna sit here and pretend to be an expert at family travel. Truth is, I made a lot of mistakes this trip guys. Regardless of how embarrassed and upset I am at myself, I have absolutely no problem being completely transparent and honest with you all about what I/we did wrong and what I/we could've/should've done differently. My feelings are nothing short of salvaged only because I feel that with each opportunity to travel, to explore, growth passionately and graciously chooses to follow along.
So without further adieu, here are 5 things I learned while vacationing in Thailand that can help you to experience a more fulfilling vacation:
1. Take what you've planned, and divide it by 4. Truth is, only about 1/4-1/2 of the things that you have planned will actually come to fruition; especially when traveling with children/family. The trick is to remain fluid. Be open to the idea of not completing everything that you've set out to do. It's okay. After all, you are on vacation. Simply remain present, remember to breathe, and ENJOY!
2. Whenever you do plan something, carry out the planning to the fullest extent. For example, on our visit to Phuket, I wanted badly to visit the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. Although my gut told me to reserve our spot months prior to actually arriving, I chose to just wing it and wait. Well, doing so actually hurt us in that we were unable to visit the sanctuary due to budgetary and space restrictions. The sanctuary had no availability on the dates we were visiting, and even if they did, we had already blown 75% of our budget. Major sad faces were had. Well, I was the only one with a sad face, but you get the point. Point is, if there's something that you really want to do while vacationing, check ahead of time to see if reservations are required. If so, reserve your spot and set aside the necessary funds to make it happen.
3. SET A BUDGET! Like for real, set a budget and try your very best to actually stick to it. Before vacationing, I really did not have a set budget. Although I knew that I should, I failed to write down and actually plan out our expenses or estimated expenses. This hurt! Hurt so much that we had to nickle and dime on the last day of our trip because we had no real availability to cash or credit cards. Mind you, we still had close to 48 hours of travel time still ahead of us. Yeah, insert the sweating of the bullets HERE.
4. Include your spouse/partner/family in every or almost every aspect of your trip. Including the hubs in the planning, especially the financial planning, of our trip could have most certainly prevented the unnecessary spending of our vacation funds. Instead of having only one person be completely responsible for where and how money was spent, especially if that person is still learning how to be financially responsible, including my husband in on the plans could've ensured that at least two people were working together to ensure that an amazing and responsible time had been had.
5. Last, but certainly not least, do all of the above and increase your chances of rest and relaxation once vacation actually begins. I'll tell you this, had I actually done all of the above, I surely would have been able to rest and relax a whole lot more while on vacation. Not doing the above caused unnecessary stress and prevented me from actually enjoying the last few days before returning to the hustle and the bustle of my life. No regrets though. Again, I'm completely open to learning and doing so will help me, and us, to have an even better vacation next time. Because oh yeah, there will be a next time!