Murphy's Law dictates that accidents can and will happen—and this old adage holds true even if you are relaxing on a quiet white sandy beach far from home. Don't forget to pack a first aid kit when getting ready for your family vacation. Family Travel Guides offer an extensive list of suggested items (www.familytravelguides.com/articles/safety/1staidkt.html)—examples include everything from band-aids to Adolph's Meat Tenderizer (when mixed with water, it makes paste for treating bug bites).
If anyone in your family takes prescription medication, be sure to bring along extras and pack them in different bags in case one bag is lost or stolen. You may also wish to contact your health insurance company and inquire about the possibility of filling your prescription while out-of-state or -country.
When traveling with children, be sure to bring along a clear and current photo of your child. If you should happen to get separated, the authorities will want you to provide an up-to-date picture. Another good idea is to make index cards with your child's name, your name, your hotel or campground address (or where your cruise ship is currently docked) with phone number, and the phone number of a close friend or relative back home. Don't let your child, accompanied by an adult or not, adventure out without this card. Bring extras along with you so you can update this information on each leg of your tour.
Remember during your preliminary planning that your family doesn't necessarily need to be together at all times—even though you are traveling together en masse. A common misconception with any family trip involving multiple members is that the family should be together at all times. Some families find success and enjoyment with scheduling separate activities during the day and coming together in the evening to share a meal and take turns exchanging stories from the day's experiences.
Also, plan on mixing up your family dynamic for certain side trips. Let grandpa and grandma take the baby on one day while you and your older child or teen enjoy some time together. Enlist the help of grandma and grandpa for babysitting duty while you and your spouse spend an evening out on the town. Or, have a "girls' day" at the beach while the men in your family take in a round of golf.
Whether you decide to plan a multigenerational family camping trip or put together a European vacation—the location makes no difference—coming together as a family to plan and travel is a wonderful way to build memories that will last a lifetime. Bon Voyage!