10 tips for traveling with your in-laws to help you & them have a fun & memorable time without a headache!
I must admit, I have great in-laws who love to travel in & around the US.
Over the last 10 years, we have taken more road trips together than I can count & a few years back they even took us to Maui as a graduation present for Roger from dental school.
And over the years we have learned a lot about traveling together, like what works & what doesn’t work.
These 10 years of experience led us to take our first overseas trip with them to Egypt as a little thank you for their help through dental school.
So today I thought I would share with you a different type of traveling post with tips on how to travel with your in-laws.
I know this can be a touchy subject because some people don’t have the best of relationships with their in-laws.
But if you already know you have a rocky relationship you probably already realize it may not be the best of plans to go on a trip or vacation with your in-laws, especially a weeklong vacation.
However, even if you have a great relationship with your in-laws, spending a week or even just a weekend can be a whole new experience with a plethora of unexpected circumstances & situations that may arise.
We’ve driven from Tennessee to the Florida Keys, Tennessee to Orlando, Tennessee to Ohio, flown from Atlanta to Maui, & ATL to Egypt via Istanbul with Roger’s parents now.
The Florida Keys & Ohio vacations are annual trips, so if you add them all up together, along with a few miscellaneous trips we’ve taken with them, I’ve probably traveled with my in-laws 20+ times ranging from weekend trips to 10-day vacations.
Between these trips with my in-laws (& I want to make it clear before I get started, I have a great relationship with my in-laws), trips with my family, & listening to friends & family discussing their vacations with family I have created these 10 tips.
So if you are planning a trip with your in-laws I hope these tried & true tips will help you create a wonderful vacation & lead to many more family vacations with your in-laws!
1. Discuss Your Travel Styles
This doesn’t need to be a big sit down discussion or anything.
Just an open conversation about trips they’ve taken in the past, what they like to do while traveling, how early they get up, how late they stay out, if they prefer tourist spots, like to go off the beaten path, do they like taking historical tours with guides, do they want to see everything or prefer to just see 1-2 tourist spots in a day.
There is a plethora of travel styles & some match up better than others.
Don’t worry if your travel styles don’t match up.
This doesn’t mean you can’t travel together, but rather that you may need to research a little more to find just the right trip everyone can enjoy.
Maybe instead of a week-long trip to a foreign city, it would be better that you take a long weekend trip to the beach in which you have separate condos/hotel rooms.
Knowing your travel style ahead of time will allow for a more relaxed vacation & help you chose a location that will be enjoyable for all.
2. Decide on a Mutually Desired Location
Choosing a low key, relaxing vacation may be a great way for you to start traveling with your in-laws.
You may even want to choose a place that you all have been previously, like somewhere from your childhood.
Deciding on something relaxing, like the beach, or with a lot of on-site activities, like a ski-resort, may be perfect.
My first trip with Roger’s family was to the Florida Keys & our most adventurous trip with them didn’t take place until 10 years later when we traveled to Egypt together.
3. Figure Out a Good Vacation Length
I highly recommend that you start small when it comes to vacationing with your in-laws.
Maybe a weekend in the country or a long weekend at the beach before moving on to a whole week, or even 2-week vacations.
You want to make sure that your personalities & travel styles mesh well together so that your relationship with your in-laws & your spouse don’t become rocky.
Once you’ve been on some shorter lengthed trips together, you may decide that your styles blend well & decide to go on bigger & longer trips together.
Or you may decide that it would be best to keep to shorter trips in order to keep the peace.
The last thing you want is a split in the family because of a vacation.
Just use your best judgment & discuss everything with your spouse so as to not build walls, because ultimately a spouse is a priority over an extended family.
4. Your Spouse’s Responsibility
Speaking of your spouse…
Your in-laws are your spouse’s parents. Respect is always important & Biblical.
BUT, that does not mean that your in-laws can dictate your spouse’s life, your life, or your marriage.
They may give advice that they may expect you to follow, but that does not mean you have to follow it, or that you even have to respond to it.
We realized early on in our marriage that it is his responsibility to communicate with his parents/family & my responsibility to communicate with my parents/family so as to keep the peace on important & delicate subjects.
This also applies when planning & traveling with in-laws.
5. The Big M Word
Deciding who is paying for what can be complicated.
The easiest way to avoid money conflicts is to simply let each couple pay for their own expenses & to make this clear before the trip is planned.
However, if the trip is a present or a gift (as it was in our case by giving back to Roger’s parents for helping pay for dental school), then it should be announced who is paying for the expenses upfront in that case.
If you or they offer to pay, be sure everyone understands the full cost so there is no surprises & practice cautiousness & gratefulness depending on the level of relationship you already have with your in-laws.
6. Plan Your Vacation Together Ahead of Time
It’s very important to plan your vacation ahead of time, especially if you have never traveled with your in-laws in the past.
Winging a vacation with your in-laws is probably not the best idea unless both couples are very chill when it comes to travel, & even then “chill” is a subjective term.
I’ve talked about planning vacations in the past quite a few times, & it really all comes down to there being value in knowledge.
If you plan the trip ahead of time you will know what is expected to happen, what is expected of you/them, & what you should plan to bring for day trips, excursions, how you will be spending your days & nights, etc.
Before you begin planning your trip be sure to check out these other travel tips blog posts.
7. Plan for Space
It’s very important to plan to have some alone time while traveling.
Be sure to plan time away from your in-laws (& maybe even your spouse), just to have some quiet time to breathe, relax, & regroup so that you have more energy & excitement for more travel fun.
If need be, make sure your in-laws/parents understand that you or your spouse is an introvert & needs some space.
For many, being around people drains their energy & they may need some alone time before joining the group again.
Plus going from spending small amounts of time together to being together 24/7 can be a lot to handle.
Everyone needs a break every once in a while.
Maybe it’s important for your in-laws to get a break from you too!
8. Be Flexible
Even when having a plan, flexibility is important.
Life throws unexpected curve balls which leads to the need to be flexible.
If something unexpected occurs that causes a change of plans & possibly disappointment, try to save your frustration or sadness for when you are alone so as not to bring down the whole party.
Sometimes people don’t know how to comprehend your expression of emotions.
While you may express them for a few minutes & then let it go & think no more of it, your in-laws & spouse may be greatly affected by those few minutes & allow it to affect how they look at you, how they act around you, & how they view the rest of the vacation.
It’s ok to have feelings & emotions, we all have them, but knowing when to express them is key for communal peace & continuation of an enjoyable vacation.
9. Seek Selflessness
If everyone is working together to create a fun & memorable vacation being selfless will come naturally.
By seeking the joy of others you will all have a more enjoyable trip.
And while you can’t demand selflessness from others, if you personally seek to live selflessly your acts of selflessness may cause a proliferation of selflessness that those around may begin to emulate.
In the end, if you have taken a selfless stance to vacation you will most likely end up having the most enjoyable & relaxing time anyways.
Roger & I have both experienced this when traveling & have learned that it is the surest way to have a fun vacation together.
10. What Matters Most
The best way to ensure you & your companions have a wonderful vacation is to remember what matters most.
No missed dinner reservation, disagreement, not getting to visit the location or sight you wanted to, or unexpected change of plans, is more valuable than your relationship with your husband & family.
By praying throughout your trip, remembering to show kindness & love, & seeing the value of each person in the sight of God, you will be able to remember what matters most no matter what happens or where your trip leads.
I hope these tips help you as you plan a family vacation with your in-laws.
If you use these tips on a trip with your in-laws be sure to share a picture & tag @DomesticallyBlissful on Instagram so that we can all see your fun adventure & so that I can share your awesome photo on my stories!
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What tips do you have for traveling with your in-laws?
I’d love to hear from you!
Feel free to comment below, email me, or tweet me on Twitter.
With love, Giusti
For just as each of us has one body with many members,
& these members do not all have the same function,
so inChrist we, though many, form one body,
& each member belongs to all the others.
Romans 12:4-5 NIV