About six months after my son’s wedding, his new wife and he called to ask if we would like to join them on a Disney vacation one and a half years from now. We all joked it would take that long for everyone to save their money! Nevertheless, we were all over the idea of spending time with them and going on a vacation with adult children.

As soon as we hung up, I immediately started thinking about the process: Where would we stay? How would we figure the costs, whether we rent a vehicle, or even which park we would go to? I jokingly thought to myself that not only would it take us a long time to save, it might just take us just as long to plan!

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6 Tips for Enjoying a Vacation with Adult Children

Remember, they're not children anymore, they're adults and this vacation is for them, too. Here are 6 tips for enjoying a vacation with adult children.

As I look forward to this up-and-coming event, I’m researching the details we will need to figure out, and in the process, I’m remembering this vacation is for everyone, so everyone gets to provide input. Actually, though some might disagree with me, I’m leaning more toward allowing the now-newlyweds to lead the way, as the vacationing is at their initiative. My daughter-in-law is a planner, and both my son and she are very respectful of others’ time, energy, and financial situations.

Nevertheless, here are five tips for enjoying a vacation with adult children:

How Can I Help?”

Since my son and daughter-in-law set the date and the location, I assume they have some specific ideas in mind about how the vacation might unfold. I want to honor their ideas as well as help without taking over the planning. One of my very first questions was asking them how I can help. So I asked, and I received an answer. Now I know my parameters, and that makes me happy.

Planes, Trains, or Automobiles?

How will we travel to our destination, and how will we travel once we are at our destination? We have decided that since we live in different cities, we are going to meet up at our destination point. Once we are at our destination point, we will need a means of getting to and from the Disney theme parks. Although we haven’t made a final decision on our mode of transportation at this point, we do know we have many options, from taking shuttles to renting a car and driving each day.

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Together and Separate

This is a good point to remember when going on a vacation with adult children. I’m sure there will be times when we all will be together, but I’m equally sure we all will want to split apart and do our own thing. Talking about when and where we go together will decrease the chances for disappointment that things won’t go as one of us has envisioned. A couple of us are spontaneous, so we are allowing for a day or two of doing whatever we feel like doing that day, together, separate, or both.

Through the Stomach & To the Heart

Lots of bonding happens over food, but lots of tension can occur without good planning about meals. Discuss details about when to eat out and when to eat in. On the days we are eating in, who is preparing the meals? Who is cleaning up after the meals? And who’s responsible for all the in-between snacks and dishes? We have decided each person is responsible for cleaning up after himself.

6 Tips for Enjoying a Vacation with Adult Children

We also have determined a couple of evenings we will prepare dinner in the condo. Two other nights we will dine together in the theme parks, and the other nights we are on our own.

Money, Money

One more thing about food — We each pay for our own meals. This detail gives lots of relief, as Mom and Dad don’t want to order mac and cheese while the kids order filet, with the parents paying for the meal.

As a matter of fact, we already have discussed we are going “dutch” on all expenses, meaning, we each pay for our own stuff. If one of us wants to “treat” the others to something special such as a meal or show, that’s entirely different, but everyone goes into the vacation that if you want it, you buy it.

All Grown Up

The most important thing I need to remember is that my son and his wife are adults now, and they’re not asking us along so we can look out for them or give them advice or even parent them; they have invited us to join them in making some great memories. And that’s just what I plan to do: Have a blast with two people I happen to love very much.

Remember, they're not children anymore, they're adults and this vacation is for them, too. Here are 6 tips for enjoying a vacation with adult children.

Tammy Tilley
Tammy Tilley
Tammy Tilley, mom of two adult children, cares deeply about parenting issues. Although she’s looking in the rearview mirror of her hands-on parenting days, once you’re a parent, you’re always a parent. She enjoys sharing a few memories and a touch of advice about spending energy on the things that matter. Tammy has a BA in English from Anderson University (IN) and a MS in Education from IUPUI.