Your kids really want to head down the coast to Disneyland this summer, and, frankly, so do you and your ex. Or maybe that vacation rental you used to get every summer in Big Sur is only available for one week in August.
Whatever the situation, you may find yourself considering whether a family vacation is possible – or whether it will disturb your amicable co-parenting relationship. There are some advantages to divorced parents taking a joint vacation with their kids. For example:
- You can save money or do something that you couldn’t afford individually.
- You both get to spend time with your kids instead of one of you have to settle for looking at their photos and videos.
- Your kids can see you and your co-parent getting along despite your differences.
- You can each take some time for yourself and with one child at a time – both of which are hard to do when you’re a solo parent.
If you are going to try a family vacation, however, there are some things you should keep in mind.
Ground rules are crucial
You shouldn’t just hop in the car and see what happens. You need to agree on some things before you go – or even make reservations. This includes:
- How will the vacation expenses be divided?
- Will anyone else be invited (like a significant other or another family member)?
- Are there particular excursions or events that you’ll all do together or that one of you wants to do with the kids?
- What kind of accommodations will you need?
Before you go, decide who’s sleeping where. One thing you want to avoid is sleeping in the same room with your ex. You definitely want to make it clear to the kids that this vacation is not a precursor to reconciliation.
Family vacations aren’t for everyone
If you’re not completely certain that you can do this, don’t. It’s not for every divorced couple (or even most of them). You don’t want to be stuck on Maui for a week with someone who started driving you crazy in the TSA line at the airport.
You can always start with a day trip or maybe a weekend and see how that goes. If you’re able to spend time vacationing together after divorce, even if it’s for brief getaways, you’ll be able to build memories with your kids before they reach the age where they don’t want to vacation with either of you.