What I learned on our family vacation

We always vacation as a family. We missed 1 year, in 2020 for obvious reasons. But other than that, we have visited Kelowna, BC 7 times in 8 years, staying 1 to 2 weeks in an Air BnB, and taking in as much sunshine and valley wine as possible. We have done all the tourist attractions that Kelowna has to offer – the Kangaroo farm, winery’s, Kettle Valley Train, you name it. We’ve probably done it. But this year, we decided to veer off our normal path. We took a trip that was very different for us. We went to Victoria, and Vancouver to explore as much as we could in 10 days and learn a little more about the west coast.

Our kids are 12 and 14 now, and so they like doing things. They like excursions, and a day at the pool just isn’t the same for them anymore. So, we did just that. A vacation with pre-booked activities. And I would give the trip a solid 8/10. There were a few hiccups along the way, but we all adapted, and it turned out to be one of our best family vacays in a long time. As I always do, I took a few notes along the way, and today I’m going to share with you what made the trip such a success.


Leave the ego at home.
Yes, this applies in life just as much as business. For us, our kids are not little anymore. They have their own opinions and want to have a say in what we do. So, this time we let them in on the decision making. We didn’t do anything too hard when it came to outdoor activities (on their request), and if they wanted to make one extra stop at the mall, we did. As parents, sometimes we can get caught up in what everyone else does. That’s ego talking, and it has no place on family vacations. For us, ego does not get a seat at the table. It’s easy to check when ego is there, this article has some good questions to ask yourself. 

Set realistic expectations.
Since 2020, we haven’t had a lot of vacation freedom. It was 2 years of sticking close to home and now everyone is 2 years older. Things change while time moves on. We planned 5 activities for a 9 day holiday. That gave us plenty of time to adapt and find things last minute to do. Even if it was just a sushi dinner. I have learned to leave a lot of white space in the calendar, it keeps our family peaceful and we still have structure.
That said, we did some research and pre-booked excursions.
This allows for everyone to plan for some activities. We did a prebook about every other day, and that was just right. It gives some structure to the holiday, and also allows for some freedom and flexibility.

Read the room.
By this, I mean to read the moods of everyone involved. If the kids just weren’t feeling into an early morning, we had another cup of coffee before the day started. And I made sure not to book anything before 10am local time. Having vacation doesn’t always mean go, go, go. Sometimes it means a slow morning and allowing everyone to have their own pace.  That’s ok. Vacations are there to allow us to relax.

Have fun. Be where your feet are at.
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that live for today. Tomorrow is a gift. Late bedtimes, eating out, and sunburns are just a part of vacation. Don’t worry about the small things, because that will consume your emotional energy. And if you start taking things too seriously, you know it’st your ego talking. There is no vacation emergency that requires yelling or moodiness. Vacations for us are 0.02% of our year. So, just leaving the work at home, and putting the phones down is key to having a bit more energy for what’s important.


It’s never the same as home. So don’t try to make it. Part of the fun of vacation is a different bed, new experiences and expecting the unexpected. We absolutely made the most of it and enjoyed our time away. As our kids grow up, time with them is even more precious. So taking a bit of time to plan a vacation, and going with the flow when you are there .. that makes a vacation that everyone will want to repeat next year.  


Donita Fowler

Coach + Creator
Manage your emotions and you can navigate challenges with a balanced perspective.