For those of you who look forward to summer vacation as a well deserved break from routine or a way to regain work life balance, what are the dos and don'ts of vacationing in 2013?
Is is okay to hire child care on a family vacation? Is it okay to check out of work completely? Is it okay to bring extended family members along on a trip?
Of course, the answer depends on how guilty you feel over the choices you make.
I just read a very helpful article on Care.com about 8 Ways to Find Child Care on Vacation. It includes suggestions such as choosing a hotel with babysitting servies or vetting a sitter ahead of time who lives in the area you are traveling. When I worked 60-hour weeks in the newsroom, I felt guilty using any child care while on vacation with my kids. When my kids were younger, I tried it. I left them with a hotel sitter one night. I think the combination of a new environment and a stranger unsettled my daughter. She cried the whole time we were out to dinner. When I got off the elevator, I could hear the screaming from down the hall. I just felt too guilty to ever try it again. But, I know some families who have left their kids at the camp on cruise ships. They've reported their kids had a fabulous time and they enjoyed some grown up time alone. There is no right or wrong answer, but there are more child care options than ever if you want some grown up time when traveling with kids.
Next question, is it okay to connect with the office on vacation?
Earlier this week, I wrote my work life balance column on people who take longer vacations but stay connected to the office. I think each of us has to learn to vacation in the way we feel most relaxed. I received an email from John Roig. This is his take: As an IT professional now for 20+ years I've come to know there's no light at the end of the tech tunnel; just another tunnel. Fine. To 'restore' (regain perspective really) I need to be where no one can reach me (and conversely, where I am literally unable to reach out – technologically). Getting harder though…cell penetration is getting better each year…..this trip (Zion) was 3 days in early May. I try and do 2/yr."
(John Roig in Zion Canyon)
Next, is it okay to bring extended family members along on a trip? (Does that detract from a real vacation)?
That depends. Care.com says according to a poll, 40 percent of families have gone on a multigenerational vacation. In an era where many grandparents live in different cities, states or time zones than their grandchildren, a trip can forge bonds far stronger than a simple holiday visit to grandma's house and it's efficient way to spend time with your parents and kids at the same time. Plus, grandparents make great babysitters. But if you travel with a toddler and a grandparent in tow, pace is going to be very important. Remember though, vacation is all about renewal. If it becomes too stressful, you may be defeating the purpose.