With the summer months behind us and the days getting shorter and colder, it’s time we shift our focus on the winter and holiday season. The holiday season is great because it means a little time off work, the kids have some time off from school, and you get the chance to see family and friends that you don’t see too often. On the downside, these family vacations can often feel repetitive and possibly even boring. Here are some tips we’ve come up with to help you make the most of your holiday travel instead of talking to your relatives about how boring classes are or watching the family argue over politics.

  • Adding an Educational and Historical Element

By adding a little spice to your vacation, it can change the entire tone. You’ll likely be traveling to places where you have extended family so use a site like ancestry.com and see where you have roots. Maybe you can plan to make a few detours along the way and see some of the places your older family lived. Maybe they grew up in a big city that is still thriving, or lived on a farm where the community is barely hanging on. In these smaller communities, it can be really interesting to see exactly how close everybody remains. My family from Nebraska reaches back over 100 years; we can hardly meet anyone new that doesn’t share our bloodline.

  • Disconnecting from Technology

Instead of spending your entire time on your smartphone or tablet, try to make a conscious effort to leave it off. Check occasionally for emergencies from work, but avoid social medias and just browsing. Encourage the kids to do the same, even if it isn’t the ideal vacation, you should still try to make the best of it. You can get some fun in car activities from eBay for roadtrips, or some books never fail to help pass time without wasting brain power.

  • Budget Your Money Carefully

If you are smart about it and plan correctly you could budget your finances to allow a couple of extra days at the beginning or end of your vacation to enjoy as a family, without the craziness of everyone else. If you are in Florida or Southern California, consider going to Disney. Maybe for the driving travelers, try to stop in a few new cities that you’ve never seen before. Making your vacation about more than just seeing your grandparents for the holidays will give you a sense of relief knowing that you got a real vacation.

  • Have Fun

Even if you are only going to be seeing family, make the most out of it. Keep a positive attitude and be genuinely interested when talking to family members. You only get the opportunity to see these people once or twice a year, so don’t be a party pooper. Maybe you can even try to make things more exciting by suggesting some different, more fun activities than usual.