Planning your summer vacation to Yellowstone and stumped on how to choose an itinerary that will please everybody in your family? It may seem like a no win situation since your family cannot even agree on a TV show to watch together. So many decisions to make – do you choose an all-inclusive destination, stay in Yellowstone, a hotel or B&B, do you fly or road trip it? I am lucky because my kids are great travelers and love the adventure of a road trip! Your kids may revolt at the thought of a road trip with the family! How do you make it work so everyone is happy?
It does not have to be overwhelming. It can actually be fun! Start by requesting the Buffalo Bill’s Cody/Yellowstone Country 2012 Vacation Guide or go to www.yellowstonecountry.org . Both are full of great information on activities, lodging and events happening in the area. The website even offers sample itineraries. I love sitting down at the kitchen table with all the vacation planners, travel guides and web materials spread out. Each member of our family gets a different color highlighter and goes through all the materials and highlights the attractions/activities with things that look fun to them. My ten year old tends to have twice as many picks as everyone else because everything looks exciting when you are ten! Remember, this is round one. In round two, everyone has to pick their top 3 choices. It is always great when multiple family members pick some of the same choices. Those become the “must-dos.” In round three, everyone gets to defend their choices with a question and comment period from the family. Some options are easily eliminated at this point as it is probably not appropriate for the three year old to learn to kayak on this trip!
Your family should finally have a list of activities and lodging options that work for everybody. I love this process because every family member feels like they had a part in planning the trip and aren’t just along for the ride. We also set ground rules like no complaining about an activity that wasn’t your pick. Who knows, your 16 year old may really enjoy the horseback ride his 12 year old sister chose!
On our trips, we allow our children to choose where we eat lunch each day. One rule is it has to be local fare, no chain fast food. We rotate through the kids so everyone has their day. Mom and Dad have exclusive rights to the dinner meal! We have a lot of fun with this. Sometimes we are in a town that has a great ice cream shop so we allow the kids to choose ICE CREAM for lunch! We instantly become the coolest parents ever! Because this precedent has been set, our kids get real creative and make some interesting choices. This tradition makes for great leverage at the evening meal when the kids aren’t thrilled with our pick. I just say, “Remember, you had a funnel cake for lunch.” They just can’t argue with that! Cody/Yellowstone Country has great options for dining for the whole family. Be sure to request or pick up a dining guide from the Chamber of Commerce (www.codychamber.org) or ask your front desk staff at your hotel. And yes, Cody does have a great place to get ice cream for lunch!
Check back next week for the “Must Dos” in Cody/Yellowstone Country!
Until next time, happy traveling in Cody Country!