None of us want to fight while on vacation, but nevertheless, it can be a common occurrence. Conflict can be hard no matter the surroundings but bickering while on vacation can turn the trip into an unpleasant time away, instead of the relaxing experience we were dreaming of. It’s frustrating to plan a trip for months, only to find yourself fighting on vacation when you’re trying to relax and connect.

Ready to stop? Here are the main reasons we do it, which is the first step in learning how to avoid fighting on vacation.

1. The concentrated time together

Most families don’t spend every waking moment together. Kids go to school, someone may leave the house for work, and so on. So being on vacation can feel a bit overwhelming if you’re used to or need to have time to yourself. Keep in mind that just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean you have to spend all of that time together. 

The solution: Consider taking a morning and allow each person to do something individually (as long as it’s safe and age-appropriate). That could mean time at the spa, a walk around town, a shopping outing, going fishing, or an onsite kids camp. And then talk about that experience when you come back together.

2. The mental load of planning the vacation

In most families, there’s one person who researches and does the lion’s share of the planning. If you are that person (as am I—along with almost half of today’s millennial and Gen Z moms, the 2022 State of Motherhood survey showed), here’s something that will set us both free: you don’t have to do any of that. In fact, most times our partner simply isn’t thinking about it in the same way. 

The solution: Try this instead: toss out a few suggestions of things you’d like to experience together, maybe a fancy restaurant or a night of salsa dancing. Offer to plan one outing and give the other to your partner. None of us is a mindreader, no matter how long you’ve been together. Communicate what you’d like to do and be willing to share in the planning, knowing that it may not be done the way you would do it. Roll with it.

3. Filling the entire schedule with activities

Vacation is a time to relax, unwind and enjoy yourself. However, each of us may define how that is done very differently. Overscheduling your vacation can make it feel like work and is sure to create conflict. Many of us even utter “I need a vacation from my vacation” when we return home. 

The solution: If you or your partner tend to err on the side of filling up every moment while you’re away, purposely build in time to do absolutely nothing. It’s amazing how relaxing it can be to fall asleep poolside.

4. You’re off your normal routine 

Whether it’s a change in time zone or just being in a new place, being off your routine can take some getting used to. Travel itself can cause us to be a little snappy or short in our responses to the ones we love.

The solution: Lean into your new, different environment. Become curious and explore your new surroundings. And when possible, infuse parts of your normal routine. If coffee and the newspaper is what you do every morning, or if a three-mile walk is your norm, do it.

5. The expectation of perfection 

Hopes of beautiful sunsets or dinner on the beach may be met with a full week of rain in the forecast, literally raining on your parade.

The solution: Choose to roll with whatever comes your way while on vacation. Minimize the expectation that things will go perfectly—because life is made up of all the imperfect moments we experience. In fact, those imperfect moments can create long-lasting, unforgettable memories. Be liberal with grace, for yourself and others.

Depending on your vacation style, vacations are about rest, connection, adventure and relaxing. Here’s the thing, you get to decide. Be intentional about making this one the best trip yet!

The Motherly Collective

This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother’s journey is unique. By amplifying each mother’s experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you’re interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please email Collective@mother.ly.