We’ve all seen those photos of the happy family by the ocean with radiant smiles in the sun. Wouldn’t it be nice? Family vacations seem like such a fairy tale for so many people. Did you know that the average working adult in the US only uses half of their vacation time and many continue to handle business while they’re on vacation? Vacations are important – our bodies need time to rest and recharge in order to be at maximum efficiency.

Many people cite “stress” and “money” as reasons why they do not take family vacations. Sometimes getting the whole family to a single destination can be an undertaking in and of itself! It doesn’t have to be that way. We’ve put together some tips to help you make your next family vacation a little easier.

1. Outsource your transportation.

If you’re heading out of town, take into consideration the fact that you will need transportation to get to the airport or train station. No one wants to deal with parking or taxis or the subway. A car service is the best way to Logan or South Station. This way, you don’t have to worry about parking the family minivan in a strange lot for a week and worrying about it while you’re trying to enjoy yourself.

2. Use lists.

For families with multiple kids, lists will be a game changer. Sit down and make preliminary lists for each child (and adult!) of everything that you’ll need for the entire vacation, down to socks and deodorant. Then go over the list and make sure you didn’t forget anything. A day or two beforehand, return to your list: do you have everything that you need? Is a trip to the store in order? Take care of business for a reduced-stress departure!

stress free family vacations dependable limo airport transportation3. Plan ahead.

As parents, we know the importance of these two words. Having a vacation itinerary with children is very important. Do you have some interesting destinations planned? Even more important, however, is to think about the travel itself. Pack some nutritious snacks and beverages for travel. Packing a special travel bag or box with snacks and activities for the road is always appreciated.

Jet lag is another drag that causes stress on vacations. Not necessarily so! There are some tried-and-true methods for combatting jet lag. We go into them in depth in 3 Tips to Beat Jet Lag.

Even if it’s just a few days in California or 2 weeks in Thailand, the rest and relaxation will do wonders for you. A quality, annual vacation has been shown to decrease your risk of heart attack by as much as 21% (Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial for the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease, sponsored by the National Institute of Health’s Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). Happy Travels!