I have found the best way to stay stressed on a family vacation or outing - treat it like a job or duty and think it is all up to you to make it good for everyone. Take all complaints to heart and try to fix them immediately.
Remember in order to make it nice and stressful, have an inflexible check list of things to do. Hurry to see all the sights (or relatives) that you can, and get through as many as possible each day with a big fake smile on your face and wonder why no one is appreciating all the work you did to make it happen. Constantly take pictures and video. Buy memorabilia you have to carry around with the camera, snacks, jackets, hats, sunglasses and credit cards. Buy and eat a lot of overpriced junk food while exhausted and grouchy from long lines and crowds just so you can get everyone to stop complaining for a minute.
How has this become our idea of vacation time? Why are we doing it? Where happened to cultivating your passion, learning new things, exploring new places and trying new activities?
When a long family vacation comes around, we set ourselves up for stress and disappointment. If you feel desperate and in a hurry to squeeze the vacation for every last drop of fun, and expect the vacation to make up for all the hard days you've had, you are bound to find ways it isn't doing that. You will start to focus on what isn't working, rather than what is.
You can break this pattern. Go do something you enjoy with your loved ones, and also do something they enjoy. Spend time with each other, walk, talk, play, sit around and take in the sights, and have spontaneous adventures. The way that you do things is just as important as what you do. Ask everyone to pitch in when packing, cleaning up and doing chores on vacation. Play music, dance and be silly while you do the chores together.
Vacation Stress Prevention Tip: Don't wait until vacation and try to cram in doing things you enjoy. Every day take a vacation or outing from your daily routine for at least 15 minutes. Do something you love. Be with someone you love. Sit in your hammock, soak your feet, get creative, feed your soul. Simplify. Create the vacation you want to have, at least a little bit, each day.