When you have divorced and enter into a new relationship, you will become part of a blended family if you have children. You need to think carefully about certain aspects of life when this happens because you now have what can be thought of as two families. Vacation planning can sometimes be a nightmare as you and your spouse both have children from other relationships that you want to bring.
Your first step when you are taking a vacation as a blended family is to look at the custody agreement for all children involved. You need to make note of anything in the order that might impact what you are doing for the vacation. This can be the scheduling, geographical restrictions or any other matter.
Picking the dates
In many cases, the vacation dates will trump the regular custody schedule. However, remember that the other parents might also be planning vacations. You need to look at any dates that have already been provided. Once you have tentative dates, consult the other parent for each child and find out if there are any conflicts. Remember that you must factor in travel time, so don't try to cut things too closely.
Choosing where to go
The destination you choose is up to you, but remember to factor in geographical limitations. Some child custody orders forbid international travel or out of state travel without court approval. Give yourself time to make that happen if it is a factor for any child. In some cases, notifying the other parent of the itinerary is all you have to do.
Setting the itinerary
Once you know the destination, you have to plan the activities. This is easy if the children are in the same age groups and have similar interests. It does get a bit tricky if that's not the case. For example, if you are traveling with a teen and a toddler, it might be hard to find things that allow both to have fun. Try to find a middle ground or offer alternating activities so everyone has fond memories.
Plan for communication
Children might want to talk to the other parent while they are on vacation. Make plans for this to happen through phone calls, video chats or other means. This can help the child to relay the memories they have and might make the other parent feel better about the trip.
It is always better to do your planning as early as possible so that you have to address potential challenges. Be sure that have everything in order before you walk out the door in Honolulu on your way to having fun experiences with the kids.