Summer is here. Kids are looking forward to three months free of homework and school. Parents might be planning fun trips to spend time with their children.

Everyone looks forward to summer being the season of low stress. However, summer may not relieve all of the stress for divorced parents. The details in a custody arrangement can make summer vacations challenging, but here are some vacation planning tips to help families navigate this summer.

1. Include a vacation plan in the parenting plan

Determining how to schedule and organize vacations in the parenting plan can be extremely helpful. Of course, it is not possible to plan for specific future vacations. However, the parenting plan can provide a valuable guideline to help parents. For example, parents can establish:

  • What activities their children can participate in on vacation
  • Whether it is alright for long vacations to overlap with the other parent’s parenting time
  • How the parents will even out parenting time if a vacation does overlap

Many families travel for holidays as well. So, it could be beneficial to determine how parents will approach holidays in the future.

2. Plan far in advance

Even if parents develop a strategy for future vacations in the parenting plan, it is still critical to plan for the actual vacation. Planning ahead can help parents avoid scheduling conflicts and disputes with the other parent.

3. Communicate with each other

There are two critical aspects of communication parents should arrange before and during a vacation:

  • Parent-to-parent communication: Provide the other parent with an itinerary of the vacation, including dates, hotel reservations and activities. It is also crucial to keep the other parent updated on information about the vacation as well as any changes. Is there a flight delay? Let the other parent know. Even if it seems tedious, it is usually better to keep the other parent informed.
  • Parent-child communication: Most children nowadays have cellphones. And if they do, they might be able to communicate with the other parent easily on their own. However, it may be helpful to schedule some downtime for the child to speak with their other parent, especially if the vacation overlaps with the other parent’s parenting time.

Summertime and vacations are supposed to allow people to kick their feet up and relax. And preparing in advance for family vacations post-divorce can allow families to do just that.