We plan for it all year long — those seven glorious days of summer vacation with the wife, kids, and extended family and friends. These are the days that we work so hard for all year long — even picking up second jobs or working overtime to save a few extra bucks to enjoy on our trip.

It should be one of the most memorable times of the year! We’re here to tell you how to make the most of it by avoiding these nine common summer vacation mistakes.

1. Go Too Cheap

So you’re booking your hotel or vacation house online. You search and search for one that has all the amenities and fits your price range. Then you find one that is well below your budget. What a bargain, right? Maybe, but in all likelihood, probably not. Remember the saying, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is?” Well, remind yourself of it right now. Before handing over your credit card do a little more digging. Is the location of the house accurate? Are there red flags that you need to look out for? Sure, we all want to save money on such an expensive endeavor, but this is one of those experiences in life where spending a little more to get something that you know is comfortable, will be money well spent.

2. Fail to Plan for Bad Weather

We all have visions of bright, sunny days while we’re on vacation. But the truth is, you’ll likely have some bad weather days. Make sure that you take enough games, movies, puzzles, and books for everyone in the family to enjoy when the weather turns blustery. 

3. Forget to Pack Board Games

Board games, card games, and puzzles are not just for bad weather. Make sure that you pack a bunch to have a family game night each night that can provide some fun quality time with everyone.

4. Waiting Until the Last Minute to Plan Activities 

Waiting until you arrive on vacation or even a few days prior to reserve seats on a helicopter tour or at a popular restaurant in the resort town is a sure way to set yourself up for failure. Once you decide on a location for your vacation, start investigating all the popular activities and attractions and make reservations as soon as possible. This will save you lots of anxiety.

5. Forgetting to Ask About Wi-Fi

It seems like an obvious answer, right? Of course the vacation house or condo has Wi-Fi? But why wait until you get there to realize that it doesn’t, or that the signal is not very strong. The last thing you want to do is be without Internet for seven days. Yikes!

6. Fail to Budget

No matter how much money you think you’ll need on vacation, budget for more — several hundred more. The family will want to go shopping for knickknacks and clothes. They’ll fall in love with some artwork that you simply have to have. You’ll want to try that expensive restaurant that everyone is raving about. You don’t want to be worrying over every penny you’ll be spending on vacation, so make sure that you give yourself some wiggle room.

7. Not Setting Ground Rules With Kids

You’re going to be in some new surroundings with your kids, especially if they’re young, and they need to know the lay of the land. Once you arrive, scope things out with the kids to determine where they can go and where they can’t. You should also remind them that even though you’re on vacation and things seem relaxed, certain rules still apply, like stranger danger and being prompt for meals.

8. Forget to Take Pictures

With all the packing, planning, and preparations, it can be difficult to remember to take out the camera while on your trip. You’ll let a few days pass and think, Oh, I can get pictures later. Resolve to start snapping photos and taking videos as soon as you arrive so that you can document the entire week and relive those priceless memories in the future.

9. Fail to Fully Appreciate the Surroundings

You’re on vacation. It make take a few hours or a day until you feel truly relaxed, but make sure that you remember to get up early one or two days to watch the sunrise, or stay up late watching for shooting starts. Take nature walks, linger on the beach past sunset, and enjoy the food and culture of wherever you are.