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Traveling with your own family can be tricky — but your in-laws? That's another story. Whether for an annual family reunion or aboard a Caribbean cruise, family vacations can be an intimidating and unfamiliar venture for newlyweds. "It's normal to wonder and worry about what to expect," says psychologist Lauren Napolitano. But these six tips will get you ready for the road and set your mind at ease.
1. When your mother-in-law acts like she's the newest cast member of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, pretend she is. "Try to think of your in-laws as TV characters," suggests Napolitano. "When your father-in-law complains about how his steak was over-cooked, picture him as a food critic on Iron Chef — anything you can do to bring humor into the situation."
2. Have a chat with your husband about scheduling couples-only time, whether that's a walk on the beach or a dinner for two. "Skip the after-dinner coffee and retire to your room early for some alone time," Napolitano says. "It's important to reconnect as a couple when you're traveling with a larger group."
3. "Think your in-laws are nuts? Remember that it would be just as difficult for someone to vacation with your family," Napolitano cautions. "Every family is eccentric." If you can remember the quirky things your own parents and siblings do, you might have more patience for your in-laws' more aggravating traits.
4. Make yourself useful and keep busy. "Appoint yourself as the unofficial trip photographer," suggests Napolitano. "Taking a million pictures allows you to feel useful — and hide behind your camera when you want to wander off for a few minutes by yourself."
5. Take time for just you, too. "Your husband probably enjoys spending endless time with his family," Napolitano says. "You, on the other hand, might need a little more time to regroup. So wake up a half hour early and go for a run. Let your husband play cards with his siblings while you read a book in the hotel room. You don't need to force yourself into this family." After all, you have a lifetime to make memories with your new family!
6. Before you embark on your family adventure, "educate yourself about the culture, the food, the traditions" of your destination, says Napolitano. "The more you know about the destination, the better able you'll be to find something that you will all enjoy."
What other traveling tips do you have? Share them with us on Twitter @Brides!