top of page
  • Jonathan Edgeley

Planning a family holiday when you have ADHD

Planning a family holiday can be stressful and time-consuming, even for neurotypical individuals. However, for those of us with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), the process can be especially challenging. Being imminently due to go on holiday with my family I thought I would share my personal experience of planning a family holiday abroad while managing my ADHD symptoms, and provide some tips and strategies for others who may be facing similar challenges.

Step 1: Research and Preparation

The first step in planning any holiday is research and preparation. However, for individuals with ADHD, this can be particularly challenging. I find that I often struggle with focusing on a single task for an extended period and can easily become overwhelmed by the amount of information available, especially when researching excursions where children are part of the equation.

To overcome these challenges, I find it helpful to break the research process down into smaller, more manageable tasks. For example, I might set aside 30 minutes each day to research different aspects of the trip, such as flights, accommodations, and local attractions. By breaking the process down into smaller tasks, I am better able to focus and stay on track.

Step 2: Organisation and Planning

Once I have gathered all the necessary information, the next step is to organise and plan the trip. This can include creating a budget, booking flights and/or accommodations, and planning an itinerary for the trip.

To stay structured during this process, I find it helpful to use a planner or calendar to keep track of important dates and deadlines. I also use colour coding and labelling to help me stay focused and avoid confusion.

Step 3: Managing Impulsivity

One of the biggest challenges I face when planning a holiday, or even business trip, is managing my impulsivity. I can easily become distracted by new ideas and possibilities and may end up changing my plans multiple times. This can be particularly challenging when organising a holiday, as it can lead to confusion and frustration for other family members, as well as make me lose sight of the original goals.

To manage my impulsivity, I find it helpful to set clear objectives and boundaries for the trip. For example, I might decide in advance which activities and attractions we want to visit and make sure we stick to those plans. I also find it helpful to involve other family members in the planning process, as this can help to provide a sense of accountability and reduce the likelihood of impulsive decisions. Being inclusive of other family members can help decide whether alternative solutions really would be better than the original activities or whether it would be better to settle with the original arrangement.

Step 4: Time Management

Another challenge that I face when planning a holiday is time management. I can easily lose track of time or become distracted by other tasks, which can lead to delays and missed deadlines. The last thing I want is to start a family holiday, only to find I’ve not booked the taxi to the airport early enough or we check-in too late at the airport. That certainly wouldn’t start us off on the right footing!

To overcome this challenge, I find it helpful to set clear deadlines for each task, and to break down larger tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. I also use timers and alarms to help me stay on track and avoid procrastination. Assigning responsibilities to other family members can also help alleviate stress and allow me to focus on a reduced number of tasks.

Step 5: Managing Stress and Anxiety

Finally, planning a family holiday can be a stressful and anxiety-provoking process, especially for those of us with ADHD. It is important to take steps to manage stress and anxiety, and to prioritise self-care during the planning process.

For me, this might involve taking breaks to engage in self-care activities such as exercise or mindfulness meditation. It might also involve seeking support from friends and family members or working with a therapist to develop coping strategies for managing stress and anxiety.

I hope this insight into my routine offers some assistance in planning future vacations. Family holidays can be a challenging and overwhelming process, especially for individuals with ADHD. However, with careful planning, organisation, and support, it’s possible to successfully plan and enjoy a holiday abroad. Breaking the planning process down into smaller, more manageable tasks, setting clear goals and boundaries, and prioritising self-care, individuals with ADHD can overcome the unique challenges of holiday planning and create positive, lasting memories with their loved ones.

If you struggle with normal, day-to-day chores or planning family events such as parties or holidays, Eleven Recovery may be able to help you.

Contact us on +44 7832 964126 or email us at


bottom of page