Family vacations can either produce some of your best memories or your worst. It all comes down to proper planning. As you get your whole family ready for some vacation fun this year, consider these expert tips on vacationing.
1. Plan Early
Gather the family and plan your vacation together. Listen to your kids’ input of where to go, but ultimately you should be the one to make the major decisions for the vacation. Just plan early and start saving accordingly.
2. Make it Age Appropriate
Consider the ages of your kids and ensure the vacation will be appropriate for them. Kids love Disneyland, but if they’re under the age of five it may not be the best option. They aren’t likely to remember it and they’ll get tired and cranky very quickly.
3. Book Flights Early
You’re most likely to get the best deals if you start looking for flights early. Rates tend to jump closer to the departure date, especially if your trip is planned for the summer.
4. Have Family Time
For young kids, staying the night somewhere other than home can be very unsettling, causing them to act out and have trouble sleeping. Take some time to familiarize your kids with their new surroundings and make them feel normal about it.
5. Discuss Your Budget
There’s nothing worse than listening to your kids beg for things you know you won’t be able to buy them. Before you head out on the trip, discuss your budget with the kids. Let them know exactly how much money you’ll have for each kid to buy a souvenir. Hopefully this foresight will reduce the amount of begging and crying.
6. Pack Your Carry-On
Pack your kids’ carry-on bags with plenty of snacks and activities to keep them busy. Though letting the iPad babysit your kids for hours at a time wouldn’t be your first choice, it does wonders for keeping them happy on a long airplane ride.
7. Explain the Airplane
If your young kids have never been on an airplane before, it can be scary for them. They might be afraid to board. Explain the airplane beforehand to help them understand what’s going on. If your older child is science minded, they may love learning some cool facts about how airplanes are made. Check out this information and do some additional research of your own
8. Go Somewhere New
As you get your family together to plan the best vacation yet, do away with your ideas for revisiting places you’ve been before. Make a list of new places you could go this year (within the budget) and take a vote.
9. Bring the Camera
Though your smartphone has a good camera, it’s not quite as good as a real camera. You’ll want high quality photos to remember this vacation by. You’ll only have so many vacations in your lifetime and bringing a real camera along will make for better documented memories.
10. Choose Your Hotel Carefully
Though a deluxe romantic suite is the best place for a weekend getaway, it’s not the best place to take your kids. Those hotels may be 5-star, but as far as youthful entertainment goes, it will be lacking. Look for high-rated hotels in safe areas with plenty of amenities for kids, like a pool and a playground.
11. Plan Transportation
Kids don’t really like to walk everywhere, even though they have plenty of energy. Walking around all day sightseeing will drain them, making them cranky and tired. Plan out transportation for your activities, even if it means renting a car, taking the bus, renting a stroller, or hailing the occasional taxi.
Plan some time on your vacation where the kids will be busy and you can relax. If this means lounging by the poolside while watching your kids play in the kiddie pool, so be it. Just make sure you have time to relieve stress and relax.
13. Listen to Your Kids
Your kids know what they like, and they’ll tell you if you listen. If you plan the vacation and activities without taking their needs and wants into consideration, they’ll let you know about it, and everybody will be unhappy.
14. Plan Your Days
After you’ve taken your kids’ suggestions into consideration, make a schedule of events for each day. You’ll want there to be enough activities to keep the whole family busy throughout the day. Just be flexible enough to allow for alterations in the plan if you or your kids need it.
15. Be Prepared
If there’s one rule to remember when it comes to family vacations, it’s expect the unexpected—and be prepared! Have a first aid kit and a backup plan ready just in case something doesn’t go as planned.
Ultimately, listening to your kids may be the key to planning a great vacation. By taking their thoughts, fears, and ideas into consideration, you’ll make this year’s vacation the best one yet.
Author: Amber Brubaker