Ah, the family vacation! Whether you’re heading to some exotic destination or taking a cross-country road trip, nothing compares to the joy of enjoying quality time with your loved ones. That being said, it can be easier said than done when it comes to making sure everyone enjoys themselves on vacation.
That doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel, though.
We are here to share our top tips for planning a family getaway that will be as enjoyable and stress-free as possible.
So, grab those suitcases, and don’t let the fear of something going wrong to keep you from planning this quality fam-time.
Here are our best pieces of advice on how to have the perfect family vacation!
Pick a Destination Suitable for All Ages:
Mommy and Daddy might like to hit the slopes of a ski resort, but your five-year-old won’t be too pleased. To ensure everyone has fun, select a destination that is suitable for all ages. Theme parks, mountain trips, and vibrant towns are usually ideal. They offer plenty of diverse activities to ensure everyone has a great time. If you’re looking for options closer to home (without compromising on the fun), Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, effortlessly checks all the boxes. From Dollywood to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, there is no shortage of attractions for all ages. Check out these Kid-Friendly Hikes in Northern California! They are budget friendly hikes that can be super fun!
Choose Kid-Friendly Accommodations:
If you’ve traveled with kids before, you know how difficult it can be to keep them entertained. They get cranky when bored, and the rest of the story is history. To avoid the dreaded meltdown, look for kid-friendly accommodations that have plenty of activities and amenities designed with children in mind.
Envision a hotel in Pigeon Forge Tennessee (if you like our vacation destination idea) that offers pumpkin painting and ornament decorating in the fall or an outdoor pool and movie nights in the summer. Make sure you see some reviews and book early once you’ve landed on your dream hotel site.
Don’t Burn a Hole in the Wallet:
The fun will soon fly away if you break the bank. To keep your wallet happy, prioritize your budget before booking anything. Research different lodging and transportation options to find the most cost-effective solutions. Unplanned, last-minute expenses can quickly add up and cause a financial burden for your family. To avoid surprises, create a budget and stick to it while planning your vacation. You can also use websites to book cheaper flights, rental cars, and hotels in advance. And when it comes to keeping track of your spending, apps like Mint and YNAB will come in handy.
When traveling with kids, you can’t have strict schedules. Things don’t always go according to plan. So, the more flexible you are, the better. Maybe your plans changed due to bad weather or an unexpected detour, or the kids want to sleep for a few extra hours. The point is – don’t get too hung up on sticking to your original itinerary.
Give yourself the freedom to make changes as needed, and don’t forget to relax and enjoy the ride. It’s also wise to have a plan B in case something unexpected happens. What happens if it rains on the day you plan to hike? Be prepared with different activities you can do indoors.
Don’t Carry Too Much Weight:
Honestly, it doesn’t matter how strong you are. You can only carry so many bags. Pack light and bring only the essentials when packing for a family vacation. It’s also a good idea to leave room in your luggage for souvenirs, such as books and t-shirts. Keep it simple by packing only the basics – clothes, toiletries, sunscreen, and anything else you deem necessary.
And if your kids are old enough to understand, let them take responsibility for their belongings. It’ll also make them feel important and involved in the planning process.
If you’re concerned about carrying your activity gear, don’t be. Most destinations have rental shops that stock everything you need, from bikes to kayaks.
Try New Activities Together:
Don’t let boring eat away your fun. Keep the momentum going with new activities that you can do as a family. Whether rock climbing, fishing, or exploring local trails, it’s always nice to try something new. It’ll help create lasting memories and bring you closer together as a family. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll discover a new favorite pastime.
If you have teens, you may want to look for activities that offer a sense of independence. They’ll feel empowered and encouraged to explore new territories with their friends. Let them pick! Sometimes autonomy brings the cutest smiles!
Choose the Right Time to Travel:
The days when all you had to was inform your boss of your vacation have long gone. Now, you have to consider school holidays, test dates, flights, hotel prices, and weather to plan the best family vacation.
For example, if you’re traveling overseas in the summer, look for the cheapest flights during the off-season. The same goes for lodging – try to find hotels and resorts that offer discounts or family packages.
For parents of school-going children, the best time to travel is usually on weekends. That way, you can avoid taking your kids out of school for a long trip and enjoy all the fun.
Allow Yourself Some “Me” Time:
Guilt trips are “regulars” nowadays. As a parent, you may feel like you have to always be available for your kids. But guess what? It’s ok to take a little break for yourself. No one is super-human, and we all need time to recharge and relax. You’re on vacation too. Plus, when has any vacation ended nicely when mom (or dad) was cranky?
Make sure to add some “me” time to your itinerary. Go for a massage, take a yoga class, or book a private session in the spa. Doing something special for yourself is also a way to show your kids that it’s ok to be yourself and take a break from time to time.
We’re sure your eager young travelers can’t wait to explore more than their hometown. But remember – planning a family vacation takes careful consideration and research. So, take your time!
Thankfully, with plenty of resources online, you can find everything you need to make your family’s outing unforgettable.
Just make sure you enjoy the company of your family and open your mind to new experiences!