Taking a family trip is exciting! But planning the trip can be a daunting project—especially if you have young children! There’s a lot to consider. Trying to plan everything from the right destination and family-friendly hotels to nap schedules, tours, mealtimes, snacks, and more can quickly turn into a logistical nightmare!
If you’d love to go on a family vacation this summer, but you’re wondering if will be worth the prep time, let us assure you that it certainly is. While it may require a bit more planning, diligence, and, of course, plenty of patience—taking a family trip is so exciting and meaningful. Traveling as a family and growing together while experiencing new things, places, and activities will create memories that you’ll look back on for years to come.
To help you to get the most out of your trip, here’s a look at a few tips that will help you prepare and set sail with confidence!
1. Research Your Destination
Regardless of your destination, whether it’s two hours or two days away, traveling can be stressful. This goes for the grownups—and the younger ones, too! Researching your destination ahead of time will help you ensure that the place you will be staying has the right accommodations for you and your family. What will the weather be like? Are there kid-friendly restaurants nearby? Should you find a spot that has a kitchen, or will you eat most of your meals out? Will you need a car while you’re there? By looking ahead, you can help prepare yourself and your family for the excitement that lies ahead!
2. Keep a Little Bit of Structure
Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean that all structure should go out the window. In fact, vacations that involve some structure can help keep everyone sane, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar environment. Looking to bring some familiarity along in the form of a favorite toy or some favorite snacks can help younger ones to adapt to the idea of being in an unfamiliar area. While it will be later than usual, keeping an ideal time for bed in mind can also help keep everyone happy. Once you’re on the road, talking about your plans the night before can help slightly older children feel more confident and happy about their adventures—and will keep you on track as well.
3. Involve the Whole Family
While the level of involvement will vary depending on the age of your crew, try to involve your family members in the planning process! Once you have a destination chosen, consider checking out some books on the area or doing research online as a family on what you can expect once you’re there. For the younger ones, going out for a meal or cooking a dish that features traditional cuisine, looking at videos or images of the local area, or even playing music from the local region can help to get them into the spirit. You’ll also want to get your family involved in choosing activities to help the process to go more smoothly—and to give them something to look forward to!
4. Prepare Yourself
While a vacation is exciting, there’s usually a certain level of pre-trip panic that accompanies it. Making sure that all of the preliminary steps are taken care of ahead of time and thinking through everything that everyone will need can be a huge responsibility weighing on your shoulders! Here are top packing tips:
- Focus on the essentials. The most important items—your passports/visas, ID, boarding passes, wallet, and keys—are the most important. All other items can either be purchased once you arrive or won’t present too many problems if they’re left behind.
- Don’t pack too early. Keep in mind that many of the items that you’ll be bringing will likely be things that you use every day anyway. As such, take care that you don’t pack too early, or you’ll just end up having to repack!
- Make a list. Having a list will help to keep you from forgetting those small yet useful items! Here’s a handy packing checklist that you can use to stay organized. Download it for free today!
5. Sit Back, Relax, and Enjoy!
Finally, it’s important to remember that a vacation should be a fun and relaxing time. While relaxing with your family might look differently than relaxing when you travel with friends, you can still find some time to enjoy yourself—even if that simply means letting go of the high expectations you have for a vacation and learning to embrace the potential chaos! After all, the memories you make will far outweigh any forgotten items or mishaps that may arise—and being able to reminisce, laugh, and look back on your adventures with your loved ones is something that truly is priceless.