Growing up, I always wanted to travel the world to see different cultures and different countries. I even wanted to become a travel agent in my teens, to help others plan unforgettable getaways with their kids. Back then the world seemed small to me. To be frank, it still does especially with modern technology bringing us glimpses and ideas for family vacations, the options for family vacations are endless now.
Planning family vacations can be stressful and time consuming not knowing where to start whether you go away frequently or every so often.
Here is my quick guide to making family vacations unforgettable without all the tears and hair-pulling before you get there.
TYPE OF VACATION
Do you skiing or beaches? Perhaps adventurous or relaxing? This is the first thing you should pin-point so it makes picking the perfect destination in the next step simple. You wouldn’t visit the French Alps in February if you wanted a warm, relaxing holiday. Nor would you visit the Bahamas in summer for a ski trip.
Some people are quick to pick a destination they have been recommended or a place they have always want to go. Have a bucket list for your family is always a fun activity to do together and handy to work your way through as the kids go from babies to teens. Trust me, your family holidays will evolve into different types of vacations as your family evolves.
If you can’t choose between a few destinations, make a list of your top three and use the following guidelines to weigh the pros and cons for each location. This should take only a few minutes, see where you can get the best price, for the climate you seek, and the activities you need to entertain those kiddies and you’re sure to be able to determine the best destination for your next family vacation.
Also don’t feel you have to go to some extravagant place to call it a family vacation, camping at a local lake, car journey to a theme park in the next city, renting a cabin in the woods, staying over at a ski resort nearby.
Have a family vacation jar, year-round. We put all our change and small bills into a jar at home, all year, and use it for the next year’s holiday spending. This is usually used on water parks, theme parks, taxis on vacation, dinners out, all the extra bits that help make a vacation.
It can be an all-inclusive, five-star hotel or a tight budget for a quick glamping trip just to recharge your batteries, either way, it’s ALWAYS better to have a budget. Why waste money even if you have it, on vacations you can get cheaper.
Once you set a target price, ask on Facebook or google the top three-vacation package sites that go to the destination you want and see if they will give you a more competitive price. We have found sometimes package vacations can be more expensive than booking it all separate yourselves but they give you planned out activities ideas, transportation ideas and you can easily copy their itinerary even if your booking yourself.
This is so important. I know so many families that book a destination having seen it online, thinking, “oh I want to take the kids there, looks amazing for them and relaxing for me”. Come to find, it’s hurricane season or flood season and they are miserably stuck inside the hotel for their vacation. Sounds simple but honestly, check the weather for the time you are visiting. Check what it usually is overall each year and if it’s not too far in advance like a last-minute getaway, check the extended forecast. Is there a storm due in or have they had unnatural rainfall this season. It can break a vacation and your sanity when you have cooped up kids.
Family vacations need activities. Kids need activities as much as the parents do. Doesn’t mean it can’t be relaxing. Whilst you are on vacation and routines have truly gone out the window, you might want vacations that offer kids clubs so you and your partner can have time to yourself, even if it’s only an hour a day.
You also don’t want the kids getting bored. The pool is amazing to swim in but after watching them like a hawk for six hours of swimming so they don’t go under, get knocked over, or slip…you all need a break from the pool and sunshine. Or even for skiing vacations, it takes a lot out of kids so a morning of skiing, you might prefer an afternoon of kids clubs, discos, arcades, indoor play areas.
We like hotels that offer a variety of shows, kids clubs, discos, entertainment for the whole family and for us individually. Our kids absolutely love going to kids clubs. We also like picking hotels that have fun family restaurants or interactive eating like the kids making their own pizzas.
Sometimes it makes a family vacation even more fun and cheaper if you find a different way to travel. We always seem to fly everywhere when we first had kids but now they are older they love trains and car journeys. We plan pit stops along the way make traveling part of the vacation when we can.
To make a quick and easy list to plan your next family vacation that will be one to remember and not feel like you need a holiday from your holiday because we have all been there, use this checklist:
- TYPE OF VACATION
- ACTIVITIES & AMENITIES NEEDED
Most importantly make it stress-free and fun! Take loads of photos and videos or leave that phone/camera at home. Those memories will be in you and your children’s minds forever so don’t fret about that perfect Instagram image. There might not be an Instagram in five years.