How To Plan a Family Vacation
When it comes to planning a family vacation, the best advice and, I think, the most important, is to involve the entire family in the planning process. No matter the ages of your children, each one brings valuable contributions to the table. Setting realistic goals and sticking to them is a key factor for successful planning.
Get Everyone Involved
Let your children know that this is their vacation too, and make your plans collectively to reflect that. Set time aside each day for family members to discuss their ideas. Reading books and watching movies about the places you’ll be visiting will help everyone get familiar with your vacation choice. It may also help the whole family to learn a new language if you’re traveling abroad.
Make a Budget
Give each child their own budget and their own money. Allow them to take charge of what they spend it on. In exchange for the allowance or money earned, ask the children to complete a task. Perhaps they can write in a journal to document the trip or take photos as a keepsake for when you get home. This makes each child accountable for their money. Set daily limits, but still allow them the freedom to choose what they spend the money on.
Discuss packing, both what to take and the limits of what they can take. If you will be carrying your own luggage, explain that each family member will be responsible for their own bags to and from each location. If you plan to travel around, changing hotels and towns, let them know what is expected as far as carting their bags. For example, in Europe, the streets are primarily made of cobblestone and it may be difficult to wheel luggage. In this case a backpack might be a better suggestion.
If you’re planning a tour, sometimes baggage handling is included. If this is the case, let the children know about the weight restrictions tour companies have. This is good advice as children tend to pack everything they own!
Once You Land
Plan events that are equally enjoyable for the entire family. Don’t go to museum after museum or gallery after gallery if it’s only interesting to you. Spread your educational and cultural activities out. Mix it up – do a kid-friendly outing instead of seeing another ancient monument.
Another good idea is to visit an Internet cafe to take a break from all the walking. Parents can people watch while the kids reconnect with friends back home. It’s a chance to regroup, relax, and take in the local flare at the same time. The kids will thank you for it once they’ve spoken to some friends!
The #1 Rule: Enjoy Yourselves
And last but not least, make sure you actually have fun planning your family vacation. Don’t make it a chore. Savor the family time, before, during and after the trip. Enjoy the process and you will have a fantastic time!
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