Planning Your Ultimate Family Vacation

Planning a family vacation is difficult to manage with budgeting and making necessary preparations. Here are the top tips and important things to consider when planning the vacation of a lifetime.

With the pandemic canceling our travel plans for the past couple of years, many of us haven’t been able to take that long, dream vacation. We may have even forgotten what it takes to plan a successful, stress-free vacation. Luckily, I have the best tips and checklist for how to plan the ultimate family vacation.

Read on to learn how to make your vacation planning a breeze!

How to Plan The Ultimate Family Vacation

Before Planning Your Vacation Define Success And Select A Destination

The first thing you want to do when planning any vacation is to pick a destination. Your vacation destination largely determines what type of activities your family will be doing.

It is essential to ask yourself questions about what you picture when you think of your dream vacation.

Are you sitting on a tropical beach? Exploring ancient cities? Enjoying a beautiful view from your skyscraper? These types of questions will help you decide where you should go for your vacation. 

For example, a successful vacation is one I don’t need a break to recover from when I get back home. The type of vacation I consider a dream is far from the one my outdoorsy kids and husband want. So, keep that in mind!

You may also want to consider what destination would be more fun for your children. For example, if you have small children, they may not care about a nice view and fine dining. A great option would be a trip with outdoor activities and include places like a national park, water park, or even a Walt Disney World resort. 

The destination is also a huge deal for your budget, so you can get good deals. Many young families have to save for years before taking a long family vacation.

If you choose a cheaper destination, your money can go much further. For example, you will have much more money to spend on a vacation to Mexico than in Japan. 

Book Tickets In Advance When Planning Your Vacation

Booking your tickets in advance is a game-changer for planning a family vacation. You will get the best deals for your plane tickets, hotel bookings, car rental, and any tickets for tours and activities if you book them last minute.

Doing things in advance allows you to decide if you’ll save for the trip overtime or take the payment plan from your credit card for your most significant travel expenses.

Plane tickets, hotel bookings, car rental, and tickets for tours and activities are usually less expensive if you book them ahead of time.

Not only are the tickets cheaper if you book them in advance, but you will also have a set date to plan around. Always put all of your vacation plans into your family calendar system early. That way, you know exactly what responsibilities you and your family members will need to rearrange. You will also feel more at peace by knowing your plans early on.

When Planning Your Vacations Make Time To Plan Your Excursions 

Once you know your destination, it’s time to research the hot spots on enjoying unique experiences, be it enjoying the local culture or going on outdoor adventures.

While rental cars can sound convenient, especially if you have younger children, they can become a nuisance if you have to find (and pay for) parking. So, research how to use public transportation to get to those interesting spots you want to visit. In any case, plan to bring your car seat for the little ones or budget to rent them.

If you are doing multigenerational travel, consider times of the trip when you can keep a slower pace, have a backup plan for when the littles or the elders are too tired and want to stay back at the hotel room, and maybe plant to take turns in activities for the young kids so everyone can have a fun time – and perhaps you and hubby can get some quality time as well. Win-win!

Traveling can get expensive if you aren’t proactive about budgeting. For families like mine, with two kids in college, being selective about what we do is a genuine part of traveling. 

Before traveling, you should always create a daily budget for how much you plan to spend in the home management calendar each day. 

If you plan to spend a little less on one day and make it a beach day, you may have more money for a more expensive excursion the next day. The best way to prevent you from accidentally spending more than you had planned is to budget for each tour.

Is a good idea to consider what time of year you’ll travel as popular choices can become very crowded. The summer months in some parts of the planet can be unbearable. You want everyone to have a great time.

Before Leaving On A Vacation Make Plans for Pets and Plants

But before you go off with your entire family on your next family vacation, there are essential things that might be staying back at home.

While you need to plan what to do on your vacation, it is also just as important to make plans for your responsibilities at home! If you have pets such as a cat, dog, or even a fish, you will need to arrange who will take care of them while you are away. 

You can always drop your pets off at a pet hotel; however, a pet hotel can get expensive depending on how long you will be away. Also, consider asking your neighbors to pet sit or having your extended family take care of them. 

Remember, any living thing that depends on you at home will not last very long while you are away. That includes plants! Make sure to have someone you trust regularly check in on and water your plants. 

To help make it easy for people helping you take care of your pets and plants, you can make them a calendar with when they need to complete their responsibilities. Additionally, it will be easier for them to keep track of what they need to do with detailed instructions. 

When Planning Your Vacation It’s Important To Find the Best Time to Go 

If you are a regular here on the blog, you know there’s no such thing as “too much planning.”

Your family calendar is the easiest way to find the best time to go on your vacation. You will quickly determine when everyone has free time to take time off work is since your schedule will be well organized. 

Schools also tend to have the dates for breaks such as spring break, winter break, and summer break pre-planned and posted on their websites.

Using your family calendar, you can easily keep track of all school vacations. That way, it will be easy to consult it and see when it will be the best time for every member of the family to take a vacation.

For example, since our twins are attending two different colleges and our younger still in high school, we now have different school breaks. So it takes a little bit of planning for our whole family to enjoy a family trip together now.

When selecting dates for your family vacation, you should also use your family calendar to avoid high seasons. High seasons are when people typically travel, so the prices of everything, from plane tickets to food and hotels, will be most likely higher.

Scheduling vacations out of those high times also makes it easier for everyone to have a good time as you’ll find better spots, hotels, and no crowds!

If you are planning a vacation to a faraway destination, consider not only the travel time but also how much stuff you’ll bring and how long you’ll need to recover from the jet lag. While adults and teens can endure a 10+ hours time difference, you don’t want to have a sleeping or grumpy toddler around to carry around.

Plan Your Travel Logistics For Your Family Vacation

Before leaving for vacation, you should gather all necessary documents for travel, including vaccinations and travel insurance. This can include passports, ID cards, and visas.

I learned the hard way to never leave my home to travel abroad without my children’s birth certificate. I can tell that story later!

Ensure the expiration date on all your family members’ passports. Passports for young children tend to expire much quicker than adult passports. So, check to see if they need a passport renewal. Passport renewals can sometimes be a long process, so it is crucial to gather your important documents early.

If you have a large family and this is your first family vacation abroad, consider the costs of passports and visas on your travel budget.

Make sure to always check the visa requirements for your destination with official channels like consulates since you may have to apply a few months in advance. I learned not to rely on airlines’ or travel agencies’ websites.

Once you find out the details about applying for a visa, you may also want to keep track of their due dates in your family calendar.

Visas can sometimes be complicated to manage, and you may need multiple documents to apply. Hence, it is best to write down precisely what you need.

If you are traveling to another country, it is also best to convert your currency before you travel. Check your local bank will to see if they’ll give you the best exchange rate and the lowest fees as airport exchange kiosks tend to charge you more to convert your money.

Wrapping Up

We have to follow a planning process if we want to create our best vacations. Still, it’s all worth it! Considering the time, money, and emotional investment a family vacation is it makes sense to take these steps.

If you consider your family’s needs, you’ll enjoy beautiful trips and create lovely memories with your loved ones. But, my most important advice is to have fun!

How To Plan Your Best Family Vacation
How To Plan Your Best Family Vacation

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