A family vacation is an excellent opportunity to bond with your children and get away to do some exploring and learning together. However, traveling with children can be a little stressful, especially if you have younger children. But with the right approach and a little creative thinking you can plan and pull off an excellent vacation to remember for years.
Do something unconventional
While everyone enjoys a relaxing beach vacation, consider changing things up this year to boost excitement. For example, many ski resorts are still open in the early summer, and these destinations often have a healthy variety of outdoor activities to enjoy — think swimming, ziplining, hiking. For families that live in warmer, more humid climates, it might be appealing to head up to a northeast city like Bar Harbor, Maine, which offers access to Acadia National park, as well as a variety of dining and outdoor-friendly activities. Or you could always plan a staycation with the goal to try a new park, museum and activity every day in your hometown. You’ll still get a new experience and save money at the same time.
Choose a destination together
Getting your kids involved in the decision-making process is more likely to guarantee a successful vacation. When everyone feels like they have a say, there’s a lot more room for enjoyment and a feeling of camaraderie. The New York Times recommends choosing your destination based on everyone’s interests, which will help you narrow down your desires and could help keep everyone happy.
Plan your finances
If you’re planning a big trip with your family, you’ll need to plan carefully. Some families team up with financial planners who can help them knock out their bucket list items. Other people crunch the numbers themselves and find deals and other options to make their dreams a reality. Planning out a budget will help you determine where your money goes, and you can see where you have wiggle room for unpredictable expenses. This can reduce a serious amount of stress.
If a road trip is your plan, you obviously want to make sure your car is in tip top shape before hitting the road — the last thing you want is to break down in the middle of nowhere with a grumpy toddler. Have your fluids checked and your oil changed, prep an emergency kit, and consider adding things like jumper cables and an OBD II Scanner. The latter can be a lifesaver in helping to quickly diagnose what’s wrong with your car if you see a check engine light or there’s another sort of malfunction. Plus these scanners can explain exactly what’s going on so you know how to fix it yourself, possibly avoiding a pricey mechanic.
Stay healthy and happy
Start off your trip with enough rest. It’s no fun being exhausted at the beginning of your adventure. When traveling by car, pack car-friendly meals to keep the whole family healthy and happy. Some healthy meals include the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or hummus with crackers or vegetables. You can also go for protein boxes and wrap sandwiches to reduce potential messes. Consider also choosing a hotel or residence with a kitchen so you can prepare your own food. You’ll be able to save money and stay healthy.
Plan for the unexpected
An article in the Huffington Post recommends that you plan for your trip to be the worst trip ever, so then you can still have a good time even when things go wrong. While this method might be too extreme or negative for some people, there is some wisdom in planning for the unexpected. It’s also worthwhile to extend this line of thought to your home while you’re away. Getting a call in the middle of the night that someone has broken into your home can throw you into full-on panic mode. Make sure to lock all windows and doors, alert neighbors to your absence, hold your mail and set your security system. If you don’t have a security system in place, this might be the perfect time to have one installed
Family vacations are priceless, and they help make lasting, enjoyable memories. Take the time to truly think through your vacation plans and preparations to ensure everyone has a good time and comes home with plenty to talk about.
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