Check the calendar and you’ll see it’s almost time to pack your bags and hit the road for your next family vacation. You’ve got your passport, your luggage and your family ready to explore some new places with old friends by your side. And yet, you’re still worried about making it a good one.
Planning a family vacation can be stressful and sometimes overwhelming. From figuring out what kind of vacation to take, where to go, and how to make the most of your time away, there’s a lot to think about.
But, with a bit of research and a nudge from friends and family, you can make your family vacation a memorable and fun experience that everyone will cherish. Luckily, you don’t have to do it all on your own. With the right knowledge, planning family vacations can be stress-free and even a little bit fun!
It’s a good thing then that you’ve got plenty of tips lined up to help make your next trip an unforgettable one.
Here are 17 things to help make your family vacation fun.
1. Make a plan before you leave
Before you leave, sit down with your family and determine the vacation’s purpose. Is this vacation to relax, spend time together, or both? If the purpose is to relax, try to avoid too many activities that will require a lot of energy. If the purpose is to spend time together, try to keep the activities light and simple so that everyone can participate. Once you know the vacation’s purpose, you can start devising a plan to achieve it.
2. Know where you’re going before you get there
Before you go on vacation, research the places you want to go. Writing down your favourite locations and the reasons you love them can help you decide which places to visit and the order in which you want to visit them. This will also help you stay motivated during your trip so that you don’t get bored and frustrated.
3. Pick a destination that everyone will enjoy
You may think that everyone in your family will love every place you pick to go to, but you won’t know for sure until you go. Your destination doesn’t have to be the most popular or fancy destination; it just has to be one that your family will enjoy.
4. Have an itinerary
In order to make the most of your time away, it’s helpful to have an itinerary. This could include activities you plan on doing while you’re away or places you want to visit on your trip. Your itinerary will help you make the most of your time by giving you a plan to follow. It will also help prevent you from doing the same thing every day while you’re away. Also, having an itinerary will help you avoid common vacation mishaps such as not knowing where you’re going or not packing enough clothes.
5. Pack light, but bring what you need
Vacations are meant to be relaxing and fun, but they’re also an opportunity to unplug. If you have to work or do schoolwork on your trip, that’s OK, but try your best to keep electronics away from your vacation reading and activities so that you can fully enjoy your time away. Try to bring only the things you’ll need for your trip. This will keep your bags from being too heavy and cumbersome, and it will also make packing easier and less stressful.
6. Don’t leave home without your family logbook
Before you head out the door, make sure you’ve entered all your important information, including dates, activities, and information about allergies, dietary restrictions, and medications. You’ll also want to take your family logbook with you on your trip so you can log your activities and make sure everyone gets back home safe and sound when the trip is over!
You can also use a family vacation logbook to keep track of your activities and add a bit of fun to your trip. Parents can log things like favourite restaurants, activities the kids liked, and activities the parents liked. And the kids can log things like favourite toys in the hotel, favourite foods, and their favourite activities.
7. Arrive early to beat the crowds
Especially with popular tourist destinations, like Disney, crowds are inevitable. But, if you arrive early, you can avoid the worst of it! While the parks may be packed on the day you arrive, chances are they’ll be less crowded by the time you leave. You’ll have a chance to explore the park or head straight to the rides you came for without waiting in line. Plus you can spend the day exploring without worrying about getting back to your hotel at a reasonable hour!
8. Find local attractions
A family vacation isn’t complete without checking out the local attractions! Whether you’re into museums, zoos, or beaches, there’s sure to be a local attraction that piques your interest. You can even use these attractions to help you plan your family vacation itinerary. Find out what’s nearby that you can check out and add it to your itinerary. Or you can use it as an activity for the day so everyone gets a chance to check something out and experience something new.
9. Explore by foot
If you have kids, going to a beach or lake is typically a must. You don’t have to be an explorer to walk on a beach. You can even walk on a beach as a family! When you walk, you’re reducing your carbon footprint, getting some physical activity and opening your mind to new possibilities.
10. Take lots of photos
Whether it’s at the beach, out for ice cream, at your kids’ sporting event, or exploring your city, there are so many great photo moments with your family. Make sure you take lots of photos so you don’t forget any of them! You can also use a family photo app, like Down to Earth’s Photo Calendar to help you keep track of them all and make sure you don’t miss a single moment.
11. Plan a relaxing day together
Choose a day for yourself and your family to relax and unwind. Whether that’s by spending the day at the spa or just doing nothing, this day is for you and your family. This way, when the big crowds hit and you feel the pressure to do all the things, you can relax, choose something enjoyable, and enjoy your time together as a family.
12. Make sure your electronics are fully charged
Electronics are allowed on flights, but they must be in their own section. If you forget yours or someone else’s in the wrong section, it could be confiscated. Pack your electronics so that they’re fully charged so that you don’t forget them. This will also help you avoid the danger of someone’s phone shorting out and causing a fire.
13. Don’t forget sunscreen and insect repellent
While vacations are meant to be relaxing, they’re also a great opportunity to spend time outdoors. Pack sunscreen and a bottle of water repellent. This will help you avoid burns and keep your skin protected from the sun.
14. Avoid the hustle and bustle
We all want to get away, but sometimes we forget that avoiding the hustle and bustle is key to having a great vacation. When you’re trying to avoid the normal chaos that comes with travel, you need to be smart about how you plan your trip. Don’t try to do it all yourself. You’re probably already overwhelmed by work and other responsibilities and don’t want to add travel to the list. Instead of trying to plan, research and make all the arrangements yourself, hire a travel agent or concierge who can help you plan a trip that’s both budget-friendly and hassle-free.
15. Make some new memories
Memories aren’t made out of things you did; they’re made out of experiences you have. Therefore, the most important thing on your vacation is to make some new memories. In order to make some new memories, you don’t have to go out of your way to do so. It’s more important that you enjoy your vacation and make it a memorable experience than it is that you do something unexpected and out of the ordinary.
16. Go off the beaten path
Some people like to go to the same destinations year after year, but that doesn’t mean you have to. Do you have a favourite place you like to visit, but no one else in your family has been there? Or maybe you’ve always wanted to visit a different part of the world but have never been able to afford time off work before now. When you go off the beaten path, you open yourself up to new experiences and memories you may not have had before. You may even discover new places you like and want to visit on your own!
17. Stay safe and healthy
Vacations are supposed to be fun, but it’s important to keep in mind that this is a time to relax. This means that you need to not only avoid stress but also maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. This will help avoid any unwanted stress that may come from worrying about your vacation and your family’s safety.
Make your trip worth it
While it’s essential to have an amazing time on vacation, it’s also important to remember to make it worth your family’s time. When planning your trip, it’s important to choose a destination that is both fun and exciting.
You have to plan everything, and some of it gets lost in the shuffle. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to enjoy the trip. Whether it be a beach vacation, a trip to a theme park, or a road trip, you’ll enjoy your trip much more if you approach it with these tips in mind.