Traveling with your family can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be quite challenging at times. From organizing the trip to managing expenses and dealing with different expectations, there are many things to consider when planning a family vacation. In this article, we will provide you with some of the best family travel tips to help you make the most out of your family vacation.
We will cover everything from organizing your trip to managing costs and setting expectations for your family. Whether you’re traveling with young children or teenagers, these tips will help you create wonderful memories while minimizing stress and maximizing fun. So, let’s get started!
Table of Contents
Begin the Planning Process for one of Those Memorable Family Trips
Step by Step Break Down of the Planning Process
Travel Ideas for your Next Family Vacation
Our Top 20 Family Travel Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
Family Travel Time?
Where to begin the planning process for one of these memorable family trips
The first step in planning a family trip is to involve everyone in the planning process. Start by discussing potential destinations and activities with your family members to get a sense of what everyone wants to do.
This will obviously differ from younger kids to teenagers, however it’s still important to include everyone in the planning process.
Once you have a general idea of where you want to go, create a budget for the trip and decide on a timeline. Research accommodations, transportation, and attractions in the area, and make sure to factor in the needs and interests of every family member. Finally, create an itinerary that outlines your travel plans and activities, and make sure to leave room for flexibility and relaxation.
We break down each section to help you step by step
Pick a Destination and Time Frame
When picking a destination for a family trip, it’s important to consider the interests and needs of everyone in the family. Start by discussing potential destinations with your family members and taking into account any preferences or requirements they may have. Think about what kind of activities and attractions the destination offers, and whether they are suitable for all ages and interests.
It’s also important to consider practical factors such as the cost, travel time, and safety of the destination. Finally, try to choose a destination that offers a balance of adventure and relaxation, and that will create lasting memories for the whole family.
Stick to a Budget
Creating and sticking to a budget is an important part of planning a family trip. To create a budget, start by identifying all of the expenses associated with your trip, such as transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. Research the cost of each item and add it to a spreadsheet or budgeting app. Make sure to factor in unexpected expenses and leave a buffer for emergencies.
Once you have a budget, it’s important to stick to it. To do this, consider using cash or a prepaid card for your trip expenses, which can help you avoid overspending. You can also look for ways to save money, such as by booking accommodations and activities in advance, taking advantage of discounts and deals, and cooking meals instead of eating out.
To stay on track, check your budget regularly throughout your trip and adjust it as needed. Encourage everyone in the family to stick to the budget and remind them of the importance of staying within the allotted spending limit. By creating and sticking to a budget, you can enjoy your family trip without worrying about overspending or financial stress.
Research Accommodations at the destination
When researching accommodations for your end travel destination, there are several factors to consider to ensure you find the best option for your family. Here are some tips to help you with your research:
2) Read reviews: Check online reviews from other travelers who have stayed in the same accommodations to get an idea of the pros and cons.
3) Consider location: Think about the location of the accommodation and its proximity to the attractions and activities you plan to do. Make sure it’s in a safe and convenient area.
4) Look for family-friendly amenities: Consider accommodations that offer family-friendly amenities, such as a pool, playground, or kitchenette.
5) Check for special deals and packages: Look for discounts or packages that include meals or activities to save money.
6) Contact the accommodation directly: If you have specific needs or requirements, it’s a good idea to contact the accommodation directly to confirm availability and ask any questions you may have.
By considering these factors and doing thorough research, you can find the best accommodation for your family that meets your needs and budget.
Research Activities, Excursions, Local Attractions and Food
Researching activities, excursions, local attractions and food can make a big difference in the success of your family trip. Here are some tips to help you with your research:
1) Use travel guides: Check travel guides and online blogs to get an idea of the top things to do in the area. These resources often provide helpful tips on local customs, traditions, and hidden gems.
2) Look for local events: Check local event calendars to see what’s happening during your trip. Festivals, markets, and concerts can offer unique and memorable experiences for your family.
3) Check with your accommodations: Many accommodations have local maps, brochures, and recommendations available for guests. Check with the front desk or concierge for insider tips on the best things to do in the area.
4) Use social media: Check social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to see what other travelers and locals recommend in the area.
5) Ask locals: When you arrive at your destination, ask locals for recommendations on food, activities, and things to do. They may offer valuable insights and help you discover hidden gems.
By using these tips and doing thorough research, you can find the best activities, food, and things to do at your destination, ensuring a fun and memorable family trip.
Travel Ideas for your Next family vacation
A Family Cruise
A cruise can be a great choice for a family vacation for several reasons:
1) Convenience: A cruise offers a convenient way to travel and see multiple destinations without the hassle of packing and unpacking or dealing with different modes of transportation.
2) Family-friendly activities: Cruise ships offer a wide range of family-friendly activities such as swimming pools, water slides, sports courts, game rooms, and theaters, ensuring that everyone in the family can find something they enjoy.
3) All-inclusive packages: Many cruises offer all-inclusive packages that include meals, accommodations, and entertainment, making it easier to stick to a budget and avoid unexpected expenses.
4) Kid’s clubs and activities: Many cruise lines offer kid’s clubs and activities that are age-appropriate and supervised by trained professionals, giving parents some much-needed downtime while their children are entertained.
5) Educational opportunities: Many cruises offer educational opportunities such as workshops, lectures, and cultural experiences that can enrich and broaden a child’s perspective.
Overall, a cruise can offer a stress-free, entertaining, and educational family vacation that allows everyone in the family to relax, have fun, and create lasting memories.
Family All Inclusive
A family all-inclusive resort can be a great idea for a family vacation for several reasons:
1) Convenience: All-inclusive resorts offer convenience by providing all meals, drinks, and activities on-site. This can save time and energy that would otherwise be spent researching and organizing activities, meals, and entertainment.
2) Family-friendly activities: All-inclusive resorts typically offer a range of family-friendly activities such as swimming pools, water parks, sports courts, game rooms, and theaters. This ensures that everyone in the family can find something they enjoy.
3) Supervised kids’ programs: Many all-inclusive resorts offer supervised kids’ programs that provide fun and age-appropriate activities for children while allowing parents to relax or participate in other activities.
4) Budget-friendly: All-inclusive resorts offer a fixed price that covers most expenses, making it easier to plan and stick to a budget. This can help avoid unexpected expenses and reduce financial stress during the trip.
5) Safety and security: All-inclusive resorts are typically located in secure areas and offer 24-hour security. This can give parents peace of mind knowing that their family is safe and secure.
Ultimately, an all-inclusive resort can provide a stress-free, fun, and convenient family vacation that offers something for everyone in the family.
A VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) can be a great idea for family travel and vacation for several reasons:
1) Space: VRBOs typically offer more space than traditional hotel rooms, with separate bedrooms, living areas, and kitchen facilities. This can be especially beneficial for families with children who need space to play, sleep, and relax.
2) Flexibility: With a VRBO, families can have more flexibility in terms of meal times, activities, and routines. They can cook their meals, do laundry, and have more control over their daily schedules.
3) Privacy: VRBOs can offer more privacy and quiet than hotels, allowing families to spend time together without interruptions or distractions.
4) Cost-effective: VRBOs can be cost-effective, especially for larger families or groups, as they often offer a lower cost per person than hotels or resorts. Additionally, many VRBOs offer discounts for longer stays.
5) Local experiences: Staying in a VRBO can offer a more authentic local experience, allowing families to live like locals, shop at local markets, and explore the area off the beaten path.
In the end, a VRBO can be a great option for families looking for a more personalized and authentic vacation experience with more space, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness.
Family Road Trip
A road trip can be a great family travel or vacation choice for several reasons:
1) Flexibility: A road trip offers flexibility in terms of scheduling, route, and activities. Families can create their own itinerary, make spontaneous stops, and change plans as needed, allowing for a more personalized and dynamic vacation experience.
2) Bonding: Spending hours in the car together can be a great opportunity for bonding and quality family time. Families can play games, have conversations, and share experiences while on the road. Families who don’t enjoy long haul flights likely love the idea of just a few hours of driving with the ability to plan ahead and stop anytime.
3) Variety: A road trip allows families to see and experience a variety of destinations, landscapes, and cultures. Families can visit national parks, historic sites, museums, and local attractions, creating a diverse and enriching vacation experience.
4) Cost-effective: Road trips can be cost-effective, especially for larger families or groups, as they offer the flexibility to choose lodging, dining, and activities based on budget and preferences.
5) Adventure: A road trip can offer a sense of adventure and excitement, as families embark on a journey together and discover new places and experiences.
Overall, a road trip can provide a fun, flexible, and cost-effective family vacation option that offers a unique sense of adventure, bonding, and variety. Even at an early age small children can learn the value of the whole family being together at once in close proximity.
Traveling to a foreign country can be a great idea for a family travel for several reasons:
2) Cultural experience: Traveling to a foreign country allows families to experience different cultures, traditions, and languages. This can provide a unique opportunity to learn about and appreciate diversity and broaden their perspectives.
2) Education: Traveling abroad can be an educational experience for children, allowing them to learn about history, art, science, and other subjects in a hands-on and immersive way.
3) Adventure: Traveling abroad can provide a sense of adventure and excitement, as families explore new places, try new foods, and have new experiences.
4) Bonding: Traveling abroad can be a great opportunity for bonding and creating shared memories. Families can experience new things together and create lifelong memories.
4) Language skills: Traveling abroad can help children develop language skills and increase their understanding of other languages and cultures.
Finally, traveling abroad can provide a fun, educational, and culturally enriching family vacation experience that offers something for everyone in the family. Older kids and younger alike will thrive on the excitement of international flights.
Just make sure to pack snacks and book ahead for accommodations and the entire trip will be more enjoyable. Western countries will likely have more of the daily conveniences many parents are used to, so do your research if you are looking for a fun time in an unfamiliar country so there are no significant surprises.
Our Top 20 Family Travel Tips
Get yourself a great travel stroller
A really good stroller is important for family travel with small children for several reasons:
1) Convenience: A stroller makes it easier to navigate through airports, public transportation, and busy streets. It provides a safe and comfortable place for children to sit or nap, while allowing parents to have their hands free to carry luggage or handle other tasks.
2) Comfort: A good stroller provides a comfortable and secure place for children to sit or nap, especially during long days of sightseeing or travel. It can also help prevent fatigue and crankiness, allowing children to enjoy the vacation more.
3) Durability: A good stroller is durable and reliable, able to handle different terrains and weather conditions. It can withstand the wear and tear of travel, ensuring that it will last for multiple trips and children.
4) Safety: A good stroller provides important safety features, such as harnesses, brakes, and sturdy construction. It can help parents feel more secure and confident, knowing that their child is safe and protected while traveling.
5) Versatility: A good stroller is versatile, able to adapt to different needs and situations. It can be used for sightseeing, shopping, and other activities, and can be easily stored and transported.
The make travel strollers that can carry two young children, provide pockets for things like baby food, and fit nicely in a trunk for those vacation car rides.
Umbrella strollers are an excellent option when you have little space to spare. They fold up into tiny packs and are very lightweight. Great to crack out if needed for a shorter walk or stroll.
Travel Insurance For Family Vacations
Travel insurance is a good idea for family vacations for several reasons:
1) Protection against unexpected events: Travel insurance can provide protection against unexpected events such as flight cancellations, lost luggage, medical emergencies, and trip interruptions. This can help families avoid unexpected costs and disruptions to their vacation plans.
2) Medical coverage: Travel insurance can provide medical coverage, which is particularly important for families traveling with young children. It can cover medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and repatriation, ensuring that families have access to medical care when they need it.
3) Peace of mind: Travel insurance can provide families with peace of mind, knowing that they are protected against unforeseen circumstances that could affect their travel plans. This can make the vacation more enjoyable and less stressful for everyone.
4) Assistance services: Travel insurance often includes assistance services such as 24-hour emergency assistance and travel support. This can be particularly useful for families traveling to unfamiliar destinations, as it provides access to assistance and support when needed.
5) Cost-effective: Travel insurance can be a cost-effective way to protect against unexpected events and provide peace of mind. The cost of travel insurance is typically a small percentage of the total cost of the vacation, making it a worthwhile investment.
Overall, travel insurance is a good idea for family vacations, as it provides protection against unexpected events, medical coverage, peace of mind, assistance services, and cost-effective coverage.
Hotel vs. House?
While a hotel room might be great for a couple who wants to order room service, it’s hard for an entire family to feel comfortable in a hotel room.
Companies like VRBO rent an entire house/apartment which gives all family members the space they need to be comfortable and sleep well.
Traveling with kids certainly changes the travel dynamic and being able to keep some similarities on vacation the entire time in a VRBO will likely be easier than a cramped hotel.
Gate-check car seats and strollers for free
Rather then check your car seat or stroller at the luggage check in, gate check them instead. Long flights are tough enough on younger kids, and having both car seat and stroller ready as soon as you land, will help keep everyone at ease.
Keeping Kids Engaged at Any Age
Depending upon how young your child(ren) are, make sure to find out what activities are available at your destination before the trip begins. A near by kids club or day trip to one of the local theme parks is sure to keep kids engaged and keep any traveling family happy. Even something as simple as a bike ride with that favorite stuffed animal goes a long way for the vast majority to entertain kids.
Stop visiting playgrounds and generic museums
Parents spend thousands of dollars traveling, and then spend their money to visit playgrounds and museums. This can be done at home. Take the time to research what can be done at your destination that would be a fun and new exciting experience for all!
Bring New Toys and Books
Brand new toys and books they have never read can attract children. Take advantage of the opportunity to shop at the end of the trip. Make their souvenir something fun an educational for the return trip.
Incorporate Nature and Outdoor activities
In the 24/7 tech world of today, it’s very healthy to detach from every now and then. Make it a priority to spend time with nature and doing outdoor activities not involving cell phones, tablets and laptops.
Screen time does not count on airplanes
Anything goes regarding screen time on airplanes. Essentially whatever it takes to keep a child from having a meltdown. The # 1 rule is to get to the destination unscathed and a few extra hours of screen time might just do the trick.
Hot Tip – Apologize with a Starbucks Gift Card
Many people don’t understand the challenges of traveling with kids. Children choose to act on their own more often then not. Whether a cheap flight and short trip or an overseas flight, young kids will kick and bump the seats in front of them repeatedly.
Your best off taking a few cheap starbucks gift cards along and apologizing with one early in the flight after the first incident.
Use packing cubes wisely
Packing cubes can be used for more than just clothes. Use them to organize games or activites on the next trip. Get creative. Come up with flash cards of the local language in one. Perfect for you or even older kids to go through on the flight. Pack a first aid kit in another, or use one for travel games.
Strategically Plan Flight Times
Sometimes it’s worth paying a bit more to avoid long layovers. Especially if traveling with kids. Look for flights with minimal or short layovers and prioritize accordingly. I’ve yet to meet a single parent who can’t wait to spend 8 hours with young children in an airport before the next flight.
Always carry reusable water bottles
Most airports, many hotels, and even the occasional train station have filtered water drinking fountains now a days. Make sure to carry a reusable water bottle. It’s far better for the environment, and will save you money in the long run.
Pack Comfortable Headphones
While airlines often give free headphones for use, they are the cheapest of the cheap. Inside an airplane can be noisy and a good set of headphones can help drown out engine noise while providing premium sound for whatever is showing.
Always bring a change of clothes
A change of clothes can be a lifesaver in certain situations. You never know if a child will have an accident, get sick, or spill on their current clothes. Carry a small daypack backpack just for incidentals. As the saying goes, it’s better to have it and not need it, then need it and not have it.
Bring a Written/Printed Itinerary
Wifi/Phones/Computers are not 100% reliable. I always have a printed copy of my reservations just in case. Over the years it’s served me well when the occasional booking confirmation # couldn’t be pulled up.
Don’t be ashamed of using a little bribery to coax a child(ren) into trying something new. It might just be an experience they thoroughly enjoy and want to pursue again.
Take Public Transit
Public transportation can also be an enjoyable experience. Trains, subways, and trams can be an exiting part of the vacation experience. You and your kids will experience the city the way locals do. In most cities the public transportation is quicker and cheaper compared with taxis or private cars, so chalk it up as an experience that will save you money!
There is a thing called planning too much. Prioritize what is more important to the family. By planning too many things to do, you are asking for vacation burn out. It’s best to really enjoy fewer things than only partially enjoy everything.
Reconvene as a family afterwards
It’s important to take a few minutes when everyone is home safe and sound and talk about your recent family travel. What went well? What didn’t? What family travel tips have we learned for next time? These are all valid points to help you with your next family travel.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is traveling with your family is good?
Traveling with your family can be an incredibly rewarding and enriching experience for a number of reasons. Here are some of the top benefits of family travel:
1) Quality time: Traveling together provides an opportunity for families to spend quality time together, away from the distractions of daily life. It allows for deeper conversations and creates lasting memories.
2) Shared experiences: Traveling together allows families to share new experiences and create memories that will last a lifetime. This can strengthen family bonds and create a sense of unity.
3) Exposure to different cultures: Traveling to new places exposes children to different cultures, languages, and customs. This can broaden their perspective and understanding of the world.
4) Educational opportunities: Traveling with your family can provide unique learning opportunities. Visiting museums, historical sites, and national parks can teach children about history, science, and nature in a fun and interactive way.
5) Building resilience: Traveling can also help children build resilience and adaptability as they encounter new challenges and unfamiliar situations. This can help them develop important life skills.
At the end of the day, traveling with your family can be an amazing way to create lasting memories and strengthen relationships, while also providing unique learning opportunities and personal growth.
How do I pack for a whole family vacation?
Packing for a whole family vacation can be a daunting task, but with some planning and organization, it can be manageable. Here are some tips to help you pack for your family vacation:
1) Make a packing list: Create a packing list for each family member to ensure that everyone has what they need. The list should include clothing, toiletries, medications, entertainment items, and any other essentials.
2) Pack strategically: Organize your packing by keeping items together in separate bags or compartments. Use packing cubes, compression bags, or large plastic bags to keep clothes organized and to maximize space in your luggage.
3) Pack versatile clothing: Pack clothing that can be worn in multiple ways or for different occasions. For example, pack items that can be dressed up or down, or that can be layered for different weather conditions.
4) Check the weather: Before you start packing, check the weather forecast for your destination and pack accordingly. Make sure to include appropriate clothing and gear for any outdoor activities you have planned.
5) Plan for laundry: If you’re going on a longer trip, plan for laundry. Pack a small travel-sized detergent and a few laundry pods or plan to use a local laundromat.
6) Leave room for souvenirs: Make sure to leave some extra space in your luggage for souvenirs or other items you might pick up during your trip.
7) Double-check everything: Before you leave, double-check that you have everything you need, including passports, travel documents, and any important medications.
By following these tips, you can make packing for your family vacation a breeze and ensure that everyone has what they need for a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
How long should a family vacation last?
The length of a family vacation depends on a variety of factors, including your budget, the destination, and your family’s preferences. Here are some general guidelines to consider:
1) Budget: The length of your family vacation may be limited by your budget. If you have a limited budget, consider a shorter trip or one that is closer to home.
2) Destination: The destination you choose may also impact the length of your family vacation. If you’re traveling to a far-off destination, you may want to plan a longer trip to make the most of your travel time.
3) Age of children: The age of your children may also impact the length of your family vacation. Younger children may tire more easily and need more downtime, while older children may be able to handle longer days and more activities.
4) Time off from work: The amount of time you and your spouse have off from work may also impact the length of your family vacation. If you have limited vacation time, consider a shorter trip or one that is closer to home.
In general, a family vacation can last anywhere from a weekend getaway to several weeks. Ultimately, the length of your family vacation should be based on your family’s preferences, budget, and time constraints. Consider what will work best for your family and plan accordingly.
What time of the year is best to take a family vacation?
The best time of year to take a family vacation depends on a variety of factors, including your destination, budget, and personal preferences. Here are some things to consider when planning the timing of your family vacation:
1) School schedules: If you have school-aged children, you may want to plan your vacation during school breaks, such as winter or spring break, or summer vacation.
2) Weather: Consider the weather of your destination and plan accordingly. If you’re looking for warm weather and outdoor activities, summer may be the best time. If you prefer cooler temperatures, consider a fall or spring vacation.
3) Crowds: Some destinations may be more crowded during peak travel seasons. If you’re looking for a quieter vacation, consider traveling during the off-season.
4) Budget: The time of year can also impact the cost of travel. Peak travel seasons may be more expensive, while off-season travel may offer more affordable options.
5) Special events: Consider any special events or festivals happening in your destination, as they can impact availability and prices for travel, accommodations, and activities.
Ultimately, the best time of year to take a family vacation will depend on your family’s preferences, budget, and schedules. Consider all of these factors when planning your trip and choose the time of year that works best for you.
How can I make my family trip better?
There are many ways to make your family trip better and more enjoyable for everyone. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your family vacation:
1) Plan ahead: Research your destination and plan your itinerary ahead of time. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure that you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions.
2) Involve everyone: Involve your family members in the planning process and ask for their input on activities and destinations. This will help ensure that everyone is excited and engaged throughout the trip.
3) Be flexible: While it’s important to have a plan, it’s also important to be flexible and open to changing your itinerary if necessary. Unexpected events or weather may require some changes, but staying flexible can help you make the most of your trip.
4) Try new things: Encourage your family members to try new things and step outside of their comfort zones. This can create new experiences and memories that you’ll treasure for years to come.
5) Stay positive: Keep a positive attitude throughout your trip and focus on the good times you’re having with your family. This will help create a fun and memorable experience for everyone.
6) Capture memories: Take photos and videos throughout your trip to capture your family memories. You can look back on these moments and cherish them for years to come.
By following these tips, you can help make your family trip better and create lasting memories that you’ll treasure for years to come.
Family Travel Time?
A great family vacation can be a truly special experience that creates lasting memories and brings families closer together. From the planning stages to the actual trip, every step of the way can be filled with fun, laughter, and adventure. By involving everyone in the planning process, staying flexible, trying new things, and staying positive throughout the trip, families can create a memorable experience that they’ll cherish for years to come.
Whether it’s exploring new destinations, bonding over shared experiences, or simply spending quality time together, a great family vacation can be a truly unforgettable experience that strengthens the family bond and leaves everyone feeling happy and rejuvenated. Your only challenge remaining will be planning future trips.