How to Plan a Family Trip Without Hesitations: A Checklist

TL;DR

  1. Save for it! As soon as you start thinking about traveling, start saving too.
  2. Think about how you want to get there, if you need to buy flight/bus tickets then the earlier the buy the cheaper you’ll pay. 
  3. Pack light, you don’t need your full wardrobe during vacation.

Take the first step and have faith in your family

Let’s be real, a vacation sounds very nice right now, but a vacation can cause quite the hesitation, can’t it? But for a fact, a family trip is a great opportunity for bonding and making new and exciting memories, so don’t let hesitation get in the way. 

Take a deep breath and start thinking about glorious family days at the beach, or going down the snow slopes, or driving through small cozy towns, and so on. See? It is exciting, I’m sure you already have a smile on your face. Your family needs a vacation as much as you do, have faith in them, and that you’ll have a grand time together.

 

Save for it! 

After that leap of faith and believing a family trip will be the best thing, we need to be realistic while building expectations for this time. That means, saving for it! Even if you have no idea where to go or if the whole family will be on board, saving for a vacation is key. And here’s why:

 

  1. A family vacation should be fun and exciting, not a 7-day break for you to think about how your money is going with the wind. 
  2. It can be the perfect opportunity to get the family excited about it and start bonding over the trip. There are several different strategies and platforms for you to save money. You can have a savings account specifically for it or go the old-fashioned way and get an envelope where you put some cash in it every week or month. 

But here’s one to get the family involved, have a jar or safe box in the house dedicated for this trip, but more specifically for activities during the trip. Everyone can put some money on it and the amount of it by the time you travel will be dedicated for activities. 

That will allow you to brainstorm possible things they want to do; but you should still have some savings for the trip itself, the earlier you start the better prepared you’ll be. 

    3. Your Family Trip Savings will help you decide your possible destinations.

 

Choose a destination that will make great memories for the whole family

This can be a tricky part because each family member might have their dream destination and valid reasons for it. But that’s ok! It is very important that you sit down as a family — especially if you have teenagers, not a big issue if you have small kids — and decide. 

You can prepare a fun dinner just to decide that and follow something like:

  1. Make a list of the desired destinations with them
  2. Cross the places that might not fit the family savings
  3. From what is left check if there’s a place where you won’t be able to go due to current health restrictions 
  4. Now, check what is left on your list. If you have few options left, you should be able to ask your family to vote on the best destination.

If you have only small kids, it will probably be an easier decision to make. You can decide for yourself, talk to your partner and even talk to your children if you want to.

 

Check digital influencers’ tips on the destinations

Social media can be an awesome tool to give you ideas of what to do in each destination and there are plenty of accounts of families who decided to hit the road.

Here are some great examples of Instagram family influencers:

 

 

There you see their wonderful trips and how they managed them. Honestly, there’s no way to scroll down their pictures and not get super excited to travel.

 

Technology is a travel buddy

How wonderful it is that we can count on countless apps to assist us. YES! This is something that

will help you keep track of your travel plans. 

If you’re flying make sure to get your flight company’s app so you can track any modifications; for road trips — we have a great post about it here  you can previously download your route on any map app, just in case your internet gets crazy and you don’t want to be lost.

Some cities have their own app where they suggest touristic routes, guides, etc.

You can use any sort of note-taking app to write your Trip Plan, AND in case you need help planning, thinking about activities and places to go, we are here for that. You can also use our platform to plan it and you can have one of our Catts help you with the rest.

 

Plan an itinerary but be open to new adventures

Look, a solid plan is a great way to get organized, and, especially, for kids it makes them feel safe. But, there is some beauty in spontaneity and unexpected things happen, which means we need to be open to go out of track and let the new adventures reach out to us. 

It is very important to have an idea of what you’ll be doing during each day, because some activities — parks, zoos, boat rides, skydiving if you’re up to it —  that need to be scheduled before, some restaurants that you need a reservation, and so on. It will help you to get organized with your kids and it will make packing easier if you have an idea of the kind of places you’ll visit. But, as we said before, life happens, and plans do not always work…

If it happens, don’t get sad that the plan you took so much time and care to prepare didn’t go as planned. Think that it will be fun and these spontaneous things are usually where we make the best memories. 

 

Have a budget for the trip

Now, if you follow our tip to start saving way before the actual trip when the time comes you’ll probably have decent savings for the trip. Keep in mind that you can save for specifics too, for example, for the flight tickets, for water park tickets, etc. 

That money you saved will help you with your budget. Make a list of the costs you know you’ll have:

  • Flight/bus tickets
  • Transportation
  • Gas
  • Food — think how much per day
  • Activities
  • Accommodation 
  • Shopping we always buy something even if it’s a magnet
  • Extra costs

 

Then, see what will be covered in the savings and what will be under your card/cash. It’s very important to keep that budget in mind, and once you take the flight/bus cost out of the equation, focus on doing the math for a budget per day. That will help you have more control and not leave your vacation completely out of money. 

 

Choose the accommodation that fits your family 

You can go to the most wonderful place on earth, but if when it comes the time to lay down and sleep you have a lousy accommodation, you’ll most likely wake up upset for a bad night of sleep and not enjoy your trip at all.

So, let’s choose our accommodation wisely. Today, we have a lot of options from hotels to homestays. It’s all about what will better fit your family and trip profile. For example:

A hotel can offer the comfort of not worrying about cleaning, cooking, or making your bed, as well as the hotel’s facilities. But it’s, in the end, it’s a hotel, not really home.

On the other hand, homestays will for sure provide that sense of home, including the cleaning, cooking, and making your bed part of the home (sorry! It’s all part of the deal). But there are amazing rental homes.

There are many others, like camping, renting a trailer, a cabin, chalets, and so on. Think of what will be best for you and your family. Here are some websites where you can search for the perfect accommodation for you:

 

 

Transportation is also key

Transportation includes how you’re reaching your destination and also how you’ll go around once you get there. Let’s see some pros and cons when:

 

1. Flying (possibly with some pixie dust): It’s faster, especially if you are traveling locally. Kids won’t get so tired and you’ll be able to start enjoying your vacay asap. 

On the other hand, there are kids, especially babies, who do not really adapt to the whole flying experience. Also, depending on the season you’re traveling the tickets can be more expensive. So for flight tickets, prior planning is essential to keep a budget. 

 

2. Road trip, windows down, and all of that: A road trip can be really fun, nothing like the road ahead of you, a fun playlist on, and the wind on your face (except if you’re during a deep winter storm, then it’s not fun at all). It gives you the freedom to stop when you need to, prepare fun snacks, and regardless, you’ll still stop in some cool diner to eat, you can prepare cool playlists mixing your taste with the rest of the family and audiobooks. 

You’ll pass through some cool places and it’s always nice to stop and enjoy picturesque sights, it’s like your vacation has already started. Plus, it can be way cheaper than flying depending on gas price and extra costs.

But, depending on where you’re going it can be a long way until you get there. The longer the road trip the more snacks, road trip games, bathroom stops, and distractions for your kids you’ll need, not considering the driver will also be tired. Some families are all for that, but for others, it can be difficult. 

 

Again, it’s important to make a quick table comparing both possibilities, pros and cons, and costs. 

As for how you go around once you get there, if you drive there you’ll have your car, you’ll just need to plan for gas costs. If you fly, you can always rent a car for the duration of the trip, or you can look for an accommodation close to your main activities for you to either walk to them, or in case of a hotel, they might have transfers there. If you feel like adventuring further, you can rent a car for a day or so. 

 

Pack light for everyone!

Packing can be stressful but it’s necessary. Nobody wants to carry extra weight unnecessarily and let’s be honest and admit that we always have things that we don’t even touch during our vacation days. Children already require a lot of things and if you add to that loads of unnecessary clothes, it will be too much.

So pack light! Some tips can help you with that, and The Bucketlist Family is an expert with that, you might want to check them out to get some inspiration. Some ways to do that:

 

  • Choose neutral colors, that will make matching clothes easy. And those colors usually still look good even after a long sweaty or wet day.
  • Try to pick clothes that you can use in different ways with different combinations.
  • As for shoes, think about comfort. You’ll probably walk for a long period and it’s better to have something comfortable on. 
  • As you decide your main activities, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll need. If you’ll need special gear or a fancy outfit. 
  • Rolling your clothes, putting your socks rolled inside your shoes, and so on will help you save space. You should definitely check this video to help you with that. 
  • Another thing is, let your kids have their own small backpacks where they can put the toys they want to take with them. That way they will decide what’s important for them, they’ll know that if it doesn’t fit they can’t take it, meanwhile building some sense of responsibility in them. It’s a win-win situation!

 

Take a stroller with you, if your kid needs one

Very basic but as important as the other, if your kid gets tired of walking they will probably want you to hold them. So, to save your back and help your kid, it’s a good idea to take a stroller with you. Our founder agrees, check it out here.

 

Safety talk with your family

We’re living in quite an unusual situation and one that directly affects traveling. 

 

  • Check what are the restrictions for your specific destination.
  • If you’ll need to take a COVID test, try to plan ahead of time and explain what will happen to your kids
  • Talk to your kids about safety rules, if/when they’ll need to use masks how and why, emphasize the need to wash their hands properly, any other thing that might be related to your accommodation — some hotels may change their breakfast routine, for example — and make sure they know this is all for their safety AND that will not keep them from having fun.

 

Record your new adventure

Take pictures, make fun videos, even adventure yourself to make a fun TikTok with your whole family! 

This for your guys, these memories have to be recorded so in the future you can look back and remember the awesome time you had while you plan your next destination.

 

 

See you on our next trip! Stay tuned for our next publiCATTions.

 

Source: ournextadventure.co/plan-family-trip/

Photos: Unsplash

 

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