Stressed about planning your upcoming family vacation? Here are some essential travel tips to help make your next family vacation fun, enjoyable, and memorable.
Call a Family Meeting
Sit down with the kids before your vacation and let them know where you’re going and what to expect on your trip. Talk to them about what they may experience while traveling (security check-ins, long lines, delays, annoying passengers, turbulence, etc.) so they will be well prepared and not become anxious or nervous if things don’t go exactly as planned. This meeting will also offer an opportunity to talk about any restrictions and rules you might have for your trip (such as internet access, curfews, monetary budgets, etc.).
Get Everyone Involved
Let every member of the family select one thing that they’d like to do on the vacation. This will allow everyone to feel more involved and will get the vacation off to a fun and exciting start. If you have a limited budget, you should explain that at the outset and set a dollar figure for how much things can cost. Let the kids do some research to find things they’d like to do, and encourage them to search for bargains and discount coupons.
Make a list of items that your family will need to bring on your trip. These include travel documents, proper ID, first aid kit, medications, and telephone numbers of your doctors and medical insurance company. Be sure to check the passport and visa requirements several months in advance.
Prepare to Have Fun
Travel plans are often made far in advance of the trip, but out of sight doesn’t have to mean out of mind. Pick up some travel brochures and a guidebook and share them with your kids. Look for books that are set in your vacation destination and read them together. The internet contains a variety of websites with photos of your destination and information on activities.
Pray for the Best but Be Prepared for the Worst
Take a few additional items in your carry-on luggage along with medications and travel documents, such as a change of clothing in case your luggage gets lost. Bring plenty of travel games, snacks, tissues, and drinks. Be prepared to toss unfinished drinks at security if you are flying. Think ahead and plan for occurrences such as flight delays or cancellations, sickness, or bad weather. It may be a good idea to purchase travel insurance to protect your vacation investment.
Pack a Positive Attitude
Attitude is extremely important when going on a family vacation. If unforeseen events happen, stay calm, flexible, and upbeat. Relax and go with the flow. Your children will learn important life lessons from watching how you handle these unexpected “tests.” Plus, you’ll have a much better time on your trip.
Scheduling Is Key
If your child has a nap schedule, take that into consideration when making your travel plans. If you’re traveling by plane, make sure to leave extra time for unexpected delays. If you’re traveling by car, travel early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid traffic congestion and let the kids nap. The trip will be so much more enjoyable for the entire family.
Set a Comfortable Pace
Keep in mind that each family member will have different likes and preferences. Things to keep in mind are their sleeping schedules (what time they wake up and go to sleep), eating habits, activities of interests, and energy levels. Respect your family members’ differences and be willing to bend the rules a bit if necessary. Allowing your teen to sleep for an extra hour in the morning might make all the difference in having a great time on your family vacation.
Allow for Private Time
Family vacations do not mean that you have to spend every single minute together. Everyone needs a little break sometimes, especially responsible teens and young adults. It may be a good idea to plan accordingly and include some “alone periods” in your trip.
Leave the Expectations at Home
Family vacations are one of most anticipated events of the year, but rarely does everything goes exactly as planned. There are bound to be unexpected bumps along the way. If you follow these travel tips and have the right attitude, you and your family should have an enjoyable vacation together – with or without the bumps. If something does come up that was not part of the plan, don’t dwell on it – just go with it. Sometimes those vacations where things don’t go as planned make the best vacation memories of all.