As I have mentioned on the blog before, I love traveling with my family. It’s not always easy (I would not call 24 hours of driving in a car with small kids “easy” by any means), but the results are so worth it. If you’re itching to go somewhere with the remaining summer weeks ahead, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind.
1. Decide what kind of vacation you want- what are you hoping to gain from your vacation?
This is an important consideration especially if you have limited time to take off work. Do you want the vacation to be restful? Active? Educational? Spiritual? Combo platter of a few of the above? Think about how you want to feel at the end of it, and what you want to get out of the time. In a recent podcast, Michael Hyatt expands further on this notion along with other great ways to vacation like a pro.
For example- if you are looking for a restful vacation, Disneyland might not be the best option. However, Disneyland with the kids, coupled with a few days at the end where mom and dad go and do something restful just the two of them, might be an amazing combo. My husband and I were recently invited to stay at Viamede resort and if you are looking for a restful retreat from busy parenting life- that is a great place to do it.
My husband and I are kinda nerdy about history and what not so we love taking our kids to local museums or war memorials when we travel. And as devout Catholics we sometimes plan a vacation around a religious shrine or landmark.
My point is, when you have a sense of what you want to get out of the vacation, whether it be rest, education, crazy active excitement or spiritual growth, everyone will be happier having some kind of expectation of what they will gain from it.
2. Commit to a budget
Elaborate vacations can be really costly, especially when you have a bunch of kids like me. For this reason we drive to our vacation spots (link to July 11 blog post).
Family fun does not need to be crazy costly- but a trip is an investment. Here are a few things to ask yourself to help determine the cost:
– will we drive or fly?
– if we fly do we need to rent a car, and / or car seats? Or can we stay somewhere like a resort or villa that does not require us to drive?
– do we want to cook our own meals, or stay somewhere meals are included?
– is there a local babysitting service that we can hire a sitter for so mom and dad can get a break while we are down there, and / or is there a kids program available?
– can we stay in simple accommodations or do we desire something more fancy?
My parents blessed my sister and I with lots of opportunities to travel as a family- I am so grateful to them for that. But in truth, it really did not matter what we were doing- whether it was a simple camping trip or a cruise in Europe- as cliche as it sounds as a child what I remember most was the time spent together.
3. Are you more into a planned for you vacation, or a plan your own vacation?
I find people fall into two camps- a “planned for you vacation” like a resort or cruise where for the most part things are taken care of for you- meals, hotel space, shuttles if applicable, kids programming, etc.
And then there’s the camp that wants to plan things on their own- like visit a big city full of tourist attractions, book their own hotel or rent something on air b &b, figure out their own local meals or cook for themselves, and / or explore off the beaten path.
Both are super fun options with kids. Both I would say have their own sets of pros and cons. I would take into account how various members of your family handle change, stress, the unknown, and how flexible people are to determine what might fit you best at the various seasons of your family’s life.
4. Ask friends for insider secrets
If you are planning on going somewhere really well known (like Disneyland for example), definitely poll people who are frequent flyers of these locations because they will have the inside scoop to make the most out of the experience (and possibly save you money).
I find people are so willing to share the good and bad about their experience at a local establishment- I love mom groups on Facebook for this reason as I know I am getting unbiased honest accounts!
So ask around, ask online- and take advantage of the experience of others.
Those are my top tips for planning a great family holiday- I would love to know yours in the comments below.
Also, if you’d prefer to watch me talk about these tips on YouTube, click on over below!
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KEEP YOUR SANITY