10 Tips for Planning a Great
Stressed about planning your next family vacation?
Relax - Palm Tree Vacation Homes is here to help. Here are ten family travel
tips to help make your next family vacation the best ever.
1. Get together. Sit down with the kids before your Disney vacation and let them
know where you're going and what to expect on your trip. Talk to the kids about
flights and what they might encounter (security check-ins, waiting to board the
plane, ear pressure during take-offs and landings, etc.) so they won't get
scared and will know what to do. Ditto for long car trips. In addition, this is
a good time to talk about any expectations and rules you might have for your
trip (such as "you can't use your cell phone in the theme parks"). It's also a
good time to surface any concerns the kids might have (especially with teens,
such as "I'm going to go crazy if I have to spend a whole week at Disney with my
parents") and consider possible solutions (such as allowing them a few hours on
there own with meeting places and times).
Here's a helpful vacation planner for you...
2. Make it special. Let every member of the family choose one thing that they'd
like to do on your family vacation. This will allow everyone to feel more
involved and will get the vacation off to a great start. If you have a tight
budget, explain that at the outset and set a dollar figure for how much things
can cost. Let the kids do some research on the Internet to find things they'd
like to do.
3. Be prepared. Make a list of items that your family will need to bring on your
trip. These include travel documents, travel insurance information, and a first
aid kit, that includes headache, pain, allergy, cold/cough, and stomach
medicines, Band-Aids and anti-bacterial cream. Include the phone numbers of your
doctor, dentist, and medical insurance company. Check passport and visa
requirements several months in advance to make sure you're all set. If you're
flying, visit the airline's website or check out Seat Guru (www.seatguru.com) to
get the best seats for your family.
4. Keep up the excitement. 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 pictures of your destination and information on
5. Expect the unexpected. Take a few additional items in your carry-on luggage
along with medicines and travel documents, such as a change of clothes and
bathing suit in case luggage is lost and plenty of travel games and snacks for
the trip. Also bring along baby wipes and zip lock bags in case of accidents.
Think ahead and plan for occurrences such air travel cancellations and delays,
illness, and bad weather. Consider purchasing travel insurance to protect your
6. Pack a great attitude. Attitude is everything when going on a family
vacation. If unforeseen events happen, stay flexible and positive. Relax and go
with the flow. Your children will learn important life lessons from watching you
and you'll have a much better time on your trip.
7. Leave at the right time. 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 connections. 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 much smoother and you'll save gas money as well.
8. Set a comfortable pace. Keep in mind each family member's individual
preferences for waking hours, activity schedules, dress, dining options,
nightlife, and needs for sleep and plan accordingly, Theme Parks can be very
draining. Respect your differences and be willing to bend the rules a bit if
necessary. Letting people sleep in for an hour might make all the difference in
having a great time on your family vacation.
9. Allow for private time. Family vacations do not necessitate spending every
waking hour together. Everyone needs a break sometimes, especially teens and
young adults. Be honest with yourselves about your needs for time alone and
build it into your trip.
10. Leave the expectations at home. Family vacations are one of most anticipated
events of the year, so it's easy for parents to get all misty-eyed envisioning
the great memories and intimate bonding moments that will be created on their
trip. If we're being honest, however, we know that family vacations never go
exactly as planned. There may be bumpy moments, relationship issues may surface,
travel snafus happen, the weather might not cooperate, and the kids might have a
meltdown or two. It's okay. Just take the experience as it comes, don't dwell
and go with the flow. Sometimes those vacations where things don't go as planned
make the best vacation memories of all.
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