Vacations with kids are a lot of work. But they can also be loads of fun--especially if you plan ahead and come prepared. There are some great tips out there on how to make family travel awesome, so we've compiled our favorites here!
Plan to be flexible.
To make the most of your trip, plan to be flexible.
Don't schedule too much. If you have a detailed itinerary for each day and night, it's easy for things to go awry and ruin a good time. If something unexpected comes up—a sick child, an unexpected rainstorm—don't get upset; remember that this is a vacation!
Don't let a bad experience ruin the rest of your trip. Although many people picture themselves enjoying their vacation from the moment they leave home until they return, there may be some bumps in the road along the way. Don't let these little mishaps ruin your whole experience by being overly cautious or negative when it comes time to explore new places or try different activities with your family members.* Be open-minded about trying new things even if it means leaving behind what you're comfortable with.*
Set a budget, before you start planning your vacation.
Before you start planning your vacation, it’s important to set a budget. You need to make sure that you have enough money in the bank for your trip and can afford everything else associated with it.
Make sure that you have enough money saved up for things like:
The cost of transportation (or if this isn't an option, making sure there are enough ridesharing apps available)
Extra activities like museums or theme parks (if these aren't included in your package)
Eating out while away from home
Book early and book online.
If you're thinking about booking a vacation this year, don't wait until the last minute to make your plans. If you want to get the best deal on hotels and flights, book them as soon as possible. The earlier that travelers book their flights and accommodations, the lower their price will be—and if there's one thing parents know how to do well (besides raising children), it's planning ahead!
Also, make sure you're booking through a reputable site.
Not all sites are created equal when it comes time for travel planning; there are plenty of scam artists out there who prey on unsuspecting parents looking for deals on flights or hotel rooms. To keep yourself safe from falling victim to these dishonest businesses: make sure whatever website you're using has been around for awhile; look at reviews from other families who have used them before; compare prices across multiple sites so that if one offers better terms than another does (or vice versa), take advantage of that difference instead of paying extra money unnecessarily by sticking with what seems like an inferior option initially glance at reviews before deciding whether or not something sounds trustworthy enough
Rest up before you go.
Make sure that everyone on your trip is rested and ready to go before you leave. You can't help children if you're exhausted, so make sure that everyone gets enough sleep before leaving home. If your child has a hard time sleeping, try having him or her stay up late one night so they don't feel too tired while traveling.
Make sure that you also take care of yourself while preparing for the trip! Don't overdo it by packing too much or deciding to do excessive work outs in the days leading up to your vacation—these things will only tire you out more than necessary, which could lead to unpleasant results during your vacation (like being unable to keep up with everything else in life).
Let everyone help make a game plan.
The best part about planning a vacation with kids is that you get to let them help make the plans. Ask your kids what they would like to do on vacation, and let them help you think of ideas. A great way to start is by asking them if they have any concerns about going on vacation, or if there are any questions that need answering before you go.
Give each kid a "job" such as map reader or travel photographer, to give them a sense of purpose and make the trip more fun for them (and less stressful for you).
Give each kid a "job" such as map reader or travel photographer, to give them a sense of purpose and make the trip more fun for them (and less stressful for you). For older kids, this can be a great way to teach responsibility; younger ones may enjoy being in charge of some aspect of the journey.
Give your child an age-appropriate responsibility that they're capable of doing safely--whether it's holding onto their own bag when getting on/off buses/planes or reading signs at museums so you don't waste time getting lost!
Make sure your kids know their full names, your name, where you're staying and the phone number of your room in case they get lost.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it's important to make sure that your kids know their full names as well as yours. If they're lost and find themselves in an uncomfortable situation, having their name can help them get back to you or another adult. In addition, it's good for them to know the number of your room (if you're staying at a hotel) so they can call from the lobby or front desk if needed.
Make sure they know how to use a phone too—even if they're young children who don't have phones yet! This will help them feel more confident and less overwhelmed when traveling alone with their parents later on down the line.
Where are you headed in 2023?
We hope these tips will help you find the best vacation for your family. Whether it’s a road trip or a cruise, we think those extra preparations will make all the difference in having an amazing time with your kids! Let us know in the comments where you'll be headed this year (or where you hope to go!) and of course, drop any of your favorite tips that didn't make our list in the comments.