Planning the perfect vacation for a family takes time and research. Making memorable trips for a family includes finding activities that appeal to each person, age group, and interests in the family. One family might enjoy horseback riding together on a wilderness trail, while another family will seek vacations at theme parks, museums, or chilling at the beach.
The first step, to plan the perfect vacation for a family, is to have a brainstorm session on what they would like to do on their next vacation. Writing ideas down and developing a game plan of possible locations to visit is more than day dreaming; it is an important planning tool to collect each person’s ideas.
Once a specific location and type of vacation is settled upon, estimation of a budget for your vacation is key. A tour of Europe may be out of the budget, but a multi-cultural tour domestically may not be. Most American cities have Cultural Festivals and parades that a family could attend, often for free. Enjoying a theme park like Busch Gardens or the “World Showcase Lagoon” at Disney’s Epcot Center may seem a far cry from the real thing, but it can be a fun precursor to a real European tour in the future.
A Budget is a Friend
Families can achieve their dream vacation by fitting their dream plan within the practicalities of a budget. A budget is a non-negotiable; it is a yardstick of what a family can or can’t do on their vacation. However, a budget is also the family’s “friend”, because tweaked properly, the budget is the enabler of dreams to come true.Families need to see money constraints as opportunities to be creative.
Vacation budgets must include all travel expenses, such as, any airline, car rental, or gas costs and accommodations, food, and activities. Doing web searches like “Things to do in Arizona” or “Free Activities for families in Washington, D.C.” will provide a wealth of ideas for activities from which to choose.
If you are open to being flexible trip planners and discounters like Expedia, Travelocity, and ORBITZ can be very helpful for keeping the “budget” happy!
After establishing a budget, choosing a location, and selecting activities, a great next step is to print out a map of the area to circle sights to visit. If a vacation is for a certain city, like New York, download a city map, which usually has tourist sites and famous attractions labeled.
AAA is a great source for traveling maps and the Chamber of Commerce for a city is, as well. If the area for a vacation is larger, for instance various sightseeing spots with a state or a couple of states, travelers can download state maps as well from each state for free or inexpensively.
Seeing the actual location of activities is a handy tool for choosing the timing and order of how to a plan daily schedule. Add a couple of “alternate activities” in case of unforeseen changes—it is always better to be prepared, rather than be stuck. Included in that “schedule” should be plenty of downtime just to enjoy being together sans any stress!
Another important key to planning the perfect vacation is flexibility. Being open to new experiences, in the midst of the typical vacation for a family will bring a sense of adventure to the trip. Although, planning a vacation is crucial to success, being open to unforeseen changes is also critical.