There’s no denying that family vacations are exciting. But they can also be stressful and expensive if you don’t plan ahead. Whether you’ve fully paid for your trip or are covering it with a personal loan, there are steps you can take to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Without further ado, here’s how to plan the perfect family vacation.

1. Decide on a destination

Figuring out where to go is no easy feat. After all, there are countless options. To hone in on the ideal destination, think about what your family loves to do. Maybe they enjoy hiking at national parks or hanging out at the beach. Or perhaps they prefer exploring museums, cities, or historical places.

Once you know the type of vacation, create a list of possible destinations and choose one based on your budget, the travel distance, flight availability, and other factors.

2. Create a budget

Planning a family vacation can be an exciting time, but it’s also one of the most important times to create a budget. Establishing a budget can help limit unexpected expenses, like late night meals out or overspending on shopping trips. Being aware of how much you have available to spend will make it easier for you to stick to the plan and avoid costly spur of the moment purchases. It’s definitely worth taking the time beforehand so that everyone can enjoy themselves and feel good knowing they are staying within the limits they set for themselves.

3. Book flights and accommodations

If your destination requires air travel, you’ll need to do some research to find flights that not only fit your budget but also depart and arrive at times that are convenient for your plans. Then, explore accommodation options.

Maybe you’ll stay with friends or family, but if not, you’ll need to do more research. While hotels and resorts are popular choices, you may be better off renting a house or condo. By doing so, you’ll have more space and potentially a kitchen you can use to prepare meals and save some serious cash.

4. Make rental car arrangements

If you won’t be in a walkable area, renting a car for your family vacation will make getting around to see the sights much easier. Unfortunately, since the pandemic began, many people have been relying on rental cars, which has led to increased demand and shortages.

Planning a family vacation can be stressful enough, and worrying about finding a rental car should not add to your stress. If you’re concerned about being able to secure an available vehicle for your upcoming vacation, consider booking early and confirming closer to your trip dates. It would also be helpful to shop around and see if any deals or promotions are available that could save you money in the long run.

4. Avoid overscheduling

While it may be tempting to jam-pack your travel itinerary, that could do more harm than good, especially if you have young children. Leave some time for everyone to relax and unwind. While buying advance tickets for activities may yield some cost-savings and ensure you’ll get in to the event, you should considering some impromptu activities.  Do your best to go with the flow and see where your vacation takes you.

5. Take an extra few days off to unwind at home

Taking an extra few days off from vacation can be a great idea. This can give you time to relax and decompress after the trip, and for busy lifestyles, it’s important to allow yourself to unpack and catch up on your life before you jump into work or school. On top of that, it helps with post-vacation clean up: it gives you the time to do laundry, put away souvenirs, or organize any travel photos – activities that would otherwise add one more chore to your ever-growing to-do list. Taking these few extra days when you return from vacation might be the mental break needed before returning to your routine!

The Bottom Line

A family vacation can lead to wonderful memories. To make the most of it be sure to plan ahead. Figure out the ideal destination, create a budget, book convenient flights and accommodations, don’t overschedule, and come home at least a day before you all resume normal life.


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