Imagine this: it's summer, which means the kids are out of school, but it's also mid-July and you are quickly running out of things to keep them busy. On top of that, everyone is getting a bit stir crazy. Sound familiar? If so, one of the most logical next steps may just be a family vacation. Not only can it be a nice change of scenery, but it also keeps everyone busy and satisfied. Planning the perfect summer family vacation can be tricky, however. Not only is it important to plan ahead and make sure all of your ducks are in a row, but there's also that intense pressure of making sure schedules line up and everyone is happy with both the destination and itinerary. Keep in mind, however, that family vacations are supposed to be a fun bonding experience, not a drag. If planned correctly, your family vacation of Summer 2019 has the potential to be the best one yet. Follow some of these quick tips and guidelines for a family friendly, unforgettable summer vacation:
1. Start Planning ASAP
While it may prove tempting to pack up and go as soon as the vacation inspiration hits you, try your best to not give in to this temptation. Take your time. Your vacation will not run nearly as smoothly or be half as fun if the details are not fine tuned. This is especially true for those with bigger families, as more people to accommodate also means more details to be planned out. If your destination is one that requires plane travel, waiting until the last minute to book a flight is usually much pricier than booking further in advance, especially during summer, a peak travel season.
2. It's OK to be Picky When Choosing a Flight
Do not book the first flight that pops up in your initial Google search. Try your best to be thorough in your research and come to an informed decision. For example: maybe after searching through all of the possible flight options, you find that it is ultimately cheaper to do a road trip and drive to your destination instead of flying. Or maybe a different website has the same exact flight for $100 less. Ultimately, it all comes down to the research.
3. Physically Type Out and Print Your Daily Itinerary/Plans
You know what they say: you're better off safe than sorry. While it may seem meticulous, it will not be a waste of your time. Everybody knows that any vacation never goes exactly as planned. Stuff happens.Things change. Moods change. Plans change. But you will be better off meandering away from your initial plans than showing up and not knowing where to go or what to do. You never want anyone to get bored, as boredom is most likely what you were trying to escape in the first place. Additionally, you will want to make sure that everyone is heard. Include on the itinerary at least one thing that each person wants to do or experience. Vacations aren't fun if not everyone is having a good time.
4. Pack Snacks
This tip is helpful for both air and road travel. Perhaps the most important advantage of packing snacks is the money saving aspect. Grabbing some snacks at your local grocery store or gas station is much cheaper than paying for everyone to eat at a restaurant. It also proves helpful if you have an extra long flight and/or meals and snacks are not a complimentary feature of your flight. Additionally, it offers a greater variety as not everyone will always agree on which drive-thru to hit up at the next exit. Another great advantage to packing snacks is that it keeps everyone happy. Nobody can complain that they need to stop for food, and ultimately hold up the trip, if you are sufficiently stacked up on snacks.
5. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Don't get discouraged at every little bump in the road (metaphorical or not) and don't let it ruin your vacation. Unfortunately, mishaps are inevitable. You may as well embrace them as they come and keep moving on. Always remember that no vacation is perfect, and road bumps are just part of the experience.
6. Be Present
And not just physically. Often times, it can be all too easy to get caught up in the little details and try to make sure that everything is perfect and everyone is happy. While those aspects of the trip are important, they shouldn't become SO important that you forget to be present emotionally as well. You might miss out on some amazing sights and experiences if you are too worried about the nitty gritty mechanical details of the trip.
7. Utilize the Buddy System
This one may seem obvious, but it's too important not to mention. Even just accidentally making a right turn when everyone else makes a left can be dangerous, depending on factors such as location and time of day. Before you leave, make sure that everyone has a designated buddy.
8. Plan Down Time
When mapping out your itinerary, make sure to carve out some leisure time in there. Avoid an itinerary that is 'go go go' 100% of the time. You do not want your only down time to be when you are asleep. This will leave you tired, grumpy, and resentful.
9. Be a Minimalist Packer
Again, this is a helpful tip for both air and road travel. When travelling by car, out of hand packing will quickly lead to a cramped car, claustrophobic passengers, and possibly limited road visibility for the driver. For those traveling in the air, packing light can save you money. Luggage that weighs heavier than the limit will rack up a hefty monetary charge, and carry-ons that are larger than the designated size will result in an up-charge. Depending on the airline, they may even make you leave behind a carry-on that they deem too large for safe travel. Additionally, vacationers almost always come back home with more than they left with. It is fairly likely that you will acquire souvenirs and other miscellaneous new items while on vacation, and it is important to make sure there is room to bring them home in your luggage.
10. Weigh Your Lodging Options
While your initial go-to when booking your housing accommodations will likely be established hotels, do not forget about your other viable options. AirBnB is rapidly growing and giving the hotel business a run for their money. Often times, AirBnB will be the more cost effective option, while also offering more flexibility in terms of location and coziness. Hostels are always an option as well, but probably not the safest choice when travelling with children.
Following these quick tips and guidelines won't guarantee you a picture perfect, hiccup-free vacation, but they will definitely help you along the path of attaining a smoothly run summer experience. If you were looking for inspiration, or a sign that it's the right time for your next vacation, this might be it. Start planning, start saving, and start taking action. Once you embark, don't be shy... Keep us updated! Tag us in your family fun vacation pictures on Facebook this summer at https://www.facebook.com/C21Affiliated/.