How to plan a family vacation with children? It’s a difficult task, I know. You might like to take a relaxing vacation to a countryside bed-and-breakfast, but your kids might prefer a beach trip with adventure-filled activities.
To make sure that everyone gets what they want out of your next family vacation, consider collaborating with your kids during the planning stages.
Why include kids in travel planning? They will feel more responsible for the trip, and might be more cooperative when it comes to choosing activities. When kids research, study, and choose among different options, they not only become more accountable, but also develop their thinking and decision-making skills.
Travel planning with children also teaches kids other important life skills like budgeting, time management, and cooperation. Moreover, no one is better than a child at coming up with out-of-the-box ideas and suggestions.
So, let’s dive into how you can involve your kids in travel planning.
How to plan a family vacation with children?
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1. Establish rules of acceptable behavior
The first rule to involve kids in travel planning? Set the expectations before your kid’s imagination explodes with impractical ideas that you cannot afford or execute.
Set a definite budget, and ask them to plan accordingly. Define boundaries on the places they can choose from, and if you have already finalized few travel decisions, state them beforehand. Also, let them know that the ultimate decision-maker is you.
Based on your kid’s behavior and other family priorities, try to set some rules that will assure a smooth travel experience. You can also include other rules about safety and good conduct during the trip. Finally, make sure that your kids agree to these rules so you can save yourself from a lot of stress.
2. Brainstorming to finalize the trip location
Know your kids’ interests before selecting your vacation destination. Do they want to explore a historical place with museums and monuments, or a location with adventure-filled activities?
After making a list of all the potential destinations, consider everyone’s interests, and assess various options.
To get some travel inspiration, you can try out the following activities with your kids:
2.1. Read travel magazines
Go to a nearby library and explore some travel and tourism magazines with your kids. Some popular magazines to look out for are National Geographic Traveler, Travel + Leisure, Wanderlust, Budget Travel, and Afar.
2.2. Watch travel shows
Apart from television networks like National Geographic and Discovery, you have a lot of travel shows on various streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Disney+. A few popular travel shows to binge with your kids include Street Food, Our Planet, and Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.
2.3. Explore Google
Sit with your kids while they explore various options on Google. Guide them to find relevant information, including details about various attractions, food, transportation, and the average cost of the vacation.
3. Learn about the chosen location together
After you collectively decide the destination, you can start learning more information about it. This pre-travel research can be an exceptional learning experience for kids where they get to explore the history, geography, and cultural details of a new place.
You can find various travel websites on Google with detailed information to analyze the pros and cons. Also, explore Google Maps to read reviews and look at photos. You can even take a virtual tour of any destination with a 360-degree view using the Street View feature.
You can also explore books and magazines to learn more about your chosen destination.
4. Give your kids lodging options to choose from
Kids can be picky with accommodations and want to stay at hotels and resorts with indoor pools, games, and kids’ clubs with entertaining activities.
So, choose a list of hotels or resorts that fit your budget, and let your kids have a say in the final decision. Include a variety of choices ranging from expensive options to cheaper alternatives, so that children learn to trade off one thing for another. A cheaper stay might allow fitting in one more attraction to the trip plan, so let the kids evaluate their priorities and help make the final decision.
5. Delegate each kid with different tasks.
You have three kids. What’s the best way to get the kids involved in travel planning so none of them feels left out? can assign total responsibility for a particular task to each of your children. While the collaborative activities help them learn cooperation, this task will help them learn how to handle things on their own.
Here are some important tasks to assign to your kids:
- Creating their travel packing checklist.
- Planning an entire day of a trip.
- Listing all of the important attractions of the chosen destination.
- Checking the ratings and reviews of various attractions.
- Making a shopping list for travel essentials.
- Studying important tourist guidelines for attractions.
6. Get your kids excited for the trip with fun activities
Waiting each day for the vacation to start is exciting. So, here are some activities to do with your kids which will add more value and joy to the trip.
6.1. Learning the local language
Learning a new language helps to improve problem-solving and creative thinking skills in your kids. So, try to use this opportunity to develop a new ability that will remain even after the trip ends. Help your children learn some of the basic words of the local language of your destination, so they can use them during the trip.
6.2. Start a countdown
Arts and crafts are fun activities that kids love to indulge in. So, create a DIY countdown craft with your kids and build up excitement for the trip.
6.3. Share your childhood travel experiences
Have you ever noticed how your kids’ eyes sparkle with awe when you tell them stories? If you share your childhood travel stories, they will be more excited than ever. Sharing the places you have visited and the activities that you did can inspire more ideas for the trip.
6.4. Start a family fund for the tour
When children contribute money from their piggy bank to fund travel, they will feel a sense of ownership. This activity will teach them the importance of money, and encourage them to save money.
6.5. Go travel shopping with kids
Ask your kids to make a personal shopping list, while staying within the budget. Plan an outing for shopping with kids, and end the day with a cozy family dinner.
7. Post-trip reflection with kids
You will have so many memories to cherish and so many learnings to take from the trip. Hold a family meeting where you discuss all of the things that you enjoyed while acknowledging the things that went wrong.
Transfer the vacation photos to the big screen, and dedicate an evening to play a slideshow of all the pictures.
You can also encourage your kids to create a vacation scrapbook. They can add trip pictures, document their entire journey, and decorate the book with stickers and drawings. This is a great way to relive all the beautiful memories for years to come.
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Final thoughts on how to plan a family vacation with children
I hope now you know how to plan a family trip. Taking a vacation with your children is quite literally the stuff memories are made of. For the rest of their lives, your kids will remember the sights and experiences of this trip, and you will as well. Thus, plan a family vacation with children. Involve them in planning as much as possible.
One aspect of planning the kids might not be aware of is the importance of purchasing travel insurance or travel medical insurance before the trip.
Can you imagine the hassle of your child’s suitcase getting lost, or having one of your children become sick or injured in a foreign country? By having suitable international insurance for everyone on the trip, you can be prepared for situations like these, and they’re less likely to negatively impact the vacation your whole family has worked so hard planning.
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