When it was just you on your own or even you and your partner, choosing where to go on vacation probably wasn’t too difficult, but now that you have kids in the mix, how do you go about choosing a holiday that suits everyone? It’s still possible, but it takes a little more work. Planning the ideal trip should involve everyone.
Review Your Finances
Some vacations are simply going to be out of your reach, so the first step is figuring out what you can afford. Keep in mind that a vacation visiting family nearby can be as relaxing and memorable as one to faraway places that you spend a lot of money to get to, so don’t think of this as a limitation. The family vacation should fit into the budget just like anything else. If you’ve had any big family changes recently, this could be a little trickier. For example, if either parent or a child has started college, finances might be tighter than usual. Many people take out student loans to cover college expenses to repay after graduation, but these generally don’t take care of all costs. If these costs are taking up a big part of your budget, you might want to look into taking out additional loans from brick-and-mortar or online lenders. Whether your budget is larger or smaller than last year, make the necessary adjustments and then narrow down the possibilities before you involve your children.
Have a Family Meeting
This should be a vacation for everyone, and kids will feel more ownership if they are allowed to participate in a decision about where to go. With younger children, it’s best to avoid open-ended questions. Instead, you can give them a choice between three or four destinations, or ask them if they’d prefer to go someplace hot or someplace cold. Older kids can participate more in planning based on their interests.
All-Inclusive or Independent
Do you want a vacation that has lots of activities available for everyone, such as you might find at a resort or on a cruise? Or would you prefer to plan things on your own? Parents of young children often prefer the former simply because there tend to be structured activities their kids can enjoy that also function to give the parents a break. If your children are older and you all tend to go off and do your own thing, be sure to plan certain activities, such as evening meals together, that keep the “family” in family vacation.
Many spoiled vacations could have been saved with a little research ahead of time, whether that includes understanding that the hotel chosen is not as close to the beach as you’d imagined or finding out that the restaurants you’ve picked all have terrible reviews. Online research and even in-person recommendations are not foolproof, but they’re a good way to reduce the likelihood of disappointment as you make your final reservations and set off for what will hopefully be a few days of family fun and relaxation.