6 Tips for Organizing the Family Vacation of Your Dreams
Family vacations can be the stuff dreams are made from, but without some decent planning, they can easily turn into a living nightmare.
If you get it right, you will make some excellent memories, where each member of the family returns from the vacation feeling relaxed and happy. This is what a great family vacation feels like. What you don't want is the kind of vacation where everyone falls out and the return journey involves a lot of stonewalling and recrimination. Or worse, someone ends up going home early and ghosting the rest of the family for months.
Read on for some useful tips, so you can avoid making any mistakes that lead to the above scenarios.
Have a Family Conference
The first step is to bring everyone together, either in person or via a video chat platform like FaceTime or Zoom. This is an opportunity to find out what people want from the vacation, as well as set expectation levels. For example, if your teenage daughter thinks you'll be staying at a 5-star luxury resort and your budget won't stretch beyond camping in a National Park, now is the time to put her straight and prevent a massive tantrum on Day One of the vacation.
Set a Budget
Most people aren't lucky enough to have an unlimited budget for a family vacation. Otherwise, the world would be your oyster. Private island, anyone?
It's important to have a budget in mind before you start planning the logistics of your vacation. This doesn't mean itemizing everything in a spreadsheet, although feel free to do this if that's how you roll. Look at how much you can afford to spend, taking into account any contributions from family members, and use this as a starting point. There may be scope to make savings in some areas, but don't treat this as a done deal.
Choose a Location with Something for Everyone
Location is important. Not everyone has the same expectations from a family vacation. Some family members might be looking forward to lying in the sun for seven days, whereas children will expect plenty of entertainment, such as a swimming pool or theme parks.
Try and pick a location that has something for everyone. For example, a resort hotel has a lot to offer the whole family, whereas a secluded log cabin might appeal to older relatives who want some peace and quiet plus a spot of fishing.
Book Flights and Accommodation Early
The best deals go quickly. For this reason, it is a good idea to book your flights and accommodation as soon as you have nailed down dates everyone is happy with.
Use online tools to find the best deals. This link to an easy-to-follow Google Flights tutorial can help you find cheaper flights via the world's largest search engine.
Plan an Itinerary
Itineraries help you make the most of the time you have available. This is especially helpful when everyone has their own ideas about what they want to see and do. Create an itinerary if there are lots of sights to explore or you're trying to pack a lot into a short time.
Make an online itinerary and share it with everyone who's going on the trip, so they can add their own notes and places they'd like to visit.
Remember to Relax
Finally, don't forget to make time for relaxation. Vacations can be a bit full-on at times, especially when you try and squeeze as much fun as possible out of a week with the family. Remember, it can take a couple of days to wind down if you haven't been on vacation for a while.
With the right planning, you can look forward to a dream vacation with your family. Doesn't that sound amazing?