Planning a memorable, fun-filled family vacation takes thought, preparation, and care. From picking the perfect destination that fits your family’s interests and budget to finding cheap flights and hotels, packing strategically, and planning activities for the trip itself, there are many components that go into creating a getaway that delights everyone. Follow these seven awesome tips to make your next family getaway an affordable, smooth, and unforgettable bonding experience for all.
The first step is deciding where to go. Think about what your family enjoys doing together – are you beach people, or do you prefer exploring a new city? Do your kids love amusement parks or hands-on museums? Narrow down your destination based on interests and budget and check the reviews of family-friendly hotels and attractions before making any firm plans.
Find Cheap Flights
Flights can be one of the biggest expenses for a family vacation. Be flexible with your dates and airports to get the lowest fares. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday are generally the cheapest days to fly, and it’s best to shop on Tuesday afternoons when many airlines release discounted seats. Use flight search engines to compare options across airlines and get alerts for price drops from the busiest airports. Consider budget carriers if you can pack lightly and don’t need seat assignments.
Make a Budget
Add up the costs for flights, hotels, your rental car, food, activities, and incidentals. Decide what you’re willing to splurge on and where you can cut back. Build in a buffer for unexpected expenses. Track your spending while traveling to avoid going over budget. Setting a vacation budget will help make the trip more enjoyable and less stressful.
Overpacking leads to stuffed suitcases that are hard to maneuver and high baggage fees. Make a list of everything you’ll need and go through it again to eliminate non-essentials. Roll clothes tightly and use packing cubes to save on space. Wear bulky shoes and jackets on the plane. Have each family member use a carry-on bag plus one checked bag if possible. Many airlines offer free carry-ons for children, so you might as well make use of this if you’re able.
Research Family Discounts
Many hotels, tours, museums, and attractions offer discounted rates for children or families traveling together. Check company websites or call ahead to ask about family packages and kids-eat-free meal policies. Look for free museums and attractions like zoos and public gardens. Consider an all-inclusive resort where meals, activities, and amenities are included. Join hotel loyalty programs for points towards free stays.
Make a Plan
Having an itinerary will help you make the most of your time and reduce stress. Book any tours, shows, or activities you definitely want to do in advance. Allow downtime between major activities. Factor in pool time, naps for little ones, and chill time for teens. Build in flexibility for spontaneity too. Share daily plans with extended family joining the trip.
Long flights, train rides, and car trips go quicker when kids have entertainment on hand. Bring coloring books, portable games, books, and electronics loaded with movies and music. Wrap a few new toys or activities as surprises to open when boredom hits. Download apps with games and shows ahead of time. Have older kids come up with screen-free activities to lead. The journey can be part of the fun!
With smart preparation, your next family vacation can create wonderful memories without breaking the bank. Follow these tips to keep your getaway fun, affordable and hassle-free. The time together is what it’s all about!