Taking a trip with your family is a lot of fun. Unfortunately, like most things in life it doesn’t just happen spontaneously. It takes a lot of work to plan a great family vacation.
The good news is,it doesn’t have to be too hard and can be fun.
Here are five steps to use when planning trips:
1. What are we going to do?
When I begin planning a trip, I check out lots of travel sites, especially those offering other reviewers comments.
However, remember to take those comments with a grain of salt. Usually for every person who loved something, there is a person who hated it. Take some time to actually read the comments and from what is mentioned, decide what is important to you.
2. Where are we going to eat?
Search restaurants close by to attractions you are visiting. This step takes me a bit more time because I like to find the actual web sites of the places and check out the menu, pricing, and overall atmosphere for kids.
Keep in mind, if your hotel offers free breakfast or if your room has a kitchen, you will want to plan in-room meals accordingly. You’ll probably want to map out the nearest grocery store too.
3. How will we know what to do when?
As I’m planning what we’ll do and where we’ll eat, I’m also thinking about when we’re going to be doing it all. Your best bet is to create an agenda or schedule of what you’re doing when. It is really helpful to see it all together and understand if it all fits.
After you’re done, print the schedule with maps so you have everything you’ll need.
4. Did you bring the band-aids?
After planning the activities and creating the schedule, I determine what I need to pack. It’s critical to put this step at the backend of your planning. Why bring something if you don’t need it? When traveling with kids, you already have so much stuff you need to bring, don’t add extra stuff that isn’t necessary.
5. What time is it?
Some trips include destinations with time changes. You may want to begin adjusting you and your kids sleep schedules accordingly. That way, when you arrive it’s not a difficult change and might be easier for kids to keep up with the agenda with those nasty meltdowns (theirs or yours).
My last suggestion is just to think. You think all the time so I didn’t make it a whole new step, just a final suggestion. Think through the whole trip, each activity, each location, etc. – is there anything you forgot to pack, to reserve, to confirm, to print?
Also, don’t forget to think through what would normally be happening at home. This will help you to remember to stop the paper, have the neighbor get the mail, tell your son’s coach he won’t be at baseball practice…excuse me, I’ve got a call to make!
If you want more tips…check out my book!