Travel broadens the horizons, it expands the mind, and if you are traveling with kids, it creates memories that will last a lifetime. However, what you do not want is for those memories to be of mom or dad complaining about the cost of the trip and how everyone had better appreciate the sacrifices made for this family vacation.
Taking the family on holiday should be an enjoyable experience, for everyone! Part of making sure that this happens is to involve everyone in planning the trip, but also making sure that there is a lot of flexibly in your plans. Yes, you may have planes or boats to catch, but allow time in between to stop and explore things that are interesting.
Budgeting A Family Holiday
You do not need to go away every weekend, nor do you need to plan a world trip every year, but getting away for a week or two with the family each year can be enough to revive everyone and reconnect as a family. It is this time that can create the most magical memories. However, it does not need to cost you a year’s salary if you plan ahead, and you can click here for tips and tricks on planning family holidays on a budget.
Look at if you are going to be travel by car, bus, train, or plane. How far are you traveling? Are you heading for someone specific or are you wanting to explore along the way road-trip style? For exploring vacations maybe, you could look at renting a motorhome or caravan, if you are really adventurous you might even consider putting a tent up in camping grounds on route. If you are going for longer than 10 days, add a little extra into your budget to allow for staying a night or two in a motel or hotel, just to provide a break from weather and catch up with any washing.
Planning As A Family
Although, how you work this out will depend on the age of the children, but often a great way to plan a yearly family vacation is to pull out a map and work out where you want to go first. Then give each of the children a (small) budget that can be used for activities either in the location or on route. This might include certain amusement parks, eating at novelty restaurants, visiting specific tourist destinations, or staying at particular spots.
Doing things this way everyone gets to have the enjoyment of planning what they want to do. The trick is to make sure that you can not only budget it all in, but plan out the logistics, making sure that you allow for the incidental changes in schedules that will always happen, whether because of closures, weather, or illness. You may even want to consider having an alterative plan if something unavoidable means that one of the children’s plans get’s cancelled and make sure that they are aware of this as a possibility. There has even been research to try and work out how to schedule holidays so that visiting people does not cause excess stress. https://arxiv.org/abs/1408.2279
Managing everyone expectations helps to create a family holiday where spending time with the family is the actual goal, and the adventures that are had on the way are just the method not the reason. This is, of course, behavior that must be modeled by parents too, so if things do not go quite to plan try to remember that it is about relaxing with your family, not getting to a location on time and this is another reason to make sure you have included a night in a motel in your budget too.
Whether you are thinking about visiting somewhere 30 minutes down the road or traveling to the other side of the world, the internet is here to help you. Not only can you use tools like Google Maps and Google Earth to plan your route, but you can check expected weather, whether things are open, and use sites like TripAdvisor to look for recommendations.
If you are on social media, ask what people would recommend in the area, and ask why they recommend it. Even short vacations are great for stress relief if you let them be.
Take Lots Of Pictures
There are a lot of memes around saying that we should spend less time with our phones and more time appreciating the view. While, yes, this is true, getting a cheap digital camera that the kids and you can use can help create some very special memories too. Take the time to choose which settings you want to capture and try to get pictures of everyone in the family. They do not always need to be posed, but part of the fun of photography is working out what to photograph — although, if you have budding photographers you might actually want to put a time limit on how long they can spend taking pictures and on how long they can expect anyone to pose for them.
In all great holidays, flexibility is key!