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6 Essential Family Travel Tips

Summertime is in full swing and most families are on the move trying to fit in as much fun as possible before school starts.  When you think of all the different types of family vacations you can take, the possibilities are staggering.  However, when you keep the basics covered during your family vacation, you can take your kids just about anywhere and they will have the time of their lives.

Here are 6 essential tips for your next family vacation:

Involve everyone in the family during the planning stage

Enable each member of the family to choose and plan one activity. The kids will like having a voice in family decisions, and everyone will feel invested in the vacation.  If you have older kids, ask them to research popular activities on the web to provide some ideas for discussion.

Simplify packing by creating and using vacation-tested lists

This one is pure planning gold.  Most families have patterns and you can make planning and packing easier by establishing a core packing list.  You end up packing the same or similar essentials for virtually every trip.  Create the list and print it out to serve as your base list.  Then you can add the trip specific items to it.  Leave out a pad of paper a week before and begin to write down what to bring as the items come to mind. Use the combined list as the packing checklist to and back from vacation.  Also, if you go to the beach each summer or skiing in the spring, save those lists as well.  Will make next year’s trip packing a breeze.

Always book the first available flight

This is important and will save you a lot of trouble.  I know it can be tough getting up early, but the airport will be peaceful and quiet. The first plane also has the greatest chance of leaving on time. As the day progresses, flight delays start to mount and the terminal becomes filled with travelers.  Leave early, skip the stress and all the grouchy travelers.  And you’ll arrive at your destination earlier in the day so you can enjoy more vacation time.

Plan a vacation’s eve party and rehearse the security line

Parents stress about the airport experience, particularly going through the security checkpoint. Do a “practice run” the night before. Pretend your kitchen table is where you put your things, a salad bowl acts as a bin, a doorway works as a metal detector. The more you prepare and make it an adventure the less stressful (and quicker) going through security will be.  And the “party” will release some of the built-up anticipation the night before.

Make time for naps

This sounds a little silly, but it’s critical to fit in some shut-eye whenever you can. Naps are vital to a stress-free family vacation, so build in some kind of break every afternoon. If the kids don’t nap, have them draw or write in a journal. That quiet time will recharge everyone’s batteries for a more enjoyable evening.

Teach your kids how to buy souvenirs

Buying the right keepsake to remind you of a special trip is no easy task.  Plan to spend some time explaining the goal of souvenir and gift shopping to your little travel companions.  Then set a budget and coach them through a series of good choices vs. not so good choices.  Take time to help them grasp the attributes of a really good souvenir/gift.  Great exercise in budgeting and making it count!

What are your essential travel tips for family vacations?

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This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Family plays vital role in every person’s life. In vacation generally people like to make plan with family or friends. Its such essential tips to us. If people follow this tips than their trip become more memorable.

  2. I like the idea of getting everyone involved – I think that would definitely give everyone something to really look forward to and only add to the exccitement of the whole trip.

  3. I also like early morning flights. Kids tolerate being cooped up on a plane (or car) better when they aren’t tired and fidgety.

    To make getting out of the house easy, I just let my child wear PJs to the airport. they’re comfortable in the air conditioning and if they have feet you don’t have to worry about losing shoes along the way. I put clothes that are appropriate to our destination in her backpack and change her before we land or while we wait for our luggage. This is especially handy when it’s cold where we are and we’re traveling to a warm weather destination.

  4. These are great tips…especially using master packing lists! We’ve used this one for years…even when traveling without the kids. The other tip someone shared which has been super useful is organizing outfits into large ziplock bags.I assemble outfits for each day or special activity like beach day, museum day or going out to dinner. We marked each baggie with a picture the kids could understand before they could read. Every day they picked out their own outfit. At the end of the day dirty clothes went back into the same bag. We save the bags to reuse for every trip. This is especially helpful if you’re making multiple stops and want to leave some suitcases in the car. Just grab a baggie and you don’t have to worry about rummaging around for socks or forgetting clean underwear!

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