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There are many things to consider when planning a trip, especially if you’re traveling with family. From finding the perfect destination to packing everyone’s bags, the process can be overwhelming.
If you’re looking to get away with your family but don’t have a lot of time, you’re in luck. With a little planning and these helpful tips, you can make sure your next family vacation is smooth sailing and helps you have fun within a short timeframe.
Here are a few tips to help you plan a short trip with your family.
How To Plan a Short Trip With Family
1. Choose a Place That Everyone Will Enjoy
When planning a short trip with family, it is important to choose a place that everyone will enjoy.
If you have young children, a place like an amusement park or a water park may be a good option. These places usually have something for everyone, and they can be a lot of fun.
If you have older children or the adults in the group have specific interests, you may want to choose a place that caters to those interests. For example, if you have a family member who loves to golf, you may want to consider a trip to a golf resort. Or, if you have a family member who is a history buff, you may want to consider a trip to a historical city or a museum.
No matter what type of place you choose, it is important to ensure that it is affordable for everyone in the group.
2. Look for a Hotel/Resort Close to The Place You Want to Visit
If you’re planning a short day trip, this won’t be an issue. However, booking the right accommodation should be your priority if you’re planning a family trip for 2-3 days. There are plenty of websites with reviews and ratings of hotels and different resorts, so it’s easy to find places within driving distance of your destination.
Make sure the hotel or resort has the amenities you need, plus ones that will make your stay more enjoyable (like pools or spas). Many hotels and resorts now offer play areas, kid-friendly pools, and even babysitting services.
3. Get the Kids Involved in Planning
We all know how important it is to get the kids involved in the planning process when we’re taking a trip with the family. But sometimes, figuring out how to get them engaged and excited about the trip can be tough. Here are a few tips to get the kids involved when planning a short trip with family:
- Let them help choose the destination. If they have a say in where the family is going, they’ll be more likely to be excited about the trip.
- Ask them what activities they want to do. What sights do they want to see? What attractions do they want to visit?
- Get them involved in the logistics. Have them help with packing, researching restaurants, or mapping out the route.
- Ask for their input on the budget. What are their thoughts on how much money should be spent on the trip?
- Let them help with the planning. Give them a blank calendar and have them fill in the activities for each day.
4. Traveling To the Destination by Airplane
Air travel is the most practical option for a short trip with family, as you don’t have much time for a long drive. Here are a few tips on air travel:
● Get your child a passport. If you’re planning to travel abroad and your kid is over two years old, this should be a priority as these things often take longer than expected.
● Book air tickets in advance. Otherwise, you may end up paying more than the budget. Purchase at least 6-8 weeks before the trip to get a good price.
● Try to get seats together. This one is pretty obvious, but it’s worth mentioning. It’ll be much easier to watch your kids if they’re seated next to you.
● Bring snacks and drinks for everyone. This will help keep everyone’s energy up and minimize meltdowns.
● Bring entertainment – books, games, etc. This is especially important for younger kids who might struggle to sit still for long periods.
● Have a plan for dealing with jet lag. If you’re traveling to a different time zone, it’s important to have a plan for dealing with jet lag. This might include letting your kids sleep on the plane or getting up and moving around as much as possible once you land.
5. Driving to the Destination
If air travel is too costly for your family, or if the destination is less than 6-8 hours from home, we suggest you drive to your destination.
In that case, it is a good idea to map out the route before setting out on the trip. This will help avoid getting lost and will help make the trip more efficient. It is also a good idea to bring along a GPS system or use a mapping app on your phone to help with navigation.
Another thing to remember when driving to the destination is the amount of time it will take to get there. It is important to factor in rest stops, gas stops, and other possible delays. It is also good to arrive at the destination early, so there is time to explore and relax.
6. Create a Packing List
When planning a family vacation, it’s important to create a packing list, so you don’t forget anything important. Here are some things to consider when packing for a short family vacation.
Clothing: You’ll need to pack enough clothes for everyone in the family, including clothes for warm and cold weather if you’re traveling to a place with varying temperatures. Don’t forget to pack swimsuits, too!
Shoes: Everyone will need at least one pair of comfortable walking shoes. Depending on your plans, you may also want to pack sandals or other types of shoes.
Toiletries: Be sure to pack all the toiletries you need, including shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, and a toothbrush. You may also need to pack diapers and wipes while traveling with young children.
Electronics: You’ll want to bring along your cell phone and charger, as well as any other electronics you may need, such as a laptop, tablet, or e-reader. Don’t forget your camera so you can capture memories of your trip!
Money: Bring some cash in case you need to buy anything while on the road. Cards may not be accepted everywhere.
Miscellaneous Items: You may want to pack a first-aid kit, sunscreen, insect repellent, and snacks. If you’re traveling with young children, you may also need to pack some toys and books to keep them entertained.
7. Have Flexible Schedules
Here are some tips after you get to the destination:
Don’t plan every minute. Leave some free time in the schedule for everyone to do their own thing. Also, try to limit yourself to only one or two significant tasks or trips each day (like going to a museum or water park)
Be flexible with activities. If something isn’t working out, be willing to change plans. For example, don’t make your children participate in an activity just because it was on the schedule if none of you are enjoying it.
Don’t overschedule. Remember that vacations are supposed to be relaxing. Try not to plan any demanding outdoor activities (like hiking or running) during the warmest time of the day in the summer (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm)
Communicate with your family. Make sure everyone is on the same page about the day’s plan.
Be prepared to go with the flow. Things will inevitably not go according to plan, so be prepared to roll with the punches.
8. Make Room For Various Group Activities
You can feel pressured to participate in the same activities as a family. But you ought to be willing to divide into groups according to everyone’s interests.
For instance, you should feel comfortable splitting apart for a short while if you and your daughter want to go shopping, but your spouse and son want to take a surfing class.
9. Create Memories With Your Family
Assign your children the task of gathering souvenirs from your vacation, such as ticket stubs, candy wrappers from their favorite candy store, seashells, or even a little jar of sand or soil from the beach. You can also create a travel photo book.
10. Take Breaks Throughout the Trip
We all know the feeling of being on vacation and feeling stressed out. Whether it’s because we’re trying to cram too much into our trip or we’re just not used to being in a new place, it’s important to take some time to relax and rejuvenate while we’re away from home.
One way to do this is to take breaks throughout the day, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Taking breaks throughout the day and planning some downtime for your trip will help you avoid feeling overwhelmed or cranky while you’re away from home. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be on the go all the time.
11. Make Time for a Special Date Night
Many hotels provide babysitting services that you may make use of for your date night if you want to have a romantic supper out with your spouse. If you’re traveling with another couple and their children, you can also swap babysitting duties to make the most of your short vacation.
The best tips for planning a short trip with family are to choose a destination close to home, make a list of must-see attractions, pack light, and be flexible. By following these tips, you and your family can save money and still have a great time together.
Also, when planning a short trip with family, it is important to consider the needs and interests of everyone involved. Doing so can create a stress-free trip that the whole family will enjoy and make lasting memories.