Planning a family vacation can be tough, and sometimes it only takes one excursion from home to make you realize how comfortable you were in your so-called humble abode. Yet, challenging as it may be, there is intangible value in taking time to experience new and favorite destinations with family. As children age and popular tourist trends shift, keeping these timeless planning points in mind will minimize pre-trip anxiety and post-trip regret.
Space for Downtime
It’s no secret that family members need moments for personal space while traveling, but the same applies to space for scheduled downtime. Especially when traveling to a tourist-heavy destination, it can be tempting to pack each day with endless back-to-back activities. This strategy will almost always end in a meltdown for you, your toddler, eighteen year old or spouse. Staying busy is fun and exciting in theory — and it seems silly to schedule in downtime — but the sense of adventure will fade quickly. If your trip is a week or longer, go for the “half minus one” method. So if your trip is ten days, schedule four lighter days. This doesn’t mean that you have to waste the day napping at the hotel; instead, simply decrease the day’s planned activities from three to one, order room service instead of walking to dinner, or plan to sleep in an extra hour. Making space for downtime doesn’t mean forgoing plans, it just means modifying them to address your mental health first.
The Frenzy Behind Where and When
If you’re traveling with a significant other or kids — solidifying plans in advance is key. Most vacation hot spots surge with visitors in the summer, making flights and lodging scarce. The stress of crowds and overpopulation can put a damper on any well-planned excursion. Instead, try planning your vacation during an “off” season. Visit a tropical locale during the winter, or see Napa Valley in the springtime. Get creative to find lower prices on hotels and flights, and enjoy your vacation without fighting the crowds.
Finding a Temporary Home
The rise of Airbnb has brought vacation rentals to the forefront of travel lodging. However, using these types of applications is not the only way to get a bigger (literally) bang for your buck. Most hotels and resorts have larger villa or bungalow options. While these stays may sound more expensive, they often come with inclusive dinner, golf or spa packages. Not to mention, if you are traveling with a large group, you may end up spending less by staying in a larger place. These home-like spaces often come with half or full kitchens, meaning you can save money by making some of your own meals, instead of eating at pricey restaurants.