How do you plan for the ideal family vacation? This is a loaded question because there are many factors to consider for things to go smoothly.
The first thing, of course, on your list should be planning your budget, making sure that you have enough money for the trip and that your vacation won’t cause financial hardships for the rest of the year. Usually, this is easily arranged by saving for a year ahead of your planned vacation so that you don’t tap into your regular cash flow at all.
Aside from budget, there are many more decisions that you need to make to get ready for the trip. You have to decide where to go, where to stay when you get there, how to pack for the trip, and how to make sure the kids are occupied from the time you leave your home until you return.
Let’s take a look at all these various considerations:
- Where to go and where to stay when you get there.
When deciding on a destination, the main thing is to decide if it’s a place where there is something for everyone and if it is an affordable destination when it comes to travel expenses and the cost of food, entertainment, and accommodation. When it comes to accommodations, you are likely to save money by booking your hotel in advance.
Assuming that you don’t want to travel overseas, but just vacation in the United States, you’re still faced with a bewildering variety of choices. If you live in a colder state, you might be thinking of California, in which case, you might also be thinking of exploring beautiful beaches.
One place that might just have everything you’re looking for is Carlsbad. Besides 7 miles of coastline, where your family can enjoy fishing, surfing, swimming, boat tours, and other water sports at Carlsbad State Beach, other things reasons to vacation here include having plenty of things to do when you’re not enjoying the beach, like visiting water and amusement parks, museums, zoos, and aquariums. You can also go on nature hikes and see various historic landmarks. Additionally, Carlsbad has plenty of concerts, shows, and other entertainment to keep your whole family agog. Your kids might be especially thrilled by a visit to LEGOLAND while you and your spouse might enjoy the famous Carlsbad Flower Fields.
- How to pack for the trip.
As you go through the house, you can probably identify a large number of things that will be useful for your trip. However, you should make an effort to pack in a thoughtful way. There are plenty of supermarkets and superstores open 24 hours a day where you can get most of your smaller practical items.
When packing for your vacation, focus on essentials: the number of outfits for each child, swimming suits for every family member, clothes for different types of occasions, and so on. Besides deciding what to take, also decide what kind of luggage will work best for your trip. This, of course, will depend on whether you are traveling by air or driving. If possible, use a variety of different bags as it will be easier to sort things out when you unpack. If you’re going by air, for example, have a carry-on where you can pack your essentials just in case there is a delay in your flight or your luggage is lost. If you’re driving, then think more in terms of a small duffel bag with snacks, toys, electronic devices, and books, as this will make a long trip more interesting.
- How to make sure the kids are occupied from the time you leave your home until you return.
In order to make sure that your kids enjoy the trip, think in terms of a flexible itinerary and of a predictable routine.
When you have a flexible itinerary, you’ll avoid the two perils of scheduling too much or scheduling too little. If your daily sightseeing trips include a long list of places to see and things to do, then you will exhaust yourself trying to stay on schedule. You also won’t be able to savor much of anything if you’re rushing through it all. Conversely, if you don’t plan enough, then you’ll waste plenty of time trying to decide where to go next and what to do. You’ll probably also regret many missed opportunities because you didn’t consider your full range of options when deciding where to go. When you’re flexible, you’ll have a good idea of where you want to go, but remain open to staying longer in one place or visiting a place that isn’t on your list.
Everyone likes predictability, especially smaller children. Keep your regular routine as far as meal times, baths, and bedtime. Also, take along familiar storybooks for bedtime reading and favorite toys.
By budgeting ahead of time, planning carefully, and getting everyone’s input on what’s fun to do, you will enjoy a wonderful family vacation.