As moms, we’re usually responsible for planning family vacations, and that comes with a lot of responsibility. You have to think about things like cost and logistics, but at the end of the day, you also want everyone to enjoy themselves. You want to plan a memorable family vacation that everyone thinks is great, so how can you do that?
This can be especially challenging when you’re dealing with different age groups and interests for a family vacation.
The following are some tips to keep in mind for planning a memorable family vacation.
Choose the Right Destination
In order to have a truly memorable travel experience with your family, it’s important to choose the right destination, but this is going to mean something different for every family.
You will want to think about the ages of your kids and anyone else who will be on the trip, and it’s always good to ask for input.
If you incorporate the entire family into the decision-making process, you’re more likely to come up with a destination that everyone is going to like.
You might even want to have everyone vote, to make it a little more fun.
Think About Practicality with Your Accommodations
Maybe the nicest hotel where you’re going is not within walking distance from the main attractions. This can make it a challenge for your family to get around.
Don’t necessarily go with the most obvious choice of a hotel or accommodations—instead, think about what’s going to truly make you comfortable while you’re away.
For example, will everyone have space to spread out? Will you have access to a kitchen or at the very least, a coffeemaker and microwave?
For family vacations, if you can’t find a hotel that will meet your needs, consider a home or apartment rental instead. Then, you have the conveniences of home so you can focus on your experiences rather than dealing with the discomfort of inconvenient accommodations.
You might also want to map out some of the essential places you’ll need access to ahead of your trip, so you’re not spending time while you’re away figuring it out. For example, find the nearest pharmacy and grocery store where you’ll be staying.
In general, along with considering the practicality of your accommodations, you also want to ensure that you minimize as many logistical issues as you can ahead of time. This might mean planning for a direct flight rather than a flight with layovers or staying in one location versus going from city-to-city if you’re abroad.
Give Yourself Free Time
Planning a memorable family vacation does mean that you try and figure out the logistics as much as you can ahead-of-time, but you also need to give yourself and your family free time. You might want to block out a chunk of time for cultural or planned activities each day, and then another chunk of time where you can wander around freely without anywhere to be.
If you are traveling to a place where you’re going to do cultural activities, such as the museums of Europe, you might want to do those first each day while your kids are rested and more likely to enjoy them. Then, you can do things like going to a park or getting ice cream later in the day.
As you do with choosing a destination, get input from everyone in the family. Ask your spouse, kids and anyone else you’ll be traveling with what interests them and what they’d most like to see or do while you’re gone.
Get Off the Beaten (Tourist) Path
No matter where you’re going, if you only stick to the places tourists go, you’re going to miss a lot of the possible memories that come with experiencing a destination like a local. Plus, it can be more expensive to eat, drink and shop if you’re only in tourist areas.
Before you head to your destination, do some research and try to find restaurants or other places to visit that a tourist might not ordinarily think to go.
Finally, a big part of a memorable family vacation means that you can look back on those memories.
As moms, we often remember to take pictures and videos of everyone else, but we’re not necessarily in most of them. Talk to your family ahead of time and ask them to make sure they take photos of you as well, especially those treasured candid photos. Sometimes a gentle reminder can go a long way.