Family Vacation

The family vacation is perhaps the most common vacation taken by people each year. It may refer to the nuclear family trip (Mom, Dad and the kids) as well as the extended family or family reunion trip. What’s great about this type of vacation is that there are so many different destinations and experiences that it can include.

Common types of family vacations

The most common types of family vacations are:

  • Parents vacationing with their kids especially toddlers, children and teens
  • Family vacations to visit extended family members especially grandparents
  • Extended family vacations together, especially cruises

Popular destinations for family vacations

A family may decide to go almost anywhere, of course, especially if they’re visiting relatives who live someplace else in the world. That said, some of the more common destinations for family vacations include:

  • Popular theme parks especially Disneyland and Disney World
  • Resort destinations including beach resorts and ski resorts
  • Major world cities such as New York, Los Angeles and London
  • National parks such as Yellowstone or major natural attractions like Niagara Falls
  • Campgrounds

When to take a family vacation

There are some very common times of year to take family vacations including:

  • Summer when the kids are out of school
  • Winter break especially during the week of Christmas and New Years
  • Long weekends such as Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend

Other great times to consider taking a family vacation include:

  • Children’s birthdays
  • School holidays if your kids aren’t on a traditional school year
  • Spring break

Transportation considerations for family vacations

One of the most important things to figure out when planning a family vacation is how you are going to travel there. Consider the following options:

  • Road trips. This is one of the most affordable and popular options for families that are traveling short distances together. This allows you to see many different destinations. It is especially popular for camping vacations.
  • Airplanes. The more people you have going on a plane, the pricier it’s going to be. However, this is the quickest way to get most places so it’s still a popular choice for families.
  • Cruises. There are many, many different cruise vacations that are designed specifically for families so this is another top choice.
  • Train travel. This type of travel is considered to be romantic and often preferred by couples but families can enjoy some fun downtime together by taking a train to their destination.

Tips for planning a family vacation

There are many approaches that you can take when planning a family vacation but some of the top tips to follow include:

  • Allow everyone to get involved in the trip planning process. Let teens and older children pick at least one activity or destination for the trip. Give younger kids either/or choices to get them involved as well.
  • Put one person in charge of the final trip planning. Although the whole family should be involved, the responsibility for getting the trip totally executed should fall on one person to make sure that everything gets done.
  • Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going. Trips with family members inevitably involve stops and delays. Keep the vacation stress free by giving yourself plenty of time to get where you’re going.
  • Keep extended family trips short. Spending too much time with a large number of family members usually brings up old family issues. Short trips tend to be better for large family groups.
  • Create an itinerary but be willing to be flexible about it. Having a schedule and a general plan will make the trip go more smoothly but you should be willing to take detours and change your plans as needed.
  • Get each child his or her own little suitcase or backpack. This helps with the travel packing process.
  • Set a budget and stick to it. This is important for all travel and is especially important for families that are already on a budget.

Additional tips for family vacations

Keep these things in mind:

  • The kids are kids. They won’t be happy during the entire trip. Anticipate this. Do what you can to make sure they’re comfortable (well fed, enough time to nap, etc.) but expect some travel hassles. Also plan to do activities that are appropriate for the ages of the kids.
  • Splitting up can be a good idea for family vacations. Do a lot of activities together but then split up as well. Have one parent take the kids so the other can do something enjoyable or have older kids go with one parents and younger kids with the other to fit in different age-appropriate activities.
  • Mom and Dad should work hard to be on the same page. Nothing ruins a family vacation faster than if the parents are fighting. Work on your communication and compromise skills for family vacations!
  • Take lots of photos! Family vacations are meant to be remembered!