Think back to the first family vacation you can remember. Was it a camping road trip across the country? Or did your family head to a new city for a bit of urban exploration? No matter what you chose, you probably have strong memories of the trip.
Family vacations are a great way to spend time together and explore somewhere new. Planning them, however, can be challenging. It’s difficult to find a trip that checks everyone’s boxes. To help you plan your family vacation, we’ve listed eight steps to take. These will help you decide where to go and what to do.
Have fun on your family adventure!
8 Steps for Planning a Family Vacation
1. Name Three Activities Each person is Interested In
As you begin to plan your family vacation, start with the activities that interest you. Have each family member name three activities they’re interested in. Some ideas to consider include:
- Amusement parks
Check out our Adventure finder for more ideas.
2. Pick Three Regions that Sound Interesting
Next, each family member should pick three regions that might interest them. There are a couple ways to think about this. First is to think of natural features, like mountains or beaches, that you want in a destination. Second is to think of regions in a larger sense as separate cultures. Do you want to visit the South? New England? The West Coast?
3. Decide When To Travel
Now that you have some activities and regions in mind, choose when you’ll travel. This is an important deciding factor. If you’re looking for a warm beach getaway, you certainly wouldn’t want to visit the Great Lakes in spring!
4. Know Your Budget
A very important factor when planning a family vacation is to know your budget. Each additional family member adds costs. But that can also be a good thing. For reunions and large gatherings, the costs can be reduced by spreading them over a group. Look for rally-friendly resorts and campgrounds and see what they can offer for a large gathering.
You can also consider what to do based on your budget. Many national and state parks are free or offer low admission prices. There are also attractions, like the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., that are entirely free. Take time to look for these savings.
5. Think Through the Logistics
As you go down the list, decide how you’ll reach your destination. For families, a road trip is often the most economic choice. And if you’re RVing, it’s the only choice.
But if you’re getting a vacation rental, you can consider other options. You might prefer to fly in and rent a car. Or make the journey part of the excitement and take a train! It might take more time, but the trip can be very scenic and relaxing.
Don’t forget about snacks for the trip. Things like nuts, dried fruit, jerky, and chips make great snacks. You can also try these energy ball recipes that are perfect for camping,
6. Pack the Essentials, But Prepare for the Unexpected
Ensure that the family is just packing the essentials. There isn’t room for everyone to bring their full wardrobe. That said, prepare for the unexpected. That means bringing an umbrella, swimwear, and if you’re traveling in fall or spring, a winter jacket.
7. Make a Loose Itinerary
Don’t try to plan every minute of your family vacation. Instead, make a loose itinerary based on the activities you decided on in step one. Write down the best options and which days might work for them.
Detailed schedules can make the trip more stressful. Instead, take the days as they come and see how the family is feeling. This allows you to adapt your plans with less stress.
8. Relax When You Arrive
Finally, remember to relax when you arrive. This is an important reminder for parents. Planning a family vacation is a lot of work. Don’t let the work of managing it spoil your ability to unwind. Set aside unstructured time where you can relax, go out for dinner, take a walk, and enjoy activities that you don’t normally get to.
When planning your next family vacation, be sure to check out our RV resorts and campgrounds across North America. We’d love to see you during your next stay!
Know another parent who could benefit from these tips? Pass this post along!