Tips and Tricks for a Successful Family Vacation
School is almost out — and you know what that means: three uninterrupted months of summer with the family. High on the priority list: carving time out for making memorable moments with your brood. Do you have your sights set on a family trip? We’ve compiled some of our top notch travel tips to help make your family vacation planning a little less overwhelming.
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
You’ve made your list, checked it twice, and you’ve got your packing strategy down to a science. The little things you’ll want to keep in mind for any trip:
- Plastic bags take up next to no space when stowed away in a purse or backpack. From storage for soggy swimsuits to keeping your smartphone sand-free, plastic baggies are a parent’s ally on vacation.
- Pack a mini medicine cabinet with you with a stash of all the essential medications. You never know what might ail you or a family member on a trip and while it’s always possible to purchase something along the way, if you’ve already got it packed, an allergic reaction or headache won’t throw you very far off of your happy trails.
How to Keep the Kids Acceptably Occupied
Our tip for keeping you headache free and the littles occupied for the trip? Plan out your in-flight/en-route entertainment in advance. Whether it’s attached to your travel itinerary or stored safely in your smartphone’s “notes,” have a lengthy list of activities you can refer to when the ominous “I’m bored” echoes on loop. Some things to add to the list:
- Coloring books
- Washable markers
- Download a catalog of their favorite movies to your queue
- Download an app that helps you share family stories!
Life saving hacks
- Check your engine, tires, brakes, and oil levels
- Share your location
- Always carry a spare power bank, so that if the car dies, your phone won’t
Check your travel destination’s proximity to drug stores and make a note of where your doctor or pediatrician can send a prescription.
Traveling abroad? Make copies of your passport and stash them in a secret pocket that’s always on your person. If anything should happen, having a copy of your passport will help give you a place to start. Another easy hack? Should your luggage go missing in action, always keep a change of clothes in each of your carry ons.
Best Hotels for Families
When traveling with your family to densely populated vacation spots, our top choice for safety are all-inclusive hotels. Are they always best? While they aren’t for everyone, all-inclusive hotels and resorts are a blessing for families looking for a leg up with their itinerary. In addition to having a ton of amenities, activities, and attractions on site to eliminate the hassle of shuttling here and there, all-inclusive resorts have the essentials most families will need. With on-site restaurants and cafes, plus room service on call for hungry bellies, you’ll have enough options to satisfy every picky palate. Another nice benefit — the resort’s gift shop is sure to have a spare toothbrush — the one your spouse swore he or she triple checked for.
What to Look for in an Airbnb
Booking an Airbnb for your family vacation is a great money-saving option that allows you to enjoy an atmosphere closer to your own home. Worried about booking an Airbnb with kids in tow? Fear not — once you’ve spotted a highly-reviewed space that has everything on your wish list, contact the host and introduce yourself. Let them know you’re planning to stay with your children and ask for specific details about the features of their rental. Worried you might not have all the right safety issues on your radar? We love Airbnb’s help section on traveling with kids — it covers all of the safety issues a sleep-deprived parent might forget. Our final Airbnb tip: ask for two sets of keys!
You Made It, Now What?
Make it Fun for Everyone
This starts at the planning stage. The easiest way to keep everyone excited is to involve them in the decision making process. Are you bringing them to ancient ruins? Relate your upcoming trip to that time their favorite cartoon character visited a historical site to get them in the right mindset. Maybe Dad isn’t completely sold on that theme park? How about showing him that on-premise Michelin-rated restaurant recently featured on his favorite cooking show? By getting creative at the planning stage, you ensure that everyone has something to look forward to upon arrival. Don’t forget to schedule yourself an afternoon of solitude with a matcha tea and a magazine or a peaceful sunrise walk on the beach!
Create Space for Moments That Count
Capture the moments, not the destination. Sure, you’ve picked an Instagram-worthy vacation spot but the story you want to tell and re-tell is more personal than your social feed. Capture the candid moments of the father-son wildlife lesson as they trap and release lizards by the pool together. Or how about your failed attempts at sparking a fire to roast s’mores? These memories create a dialogue that will last long after that perfect toasted marshmallow on a twig ever could.
Find a time at the end of each day to be mindful about your experiences. Ask each member of your family to talk about their favorite part of the day as a way to cultivate gratitude, develop the habit of internally reflecting on their day, and reinforce good memories. Ask what each family member looks forward to on tomorrow’s agenda as a way to prepare them for the next day’s activities, which can help calm the anxiety that can come with unfamiliar places and a lack of consistent routines.
Don’t let your treasured family moments go undocumented. With Before You, you can write, photograph, audio record, or video record each moment, big or small. Share your family stories on the Before You App today!