6 tips for planning a smooth summer family vacation
Think it’s hard getting your kids in the car to go to school? Try getting your entire brood packed up for a trip.
Actually, planning a family vacation can feel like the exact opposite of a vacation.
Our advice? Don’t rush it, and come to this battle prepared. After all, a family vacation can bring some of the best memories of your life.
Here are six tips on how to plan a smooth summer family vacation:
1. Make a packing list. Think about how overwhelming it can be to get your kid’s backpack ready for a few hours of school. Now, multiple that times seven days. Per kid. Plus you. And your spouse. Don’t panic. Just make a list, and check it off as you go. Here’s a great print-and-go family packing list – thank you Good Housekeeping.
Don’t leave these off the list: At least two swimsuits per person. Your pediatrician’s phone number. Band-Aids.
2. Look for package deals. Especially when you’re traveling with a group, you’ll want to save big wherever possible, while maximizing entertainment. Look for deals that include free or inexpensive museum tickets, dinner deals and transportation from the airport.
3. Get your kids involved. You might be surprised when they say they don’t care to visit the expensive aquarium, and would rather build sandcastles on the beach. Consider letting each kid play “tour guide” for a day, allowing them to plan the adventures. If you’re on a budget, plan an outdoor game — a tour along the beach, a secret hiding spot in the forest or even a trip to find unique food at the foreign grocery store.
4. Go prepared, but stay flexible. Bring extra coloring books and games for the long drive or flight, but also expect your kids to have their own ideas for how to pass the time. Choose your battles, and do your best to stay upbeat.
5. Set up a plan for meals, which can be one the biggest financial drains on vacation with a family. Set a budget and stick to it, or, better yet, pick an all-inclusive resort, so food won’t stress you out and everyone can enjoy themselves.
6. Consider auctions to save the real bucks. Family Getaway allows you to buy hotel rooms via “buy now offers” and auctions. If your travel dates are flexible, consider an auction for the greatest savings.
Also, don’t miss Familygetaway.com’s list of the best family-friendly, all-inclusive resorts — and even lists prices for a group of four (so you really know what you’re working with).
For example, the website recently listed of package for up to four at the Barbados Beach Club in Barbados at an auction, starting at $635, including taxes (that’s 60 percent off). This deal included all meals, drinks, water sports, mini golf and entertainment for four nights.
Tip: Sign up for Family Getaway free weekly updates and get $50 off your first purchase. Buy through ShopAtHome.com and get up to 4 percent cash back.
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Photos courtesy of Family Getaway.