Tips for Planning Your Next Family Summer Vacation
You’ve got a couple of months before you need to start packing bags for that trip. Use this time to prep everything down to the last detail. Because once you arrive at your destination, you and your squad don’t want to focus on anything else except having the best time ever. Here are some tips for planning your next family summer vacation.
Extend the Invite
Extend the invitation beyond the people who reside in your household. Make this next summer vacation the best one yet by inviting those cousins you rarely see or a couple of close friends you consider family.
Traveling in large groups makes the experience even more memorable. Make it a trip for you and the kids, and think about who would be a great addition. This way, the adults and kids have their own groups. Plus, an extra set of hands is always nice to help keep the rascals in order.
Earlier this year, we took a cruise down to Mexico with another family. We hadn’t seen each other since our wedding, so a trip together was long overdue. We traveled to Bali with them over a decade ago and had a fantastic time. So, we knew a family cruise would be another great experience.
We arranged to have our tables combined at dinner. The kids sat on one end and the adults on the other, which made meals much more enjoyable. Our kids enjoyed exploring the ship together, which lightened our parenting load. We loved it so much we are booking another trip with them soon.
Explore Your Options
The world is a huge place, so don’t limit yourself. Pull up a few different places you want to visit. The trick to a great vacation is the same as real estate. It’s all about location, location, location. Find a spot that has plenty to offer.
Discuss the location with everyone, and narrow the list down to three choices. For each destination, focus on cost, activities, and cuisine. Then set it to a vote. Whichever place has the most votes is where you want to go. Save those other two locations for another year.
Family-friendly travel destinations can make vacations with kiddos much more fun. We took Chulengo to Italy when he was 16 months old. All of the restaurants and venues welcomed him with open arms. A late dinner out in a piazza was a beautiful experience because there was a lot of activity, keeping him busy. But the restaurant servers would walk by our table and engage with him.
Organize the Paperwork
If you plan to travel outside the country, you’ll need to get documents in order. Make sure all passports are up to date far ahead of time. Passport updates take some time, so plan your trip for the middle of summer to be on the safe side. We just renewed Chulengo’s passport, and the turnaround time is 6-9 weeks, even after paying the expediting fee.
Get your finances together too. Notify the credit card companies you plan to travel so the charges don’t look suspicious. I forgot to tell my credit card company I was traveling during our last trip and got payments denied at restaurants and shops. I could call my credit card company to clear it up, but it was embarrassing until it was cleared up.
Finally, check with your cellphone company. If you don’t have an international plan, consider upgrading to one for the trip. Being able to text and call others you are traveling with can make life simpler. It’s also nice to check in with those at home.
Document as You Go
Start capturing every moment of the trip as soon as possible. Don’t wait until you get there to start taking pictures. The fun begins during the packing stage. Capture the moments when everyone tries to fit too much in their suitcases.
Get a few shots in the airport, too. My favorite photos include the boys pulling their kid-size bags through the airport. Gather all the supplies you’ll need to display your vacation pictures when you get home. Buy new picture frames and a scrapbook, and decide whether you need scrapbook paper or cardstock for the pages. Set up your pages with cute designs so that when you get home, you only need to insert the pictures.
I’ve also documented trips by printing out picture books using all of the photos from our trip. One of my favorite companies to use is Mpix.
Learn all you can about the destination. Depending on where you go, you might have a lot of ground to cover. Plan activities that will cover a range of topics: an educational moment, an adventurous moment, and a foodie moment. If you research well, there will be something for everyone.
I also scour online mom groups for tips and recommendations on various destinations. Living in Southern California, many people travel to Hawaii for vacation. So, when planning our trip to Maui, I read through the tips from local moms to help make decisions that would make our trip more enjoyable.
Planning for your next family summer vacation will have you begging for the weather to get beautiful soon.