Vacations are important for every member of the family. Going away for a few days or weeks can rejuvenate parents and kids, and strengthen the bonds between them. Unfortunately, vacations can also be very stressful to plan. But if you plan it right, you’ll be (almost) stress-free before and during your vacation! Here are some tips to getting your family vacation organized today:
1. Decide Type of Vacation and Budget
Decide the type of vacation you want – one with focus on the kids, traveling, relaxing, or with something for every member of the family? Once you determine what everyone wants and needs, then you need to start your research and choose a destination. If you are on a budget (and who isn’t) find out what the off season is for your location. Some travel spots drop prices right after Labor Day – if you can swing that time frame you could save some money.
2. Check Availability
Once you determine type of vacation and your budget, and you’ve found the spot – it’s time to sync schedules to make sure everyone is available at the same time. With summer camp, company picnics, and summer sports, it is sometimes hard to coordinate the right timing. Once that is settled, make sure your location can accommodate your timing.
3. Make a To-Do List
Create a master to do list at least three weeks before your vacation. Three weeks before is shopping for essentials week – make sure you’ve purchased enough sun screen, sun glasses, hats, flip flops, shorts, etc. for each family member.
4. Make a Fun Schedule
Two weeks out is the right time to be setting up a fun schedule for the trip – schedule in tours, horseback riding, rental of boats, skis, trip to amusement parks and tourist attractions. Purchase tickets in advance if you can and be sure to budget and plan for transportation to and from an event or locale. Plan it out with the family and follow up to make sure all needed reservations are made.
5. Last Minute Details
One week out, get pets ready for boarders if they are not coming with you. Let neighbors and friends know you will be gone so they can watch the house and check for any flooding or problems due to weather. Get Traveler’s checks and cash for the trip. Be sure to cancel the paper; cancel the mail for a week rather than have someone come by and pick it up; set thermostats and water heaters to vacation setting – don’t waste fuel if you aren’t going to be home. And do a final check against your packing list. Include health care info, first aid kit and goodies for the travel period. Put your work email on vacation auto reply so nothing major will fall through the cracks!
6. Keep These Things in Mind
Count on things going wrong – maybe rain on the day you were going to the amusement park. Bring books, cards, puzzle books and games to help pass the time for those down times. Or research the area for movie a theater or museum you could escape to! And last, but most important thing to do on your vacation – RELAX and have fun!