How To Plan A Vacation

Going on vacation is a wonderful experience. You get to see amazing sights and experience new things, sometimes even surrounded by a different culture to your own.

When it comes to traveling with kids, going on vacation is different. It can often seem overwhelming, especially with all the preparation you must do before you go.

However, it does not need to feel this way – after all, you are all going away to experience exciting things together. 

Instead of letting the stress and worry take over – will the kids get bored? What unpredictable things might happen? – all you need is a bit of planning.

If you are going on a vacation with your little ones soon, then you may want to read our tips on how to plan a vacation. 

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How To Plan A Vacation

Pick A Destination Together

When you have children, you must be careful where you take them. This is because, more often than not, you all have different ideas.

While you might want a relaxing beach holiday, the kids may find this boring if they have nothing to do. One way to ensure this does not happen is to get them involved in the initial planning.

However, going somewhere like Disney World may be a good option. It is fun for all the family, and if you choose somewhere like Orlando, there are also beaches nearby.

To start off this planning stage, get everyone to tell you what they would like out of the vacation and go from there. You might be able to narrow down places to visit until you come to a winner.

No matter where you go, you are bound to create memories that your children will always remember. 

If you’re going to Walt Disney World, use our Disney World Planning Guide with Printable Worksheets that will help your family plan a fun, easy, stress-free, and magical vacation.

Planning guide for Disney World

Budget The Vacation

Once you have a destination in mind, it may be worth seeing how much flights cost to the area. This way, you can see whether you will need to save some extra money or can afford to buy those tickets immediately. Before you do, however, there will be a few things to consider.

The budget isn’t just about getting cheap plane tickets. You will need money for the transport needed to get to the airport (gas), as well as spending money such as admission tickets for activities, food, and hotel costs.

There may be other costs too, and you will always want to make sure you have extra money available just in case something goes wrong – which it very likely won’t!

You may also want to buy souvenirs or go on an excursion. As you can see, there are many things to think about. For this reason, make a list of the things you might spend money on and create a budget. 

If you cannot afford to do everything you want, then you might have to cut areas. Another option is to go on vacation later and save some extra money. 

Choose A Convenient Date

Choose A Convenient Date

If you are traveling with kids, then the first thing you will need to keep in mind is when they can go on vacation. 

Because they have school, it is likely that you will travel during peak seasons such as spring break, winter vacation, or over the summer.

You must remember that traveling may be more costly, as flight tickets usually increase in price during peak season.

If you want to avoid these times, taking them out of school is an option, but it should be a last resort. Speak to their teacher first to ensure that it is okay for your child to miss school (see also, ‘Is it Illegal to Take Your Child Out of School for Vacation?‘).

The teacher might even give them some extra work to make sure they are caught up in studying. You may want to avoid times they have tests, though, as they can be difficult to get rescheduled.

If you travel during the off-peak season, you might find that flight and hotel bookings are much cheaper. However, there is a chance that certain activities and excursions are not available during this time, so always check. 

Plan Some Activities

No matter where you have chosen to do your family vacation, you will want to ensure there are activities. When you have kids, you will want to keep them entertained.

Going to Disneyland is one of the easiest ways to ensure your kids have plenty to do. You can also book hotel accommodation at the resort and have meals there.

If you are planning a different vacation entirely, then you will need to do some research first to ensure there are things for your kids to do. 

You only get eighteen summers with your children. ​Be intentional with the limited summer months by planning your summer vacation, and use our Summer Planner For Families to help.

If you’re headed to the beach, check out our Family Beach Vacation – Ultimate Guide & Packing Lists.

Book The Vacation

Now that you have sorted everything out, from where to go, when the vacation will be, to what activities are available, you can book the flights.

When kids are involved, it is always best to book a direct flight. You will notice that this kind of flight tends to be expensive, but it is also the most convenient when you have small children. 

The last thing you want is a layover that lasts for hours. Children are likely to become impatient. You might also want to check if the terminal you need to be at has a play area for children. This can help if you find that you are waiting a while to board your flight.

Read more about our experience flying with a toddler through Chicago O’Hare International Airport and our delight at finding the “Kids on the Fly” exhibit.

Choose The Right Hotel

When choosing the hotel, you might want to think about where it is situated. Ideally, it should be close to some of the local attractions. When you have children, it might be worth staying in a hotel with a play area and a pool.

If you have young children who still nap during the day or who go to bed much earlier than the rest of the family, then consider an apartment or hotel suite with a separate sleeping area. The last thing you want to do on vacation is to hide in the hotel bathroom while trying to get your child to sleep in the dark hotel room.

Also, see if there is a dedicated games room, a children’s menu and if they can provide a crib for your very young child if you are traveling with a baby

Final Thoughts

Planning a vacation with children doesn’t need to be stressful. With the right frame of mind, you can book a great family vacation that will have you all entertained and wanting to go back.

For more about family travel, check out these posts:
How To Start Saving For A Vacation With Kids
How To Get Cheap Plane Tickets
Parents Guide to Saving Money on Vacation with Kids
Helpful Tips for Flying with a Toddler
Traveling with a Baby
Disney World Planning Guide

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The BE Family Travel Team writes articles to help parents travel with children.