How to Start Planning a Family Vacation

I really want to take my children places, but I have no idea where to even start! All of the choices are overwhelming! I don’t even know where to begin! These are common things people say when they begin considering traveling with their children. The truth of the matter is it can be overwhelming. It can also be genuinely hard at times. So how do we make it happen? How do we turn those nine million exclamations and fears into an actionable plan that turns into a successful and fun vacation?

Let’s start simple. Take out a sheet of paper and a pencil. No, set down your smart phone. We are kicking it old school for a few!  I want you to write a list of places you might like to visit or perhaps major landmarks you want to see. Take this moment to escape and dream for a while. This is just brainstorming. Just like you did it in high school!

Once we have a decent sized list, let’s take a look at each one. Say the first thing on your list is to go to the beach. Draw lines off of that bubble. Do you want to go to a domestic beach or a foreign beach? Take a moment to consider that for a second.

Then if you choose a foreign beach think about when you have vacation time. Do you have vacation time in the summer or the winter? That will determine north or south of the equator. Once you have figured that out draw another line off of your vacation time and write down places that have beaches. Remember that seasons are switched North and South of the equator.  Summer in the Southern Hemisphere is from December through March!

Once you have a list of a few option, start a little bit of research. The trick is to take things one small step at a time. Don’t think 12 steps ahead just yet. That’s how you get overwhelmed! Now you have a place and can’t search for a deal!


The second approach is for those who are more budget centered or are more flexible with their vacation destination. I recommend exploring the internet on  Kayak Explore where you can get a general idea of when it is less expensive to fly to different destinations. Another useful website is Sky Scanner. This will allow you to be completely flexible in your month and destination to find a cheap flight around the globe! This is the digital version of throwing a dart at a map!  Once you have discovered the locations that are in the budget, you can start researching the destinations. I love planning, but I do know I am in the minority.

Let your first goal be to brainstorm over the course of a week. Then spend a few days looking at each destination. Once you have found a destination, you can then look at hotels and activities. Just take things one small baby step at a time. No pun intended!

Sometimes it is easier to start in a place that speaks English or your own native language. It is important to think about what side of the road they drive on and if you are comfortable driving somewhere foreign. Perhaps you would rather take public transportation. Do you feel most comfortable in a bigger city with public transportation? Would you prefer a more structured environment such as sailing on a major cruise line? I know there is a great deal to think about and consider, but I know you can do it! You’ve so got this!


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