Taking a family vacation can be both fun as well as a nightmare. This series will help you get through the family vacation with both your budget and your sanity intact!
While some people plan a family vacation months or even a year in advance, if you are like me, you know when you can take your vacation but have been so caught up in the day-to-day routine that you have yet to decide where the family is going this summer! Here are a few steps you need to take:
:: Decide on a budget
With luck, you have been putting money away just for your vacation fund. In reality, you are probably going to pay cash for some and put the rest on the credit card. Please don’t get caught up in the idea of “well – let’s just take a great vacation and worry about paying the bill later!”. It is one week out of your life. There is no sense in committing yourself to paying for it for the next 30-50 weeks!
:: Decide on a Timeframe
If you only have 7 calendar days for your vacation and you live in Philadelphia, you might want to rethink Hawaii. Consider your travel time as well as any possible jet-lag time. Let me tell you – I want to go to Hawaii as much as the next person, but there is NO WAY that I am going to do it with a 7-day vacation. With almost 36 hours in just pure travel time, as well as any possible jet lag….if I am going to Hawaii, I am going to do it RIGHT and have more time there.
:: Consider the Ages of Your Children
We are in the middle of planning a vacation right now and really want to go to either go to Disney World or on a Disney Cruise. There is no doubt that my 5 & 8 year old will love it, but my 10-year old is really starting to “age-out”. Likewise, if we planned a trip to Colonial Williamsburg, my 10-year old would be in HEAVEN, but my younger children would be bored spitless. Of course, if you live on the East Coast, you can always fall back on a week at the beach (or as we say where I live “down the shore”), but if you are looking for something more unique, make sure that you do your research so that there are plenty of fun things for ALL your children (as well as Mom & Dad).
:: Don’t Plan An Aggressive Vacation
Before Brad and I had children, we would plan vacations where we got up at 6:30am, spend all days on tours and activities and not get back to the hotel until after 11:00pm. Now that we have children, those days are GONE. Children need downtime, whether it is just heading back to the hotel to swim in the pool or watching an episode of My Little Pony (or a nap). Nobody wants to come home feeling like they need a vacation from their vacation!
It’s 1-2 weeks out of your year. Don’t count on a vacation to solve all the problems in your life. Vacations are a great way to have some downtime and refocus, but it is what you do the other 50-51 weeks of the year that matters most in your life. Don’t put unreasonable expectations on this vacation or you will be disappointed!
What are your best vacation planning tips?