How to Have The Best Family Vacation

1.  Let Kids Help Plan

For me, traveling isn’t only about the “actual trip.”  Half the fun comes from the research and planning before the trip. Let your kids get in on the fun as well by involving them in the planning process.  The more they do their own research, the more excited they’ll be!  Read more from Slate.

2. Start Well Rested

There’s nothing worse than starting a vacation off on the wrong foot!  Plan and pack ahead as much as possible so that the night before and morning of are as care free as can be.  Make sure to be well rested so that you’re ready to face a long day of waiting and anxious excitement.  Go to Huffington Post to read up on ways to arrive to your destination well rested.

3. Carry On Essentials

Once you’ve arrived to your destination and have all your belongings, you can relax and enjoy the vacation.  But, getting to your destination can be the most stressful part of travel.   Preparation and a little thinking ahead really are the key.  Make sure you have a carry on bag with some essential items to help you in case things don’t go as planned.  Read Travel and Leisure’s suggestions for essential carry on items to help you be prepared.  iFly gives a comprehensive list of suggestions for children’s carry on bags.  To add one thought to both lists though, I suggest having a light change of clothes and basic toiletries in the event that luggage doesn’t arrive on time (or at all.  YIKES!).

4. Book With a Kitchen

I wouldn’t have said this once upon a time, but I really have come to find the value of choosing accommodations with a kitchen. This is especially true when it comes to traveling with kids.  Foodies are probably rolling their eyes at me right now, but don’t worry!  Staying in a hotel or rental with a kitchen doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy experiencing local cuisine.  However, having a kitchen DOES mean you’re able to prepare snacks and meals to bring with you on your adventures to keep kids going longer. Also, being able to pack your own snacks and small meals will save you a surprising amount of money!  I’ve yet to travel somewhere where there isn’t a grocer who will deliver groceries right to your hotel/rental.  Amazon also now has free food delivery options for those with a Prime account.

5. Try Something New

It can get easy to plan the same vacation year after year.  It’s “tradition”, right?  I’m all for sticking to your family favorites and going where you know everyone is happy.  But even on these vacations, you can always find something new to experience as a family.  Seek out a unique tour or excursion.  Visit an unusual museum.  Learn something new!  One of our favorite activities to do is take a cooking class from a local cooking school.  Not only do you learn more about the culture, but the chefs are also very knowledgeable and willing to share local secrets and tips.  Also, it’s not all that hard to find cooking schools in foreign locations where the chef will speak English.  Trying and learning new things as a family has proven to be one of the most worth while ways to bring us together and share incredible memories!

6. Take A Break

With so many fun and exciting things to do and see, it can be easy to get lost in doing too much.  Remember to set aside some time for rests and breaks to help your Little Explorers from getting too tired (and cranky!).  Keep in mind though that “down time” can include activities like swimming, miniature golf, playing games, or going to movies.  After all, it is a vacation.

7.  Collect Things To Fight Back Boredom

Give your kids a scavenger hunt to keep them engaged during your travels.  Identify easy items to seek and collect such as pressed coins, stamps, postcards, pins, or other items unique to the location.  As a child I started collecting soccer jerseys on vacations for local soccer teams.  I’ve continued this tradition into adulthood and have found that seeking these jerseys out has made for some of my favorite adventures on vacations.  Also, the items you collect tend to be the best souvenirs and keepsakes for memory making.

8. Travel to Learn

Travel with purpose by immersing yourselves in a culture to learn.  Depending on the age(s) of your child(ren), plan activities in which you can all learn something about the people and culture.  Try to think beyond regular tourist attractions such as museums.  Seek out ways in which you can experience the culture from a more authentic viewpoint like the locals.  Read more at Today.com.

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