Going on a family trip can be one of the best experiences for both you and your children. Trips provide opportunities to experience new environments together, and can open your children’s eyes to the world. However, without proper planning, traveling in large groups with kids can quickly turn stressful. In order to make sure you make the most of your vacation, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a family trip.
Hold a Family Meeting
The first thing to do before starting off on any family trip is to hold a family meeting. Why is this important? According to the Center for Parenting Education, a family meeting is a great opportunity for children to feel like they have a voice in family decisions, and can increase family closeness. When it comes to planning a vacation, this is a great opportunity for family members to touch base on where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do. You can discuss dream destinations, as well as streamline and adjust vacation plans to fit family members’ schedules and expectations.
Once you’ve got an idea of where you want to go and how long you want to be away from, it’s time to start planning. While it may be tempting to leave things until the last minute, planning ahead will definitely save you a lot of worry and headaches in the long run. The Huffington Post recommends forward planning because it leads to less stress, as well as helps you spend less time and money. The earlier you start shopping around, the higher the chance you can snag rooms or tickets at a discount, especially if you’re looking at taking a trip during the holiday season.
Research Your Transportation
Traveling with kids can be difficult, especially when they’re young. You’ll need to do more research on your modes of transportation, as children have different needs compared to adults. If you’re renting a car, look at insurance packages and child safety regulations. For longer haul trips that require time in the air, an article by Aviation JobNet recommends comparing airlines before making a decision. Among the factors they suggest for consideration are ticket prices, luggage surcharges, customer satisfaction, and frequent flyer status.
Finally, before you head out on your trip remember to manage expectations. Traveling with children comes with unique challenges that will require a bit of creativity on your part, so you should be realistic about what you expect from this holiday. For example, child development psychologist Dr. Amanda Gummer recommends that international trips be reserved for children older than five, as they’ll be less likely to remember the trip at a younger age. Children also react differently to high-stress situations on the road, so parents should be patient and be ready to take lots of breaks. However, although being realistic is important, remember that vacations are supposed to be fun bonding moments. Leave some space for you and your family to have fun, and you’ll be sure to make tons of beautiful memories.
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