5 easy steps to planning the perfect family vacation

October 15, 2014

Is your family ready for a break? The last thing you want is a chaotic trip, whether here in Canada or abroad. Here are 5 easy steps to planning the perfect family vacation you all deserve.

5 easy steps to planning the perfect family vacation

1. Set your budget

The first thing you need to do when planning a family vacation is create a realistic budget. Keep in mind that the best air travel rates and package holidays can be found outside of peak season.

  • Reserving six months ahead of time often lets you benefit from substantial discounts.

2. Choose your destination

To choose the right destination, it’s important to take everyone’s tastes and temperaments into account. If they’re old enough, ask your children for their views.

  • Before making a final decision, don’t forget to look into the political climate and weather conditions of the various countries you’re considering, if you're planning to travel outside of Canada's borders.
  • To avoid unexpected on-the-ground expenses, give some thought to vaccines and any special equipment that may be required. Your family doctor can advise you, as can the travel health and safety section of the Government of Canada's official website.

3. Plan your itinerary

Round-up the family and consult travel guides together; ask your children what types of activities they hope to do.

  • Draw up a flexible itinerary, making sure not to overload it.
  • Plan a few activities and make note of any other attractions nearby so you can change your plans according to the situation.
  • You’ll want to have options if a scheduled activity takes less time than planned.

4. Make your reservations promptly

Make all necessary reservations, such as plane tickets, hotel rooms and car rentals. Some day-trip activities also require reservations.

  • Be sure to make enquiries before choosing a hotel since some require that you rent two rooms if you have three children in your group.

5. Get organized

  • Gather together all essential travel documents. Don’t forget passports, vaccination records and the other parent’s consent if you’re travelling alone with your children.
  • Prepare the children. Discuss all aspects of the trip in detail, particularly if the food will be different or if they’re going to be taking a plane or travelling on a boat for the first time.
  • Plan a procedure to follow in case your children become lost during an activity. Make sure they have identification cards and information about how to contact you.
  • Prepare your luggage. Remember to bring games for the plane or for long car trips, but avoid anything superfluous, especially if you’re changing hotels often.
  • Start preparing your packing list several weeks in advance; jot down all the essentials that you and your children will need as you think of them, including diapers, medication and sun screen.

Lastly, when you’re planning your family vacation, allow for at least one day off between your return home and your first day back at work, school or daycare. Vacations can be exhausting and everybody will welcome a day of real rest.

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