How to Plan a Family Vacation

Embarking on an adventure with your family is one of the most enriching things you can do for your clan. Here are the 10 steps to make it happen.
How to Plan a Family Vacation
(Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock)
Barbara Danza

Whether a simple weekend camping or a week abroad in the lap of luxury (or perhaps something in between), embarking on an adventure with your family, away from the day-today, is one of the most enriching things you can do for your clan. 

These adventures don’t just happen. They need to be intentionally planned. Here are the ten steps to planning your next family vacation.

Get Pumped

Dive into the super fun research phase. Pool all of your resources—the internet, the bookstore, the library, the travel agent, the family and friends—and decide where you want to go and what you'd like to see and do.

Check Your Calendar and Your Bank Account

Define some important parameters for your trip—like when you’re available and what you can afford.

Consider Weather and Crowds

Before booking your trip find out what you can about weather forecasts during the time you’re considering and crowd estimates at your preferred destination. Heading to the Caribbean during hurricane season, for example, adds some risk to your tip. Heading to Disney World over a holiday will generally mean larger crows and longer lines. 

Determine your family’s preferences regarding crowds and weather and proceed.

Book Accommodations

Utilize the numbers online sites make available to decide where you'll stay. Search amenities, customer reviews, industry ratings, location, and availability. 

Once you’ve found the best option for your budget, book it and celebrate with the whole family. You’re going on vacation!

Begin the Countdown

Extend the joy of your vacay with your family by counting down the days until departure. Whether simply marking the calendar or crafting a creative way (see Pinterest) to celebrate your impending getaway, looking forward to family adventures can be almost as fun as the adventures themselves.

Nail Down the Details

Reservations for meals, experiences, or entertainment are best nailed down in advance to ensure you don’t miss out. If you'd like to request additional amenities at your hotel, resort, or campground, now is the time.

Set Up a Travel Supplies Basket

As the countdown continues, gather items you'll need in a designated container. Perhaps you spot something helpful while running errands or you simply gather items from around your home, corralling these gradually will make packing easier.

Items like portable snacks, hand wipes, glow sticks, zip loc bags, and travel-sized toiletries tend to be staples on our list.

Clear the Decks

Just before setting off, tie up loose ends in work and life. Get your inbox to zero, suspend your mail, notify those who should know you'll be away, straighten up, clean out the fridge, and arrange it so that you leave work behind and come home to a clean slate.

Finalize Packing

Gather just what your family will need and no more. Your packing strategy will vary depending your mode of transportation and the nature of your destination.

Enjoy Your Trip

Enjoy this precious time with your family—this adventure together that will surely live on to become a cherished memory of a lifetime.

Barbara Danza is a contributing editor covering family and lifestyle topics. Her articles focus on homeschooling, family travel, entrepreneurship, and personal development. She contributes children’s book reviews to the weekly booklist and is the editor of “Just For Kids,” the newspaper’s print-only page for children. Her website is
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