Family trips are usually full of laughs and adventures. However, it’s not like that 100% of the time. As anyone who travels with their family will tell you, unexpected things can happen along the way, and those may dampen your high expectations. To help ensure you enjoy your trip, we will provide some tips on how to plan a trip that will make everyone happy.

Check out these 7 Tips

1. Involve Everyone in the Planning Process

Remember, this trip is not just for you. It is for your kids, too and if you are trying to plan a trip that will make everyone happy, it is important to include them in the planning. If there are things they are interested in, make an effort to include them in your plans. Give your kids a list of 5 or 6 activities, then tell them a bit about each one. They each get to pick an activity or two that they would most like to do.

When their choice of activities as well as your own combine, it will translate to a great trip wherein everyone gets a little bit of what they want. Your children will be more excited about the trip if they have a say in choosing the activities and destinations. More importantly, it’s a great way to get them involved in decision-making at an early age.

2. Plan Activities and Excursions That Tick Everyone’s Boxes

Ask your younger kids what things they want to do. If you have older kids, you can ask them to help in planning what activities to do during the trip. This will give everybody an idea of what to expect.

Babies 0-3

Most people have this perception that it’s difficult to travel with a baby. On the contrary, as long as they’re fed, dry, comfortable, and given proper attention, babies are usually happy. Just make sure to plan for plenty of breaks and ensure your baby has adequate rest.

Toddlers 3-5

Toddlers are full of energy yet still need lots of rest. Make sure not to visit places or do activities that might overwhelm your little ones. This is usually the cause of tantrums and meltdowns. To keep them happy, bring plenty of snacks and comfort items.

Young children 6-9

Children 6 to 9 years old can already say what they like and don’t like, but can be encouraged to try new things. Of course, they still want to stay close with mom and dad, so plan plenty of together time. Get them involved by giving choices (e.g., “Do you want this ride or that one?”)

Older children 10-13

At this age, kids are starting to become more independent. However, they are not quite ready to break away as a teenager would. You can give choices, involve them in the planning process, and grant them a little bit of independence (although not too much as they’re still young). Resorts that have pre-teen activities are a good choice to give them some independence without the worry.

Teens 14-19

Involve teens in the decision-making process when planning a family vacation. That way, they’ll be more excited about the whole thing. Also, when picking destinations, consider their likes and interests. Give your teenager a little freedom while on vacation. Too much together time may lead to boredom.

Parents

Spend some time as a couple if you can. Some family resorts have kids clubs and/or babysitting services. This will allow you and your spouse to have some alone time. Dine in a romantic restaurant, buy each other gifts, or think of an activity that both of you will enjoy. When parents are happy, chances are, kids are too.

3. Bring Snacks to Avoid Meltdowns

Taking along a few snacks during a family vacation is really important. Hangry (angry because of hunger) kids can make a fun trip miserable in a matter of minutes. We can’t emphasize this enough – always have snacks available for the kids!

The food at your destination can be quite different from what your kids usually eat. Also, unexpected things could happen – a delayed flight, heavy traffic to your hotel, or a tour that takes longer than you thought it would. It doesn’t hurt to bring snacks for adults as well. Adults can get just as hungry as kids!

4. Give Kids a Camera

Kids of all ages like to take pictures. And teens like to share vacation photos with their friends. So as soon as your kids are able to use it, get them a camera to use on trips. It doesn’t have to be a DSLR camera. A durable point-and-shoot camera or even the camera on a smartphone will do.

Having a camera will help kids focus more on the things they’re seeing. It will help them appreciate the beauty in the landscape, amazing features in the architecture, the huge crowds, and the bustle of the city. Aside from being able to share with friends and relatives, photos can also help your kids remember the trip for years to come.

5. Bring Toys and Comfort Items

If you think your children are feeling anxious about the trip, bring along some comfort items from home to help them relax. It could be a stuffed toy, blanket, favorite book, or an electronic gadget.

Don’t underestimate the power of toys and comfort items. For kids, these objects correlate with happiness and relaxation. These objects reduce stress, not to mention the fact that kids love toys.

6. Plan for Downtime

The amount of downtime will vary depending on the age of your children. Infants and toddlers need daily naps. On the other hand, older kids can stay energetic throughout the day, but probably can’t maintain that for several days in a row.

If your vacation days are packed with activities, even adults could probably use a siesta by the 2nd or 3rd day. Scheduling downtime everyday helps keep your family refreshed and happy throughout the trip.

It’s important to note that downtime doesn’t always have to be a nap. It could be any of the following: a few minutes relaxing at a park, a movie at the local theater, a slow stroll along the beach, or anything that lets your family relax.

7. Be Flexible

Things may not go exactly as planned, no matter how much planning you had for the trip. So always remember to be flexible. Some things will probably go wrong, people will get cranky, or you may not be able to follow the list of activities down to a T.

If you stress yourself out, it will work its way into other members of the family. Getting upset isn’t going to help anyway. So relax. We’ll say it again. Be flexible. Bear in mind that keeping your family happy is the most important thing about your trip.

Conclusion

These tips will help you learn how to plan a trip that will make everyone happy. One final piece of advice: stop putting off that trip, get out there and travel. Not everything will go according to plan, but don’t let that hinder you from enjoying your family vacation. See the world and explore! Nothing opens kids’ minds like new experiences, and you will get plenty of that no matter where you travel. For tips on how to choose the perfect destination, click here.

From food, transportation, architecture, landscape, and beautiful sceneries, everything you do will be exciting knowing that it’s a collective experience for the whole family. We hope that our tips on how to plan a trip that will make everyone happy will make your trip easier, more fun, and most of all, more meaningful. Want to hear more tips on how to LOVE your trips? Check out our podcast episodes.

Dianne McKinley

Fly with Chris and Di