Wednesday, April 8, 2015

My Hassle-Free Guide For Your Family Summer Vacation

Summer is just around the corner, and I can feel the excitement in our household beginning to rise! Our family summer vacations should be a time to have fun, relax and enjoy some quality time with our loved ones. Unfortunately, this isn’t always what happens in reality, and family vacations can turn out to be just as hectic as everyday life. But this simply won’t do! I am certainly not going to allow anything to ruin our holiday this year, and I think you should join me in this mission! I have created this guide that will help us all to plan and enjoy a blissful break.

Step 1: Start planning now

The earlier we start planning, the better. We should start chipping away at our vacation “to-do” lists as soon as possible. This is in order to avoid leaving important tasks to the last minute and causing unnecessary stress. If you are really busy at the moment, all the more reason to start immediately and to give yourself ample time to get through your list.

Step 2: Work out your budget

Money is one of the most common aspects of life that we worry about. In order to feel comfortable and calm about money when it comes to planning the family vacation, I think it’s important to set out your budget as soon as possible. By doing this step early on, you give yourself plenty of time to save if necessary. Our budget takes account of big costs like flights, accommodation and activities as well as spending money for food, drinks and shopping. We intend to stick to our budget. Otherwise, we will just feel guilty and stressed about overspending when we are supposed to be having fun and relaxing!

Step 3: Research holidays

Here comes the fun part; choosing your holiday! Do you want a laid-back beach vacation, a culture-packed city break or an adventure-filled trip? We have been using holiday blogs, websites and reviews to gather info on different vacation types. Of course, we have been paying particular attention to whether they are family-friendly and safe. Once you’ve got a few ideas in mind, discuss them with the whole family and decide on the appropriate vacation.

Step 4: Choose your dates

Obviously the most suitable vacation dates for you will depend on a number of factors, for example, school holidays and time off work. However, I have found that it can be advantageous if you can afford to be even a tiny bit flexible with your dates. Prices for flights and accommodation seesaw, even from one day to the next. So, there is the potential to save some money if your dates are adaptable.

Step 5: Start booking

The earlier you book the flights and accommodation the better. Booking early means you’ll get in there before the mad summer rush happens, and you’ll be able to take advantage of the great deals. If you are terribly busy, it might help to split the tasks with your partner or to make some bookings on your way to work or during your lunch hour. If this isn’t manageable, the best idea might be to hand over the organization to a travel agent. Websites like organise great vacations tailored to your needs. You just need to provide the business with your requirements and they will do most of the hard work for you.

If you have the time, I think it’s a really good move to book other elements of your vacation in advance. This could include travel in and around your destination, museums, rides and other

Step 6: Day-to-day planning

About a month before we leave for our summer vacation, my husband and I are going to sit down with the kids and start planning some things to do while we are away. We don’t intend to create a strict schedule for each day, rather just a few ideas so that we don’t end up wandering around not knowing what to do or where to go. We will research the local area and find out what family-friendly attractions and events are going on that would be fun to visit.

We are definitely going to be planning some downtime too, where we can just put our feet up and enjoy doing very little. Unfortunately, my kids, like most, don’t do downtime very well. So we will also be planning things they can do during these periods, like playing games or attending children’s activities organized by the accommodation.

Step 7: Packing

I think it’s a sensible idea to start thinking about packing at least a couple of weeks before you depart. If you are like me, you’ll be coordinating the packing for the whole family. I love writing lists, so I will be making a master one for all the items that need to be bought and packed. There are probably some items that can be packed well in advance, for example, swimsuits, goggles and beach towels. Getting started with them will make the packing less hectic when the night before your vacation arrives.

Step 8: Departure day

I always have visions of Home Alone when leaving for a family vacation. With so many things to think about and organize it can be super stressful! Do as much as you can the day before. This can include booking airport transfers, making snacks for the journey and bringing all the travel documents together. Create a plan for how departure day will go, giving yourself plenty of time in case of any last minute problems.

Step 9: Enjoy your vacation

You’ve put your heart and soul into planning a perfect summer vacation for your family. Everything is organized so all that is left to do is sit back and enjoy your break. As soon as you set off on your journey, take a deep breath and smile. You are officially on summer vacation!