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Six steps to planning a family vacation

Sun., Sept. 4, 2005

Ever go on a family vacation that turned out to be not much of a vacation because your oldest son was bored the whole time, your middle daughter would have preferred swimming in a pool rather than the ocean, or your youngest lost interest and tired out too quickly during your early morning hike?

Getting equal input from each family member before making vacation plans will ensure a successful family vacation. The tips below can help you make your next family vacation the best ever — for everyone.

1. Establish a plan. Let every member of the family have a say. Brainstorm all the possibilities. Build a list of activities, making sure that everyone has at least one activity as top priority. Then, reach a consensus to finalize your plans.

2. Keep a budget in mind. Plan a vacation you can afford. Remind older kids to save their allowance for spending money for the vacation and establish limits about how much money will provide them.

3. Stick to routines. The younger the child, the more important it is to stick to your regular schedule. Children under the age of 10 need to go to bed, get up, and eat at the same time they normally do at home. Young children’s bodies can’t adjust quickly to time changes and schedule adjustments.

4. Minimize boredom. When traveling, especially by car, take a variety of games, toys, books and videos to occupy time. Get out of the car at a travel center to stretch your legs and get some fresh air.

5. You can’t do it all. Slow down. The more you attempt to “fit it all in,” the greater the chance that irritability and frustration will set in. Set a steady pace that attempts to accomplish a little bit of the plan at a time.

6. Be flexible. No matter how well you planned beforehand, surprises and unexpected events will occur such as weather, sold-out events or illness. If you planned to hit certain restaurants or shows, be sure to make reservations ahead of time to prevent disappointment.

Once your vacation is complete, come together as a family and discuss how it went. Evaluate what worked and what did not. Consider adjustments that would make your next trip smoother and more enjoyable. By doing so, you will be on your way to making your next family vacation even better!


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