Plan for a successful family vacation

Vacations provide a chance to rest, recharge and experience new locales. Family vacations also provide an opportunity to make lasting memories parents and their children will remember forever.

According to the 2016 American Express Spending and Saving Tracker, 70 percent of Americans expected to travel for leisure in 2016. In addition, the Family Travel Association notes that between 35 and 40 percent of family travel is multigenerational. That means extended families comprise a large part of the travel market, even if trips are not associated with traditional family vacations. “Experimental travel,” or visiting locations that stray from the norm, has grown in popularity as people are more concerned with experiences than simply seeing a particular location.

Family trips are one of the fastest-growing segments of the tourism industry. Families traveling together can heed the following advice to ensure their next trip is successful.

  • Be flexible with travel dates. Traveling during off-peak seasons can mean fewer crowds and lower prices. Consider taking the kids out of school during a random week of the year rather than during scheduled breaks, such as winter vacation or spring break. Prices often spike during popular travel times and dip during less popular times, such as when kids are in school.
  • Consider a vacation rental. Look beyond the traditional hotel for accommodations. Prices on private rentals may be comparable or less expensive while providing travelers with more space. This is especially valuable to large families who want a little more breathing room. Kids can retreat to one area while the adults hang out in another, something that may not always be possible in standard hotels. Renting a condo or home with a kitchen also means families can prepare their own meals, which helps to curb costs.
  • Encourage input from all. One person’s idea of a good time may differ from everyone else’s. Poll family members regarding their vision of a dream vacation and spend time trying to cater to at least one of these ideas per person. Make certain children have a say as well, as they’ll be more likely to go along with plans that they were involved in making.
  • Extend the fun to others. One way to maximize enjoyment is to plan vacations with other families. This way children have a group of friends with whom they can share the fun and different experiences. What’s more, parents can enjoy adult time with friends. Some resorts discount for large groups, so this can be a cost-saving measure as well.
  • Expect some hiccups. Vacations can be relaxing, but getting there sometimes can be a challenge. Go into the vacation process recognizing the potential for traffic or airport delays and plan accordingly to keep children occupied. Pack plenty of snacks as well.

Family vacations are an entertaining way to spend time together. With advanced planning and some patience, the end results can be well worth the work.

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