Planning a family vacation can often invoke mixed feelings, for such trips can fall anywhere in the gamut of dreamy to disastrous. Striking a fine balance between the largesse allowed in the holiday spirit and controlling the tantrums of energetic toddlers or volatile teenagers can be an exhausting exercise for the parents. That’s where some useful family trip tips can come in handy. With a little planning and some smart tricks up your sleeves, you can turn such escapades into the most amazing vacations and build lasting memories together.

Pick Your Destination Wisely

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This the most pivotal family trip tip for planning a smooth-sailing vacation. You must take into account the preferences and limitations of all the members going on the trip when zeroing in on a destination. If you are travelling with elders, for instance, a hiking or camping trip or even a vacation in the mountains may not be the most practical idea. Their health issues will not only limit your access to activities in such areas but may also get aggravated, resulting in serious complications. Similarly, travelling to a spa-resort or a nature retreat with kids may not be the best idea. It will leave them bored, restless and increasingly frustrated and these emotions will catch up with the rest of the family too.

Travel at Comfortable Hours

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This is especially important if you are flying to your destination, as catching flights at ungodly hours may disrupt the routine for kids and seniors in the family, making them cranky and grumpy – in that order. Add long layovers to the mix and you have a recipe for disaster. So, choosing the right flights is extremely important to kick off your holiday on the right note. This family trip tip will also come in handy if you are taking a road trip or embarking on a train journey. Travel becomes less hectic when everyone is well rested and well fed.

Plan Your Travel Itinerary and Make Bookings

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Following your heart and taking off to places on a whim may be the most exciting way to travel but it is certainly not the wisest way when you are out and about with your entire family in tow. That’s the kind of thing best saved for solo travels or romantic getaways with your significant other. When you are vacationing with family, it is best to plan your entire itinerary to the T and make all necessary bookings – hotels, cabs and so on – beforehand. Unless you are adventurous enough to risk being stranded without a place to stay or means of transportation in an unknown place with young kids or ageing parents, it is a family trip tip you will be thankful for. No matter how tedious it seems to put together a list of hotels, find cab services, make bookings and follow up calls, do it.

Get All Your Travel Documents in Order

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This is a crucial family trip tip for foreign vacations. You must make a thorough check-list of all the documents necessary for travel to your chosen destination for every member of the family, as different identification proofs, medical certificates and other documents may be required for people of different age groups. Get all these documents in order well in time, so you can produce them as and when necessary. Being meticulous about this aspect of holiday planning can save your family the disheartening eventuality of cancelling a trip at the last minute because one person’s visa did not come through.

Pack All the Essentials Yet Travel Light

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Hear, hear, mothers. Not because the onus of packing for the entire family must fall on you (it shouldn’t) but because most mothers (yours truly included) have a tendency to add an obscene amount of bulk to their baggage trying to cover all the ‘just in case’ bases. Resist the temptation by drawing out a list of all the essentials – clothes, shoes, toiletries, medicines, books, food – that you will absolutely need on the trip and stick to it. Making sure that you bring all the essentials you are going to need on the trip is the important part of this family trip tip. Basic medicines for the kids and a first aid kit, special medication that you or any member of your family is on, special supplements or formula food your kids are on, mobility or other aids – are some such essentials. Basically, anything that is necessary for the day-to-day functioning of every member of the family must be factored in as essentials.

Elements of Entertainment

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Long hours of travel, be it to your destination or between places once you have arrived, can be harrowingly monotonous. This family trip tip may seem incongruous to your whole family travel plan but the truth is no matter how focused you are on making the holiday about bonding better and making memories together, at some point you will run out things to talk about or fun games to play. Look beyond your ideal vision of a family vacation and cater for some elements of entertainment for every member. Books, tablets, phone apps, portable gaming devices, music players – whatever works for your clan.

Keep an Open Mind

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Don’t embark on your family vacation with set vision or unrealistic expectations. The best family trip tip you can get is to keep an open mind, be prepared for disappointments and just go with the flow. Your teen kid will spend too much time on the phone. The young kids will throw tantrums. Elders will complain. Someone will throw up. Someone will get sick. Flights might get delayed. Jetlag may last longer than you like. Some tourist attractions will seem overrated. Let Carpe Diem be your holiday motto, and when you look back, you’ll see that even the trickiest moments can make for entertaining memories.

With these family trip tips to help you streamline the ordeal of planning a holiday, are you ready to take the plunge? Let us help you plan a trip with a detailed itinerary.

Author

A journalist by profession, a freelance writer by choice. When not writing, she likes to spend her time in company of books and food or hitting the road to explore new places, besides juggling roles as an army wife and mommy.