Choosing your destination is the first step when planning a family vacation. You want a destination that will offer something for the entire family, not just the kids. Finding that perfect destination and a perfect vacation package to go with it may take a little research, but it's by no means impossible. Here are some things to consider when choosing your destination.
Choosing Your Destination.
- Remember the limits. Children and older adults have one common problem: they tire easily. You can't expect to take an elementary-age child on a cross country skiing trip that they will enjoy. Now there might be a few exceptions, but for the most part, they will be completely worn out before the first day is over.
Does everyone like to fly? A car trip might be a good choice if you have nervous flyers in the family. However, if flying is a must, there are ways to reduce stress and help people overcome a fear of flying.
Fun for everyone. Most people plan vacations for only one part of the family. Either everything is all about the kids or it's all about the parents. Find a reasonable balance so that everyone will enjoy the vacation. Otherwise, someone will be miserable the whole time, and will probably make everyone else miserable as well. Brainstorm as a family to get input from everyone.
Weather. In my family, weather is the primary consideration for where we visit. I despise cold weather, so anywhere we visit must be at least 60 degrees during the time we'll be visiting. Is there someone like me in your family?
When you're thinking about weather, though, don't just think temperature. Consider the precipitation possibilities and the real temperature -- how it will actually feel outside if there's a strong wind. Remember also that the threat of severe and potentially dangerous weather conditions hangs over some regions during certain times of the year.
Safety. You should always consider the safety of anywhere you visit whether it's an amusement park or another country. The questions may differ, but the concern should be the same. Before taking your family to an amusement park, ask about its reputation and the safety of its rides. If you're going to another country, consider the country's political climate and their attitudes toward people from your country. Even if it's not safe to go somewhere at the present time, you can always visit later when the strife has diminished. Always check with the U.S. Department of State for their Travel and Safety Warnings.
Learning experiences. It's always fun when you can combine your vacation with a little bit of history or other learning. Although children may not think so at first, vacations where they learn just a little bit about history or science or some other subject will be the vacations that they will remember the rest of their lives. And who knows? It might even help them pass next year's geography test.
Adventure. Whether you choose a destination you've always wanted to visit or one that just has a great price, always include a little adventure. Even though it might be fun to hang out at the beach all day for a week, you want to have fun memories from the trip. These family adventures will be the stories you tell, and your kids tell, and their kids tell for years to come.
Finding a Destination Package Deal.
- TripAdvisor.com: This website offers consumer reviews of a variety of destinations and resorts. There are also reviews of specific vacation packages. You will be able to determine whether the vacation package is really as great as it sounds.
- FamilyTravelNetwork.com: The Family Travel Network offers reviews of resorts around the world. They also give destination suggestions for families with children of all ages. Additionally, you can find hot deals on the site.
- Kaboose.com: From summer camp searches for kids to travel destination information, Kaboose has a little of everything. Although this is a newer site, they have a lot of great information on popular travel destinations and attractions.
- Papa's Travel: Although this site isn't as popular in most circles as Expedia or Travelocity, they often have exceptional deals. Early bird specials and last minute deals are their specialties. You can find great information on thousands of destinations while at the same time locking in exceptional deals.