How to Plan a Memorable Family Vacation

Gabrielle Applebury
Family in car road tripping

Family vacations provide an awesome opportunity to bond and connect with each other. These trips can create wonderful memories whether you plan on traveling close to home or further away.

Planning the Trip

To create a memorable experience, take plenty of time to discuss what you plan on doing, where you plan on staying, and what experiences are important for you all to share. If you want to include your kids in the decision-making process, host a family meeting. During the meeting discuss:

  • A few locations you're interested in traveling to
  • Special landmarks, tourist attractions, activities, and tours each person wants to experience
  • What types of food or restaurants appeal to you
  • Souvenirs you'd like to bring home

Tip: If you're feeling daring, put ideas that work for everyone in a hat, and pick randomly to plan your time.

Traveling Far Away

For some families, traveling far away is the ideal trip. If this sounds like your family, you may want to consider:

  • How much traveling each member of your family can tolerate without becoming grumpy
  • How long you plan on being away for
  • How many places you plan on visiting
  • Checking out a local grocery store and planning a fun meal or snack together
  • Trying new activities locals tend to enjoy like surfing or hiking
  • Heading to the local farmers market and sampling different vendor's cuisines - you can even compile your samples to see who can come up with the best snack
  • Spending time together at night and recapping each person's favorite part of their day

Staying Close to Home

Sometimes staying close to home means you get to take family vacations more often. Local trips can be planned over the weekend or made into quick day trips. To make it memorable, maybe try:

  • A new mode of transportation like a Vespa or Amtrak train
  • Taking turns planning mini trips
  • Buying groceries at a store you haven't been to before and planning a picnic somewhere new
  • Spending the day at a local park and playing eye-spy with your little ones
  • Taking a hike on a trail you haven't tried before
  • Looking up the best nights for star gazing and planning an up-all-night adventure

Creating Memories

Creating Memories

The best part of family vacations is the memories you create together. Before you head out, think about:

  • Creating a scrapbook journal: bring a photo album with you and use templates to take turns jotting down favorite experiences
  • Pick out souvenirs: purchase special trinkets you can only find at your specific location and display them when you return home
  • Give the kids disposable cameras: Use disposable or inexpensive cameras to let the kids snap pictures of their favorite moments
  • Create a shared family album on your phone: Use the "shared" feature on your phones to sync all of your family vacation photos to one album
  • Bring home keepsakes: Look for special rocks, shells, or other collectible goodies that remind you of your trip
  • Send yourself postcards: Let each person write or draw a special memory and send the postcard to yourselves to look at once you get back home
  • Spend time planning and packing fun snacks to eat while away or during travel- leave each person in charge of creating one snack for everyone in the family so you have a good variety and name the snacks after the person who created them (Amy's spicy snack attack for example)

Having Fun on Your Trip

Once you've planned your trip, the fun can begin! Make your trip memorable and unique by:

  • Planning a scavenger hunt specific to your vacation spot
  • Competing to see who can take the silliest pictures
  • Seeing who can pack up the fastest and the neatest when it's time to head home
  • Seeing who can find the most beautiful building, scenic route, or landmark
  • Trying to capture the funniest pictures of other tourists
  • Seeing who best blends in with the locals

Remembering Your Trip

Traveling is a great way to connect with your family members. You may want to consider creating a special album, scrapbook, or framing a few pictures from your trip to recall the amazing experiences you shared with each other.

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How to Plan a Memorable Family Vacation