Even after you manage to take some time off work, decide where you’re going and save enough money to get there, it can still be tough when traveling with a family. Whether you’re a family of 3 or 7, make sure you know the best – and cheapest – ways to take your entire family on a vacation.
Oh, The Places You’ll Go
Surprisingly enough, certain cities are more family friendly than others. Many times this means there are more attractions, things to see and do and places to be that are age-appropriate for kids. U.S. News and World Report rated Honolulu as the best city to travel to with a family, and Yellowstone National Park was ranked number two. Denmark took the top spot for best place to travel in the world with family, followed by Thailand.
When deciding on a place to take your family, make sure there is something for everyone, no matter their age. Making sure your next vacation has some of these attractions will keep your family happy:
A Park – And not just any park. Make sure the park has things your family likes to do. Love to hike? State parks are a great option that is cheap (sometimes even free!) for those that prefer the outdoors. Some are equipped with zoos, outdoor adventure activities such as zip lining or rock climbing, or botanical gardens. Look for parks that offer a group discount or family admission prices.
Hit The Water – If the weather permits, cool off how the locals do. If you’re on the coast, visit a beach. Research ahead of time to see which ones are free. Visit the local lake and rent a kayak that will fit the whole family. Some cities have free splash pads which are a great way for the little ones to cool off. Make sure to bring a dry bag to ensure all of your valuables stay dry. To prevent your cell phone or wallet from getting soaked, store it in a water proof dry bag or pouch.
Take A Tour – If you’re in a larger city, many will have free walking tours. This is a great way to see the city at no cost, while getting some exercise. These are great for middle school and high school aged kids who will have interest in the local culture. Some tours are even themed! A popular theme is based around graveyards and ghosts.
To Fly Or To Drive
Once you’ve decided on where you’re going, start to look at how you’re going to get there. While you may have no option and have to fly to some locations, many times it is much more cost effective for a large family to drive.
If you’re within driving distance, run the numbers. Is the cost of everyone’s ticket more expensive than the total cost of gas? Probably, but make sure you factor all costs in. Be sure to weigh in the possibility of having to pay for parking wherever you go. If you plan to fly, find out how much it will cost to get from the airport to your hotel.
Pack For The Whole Family
Packing for the whole family is a much different story than packing for one. When everyone packs their own bag, it’s hard to travel with all of that bulky weight – and not to mention expensive.
Pack one, two or three bags (depending on how many people are traveling) and utilize the convenience of packing cubes. Assign everyone their own cube or two, and have them pack all of their clothes and other items in them. This will allow for easy access and distribution once you arrive at your destination, and keep everyone’s personal items separate from one another. Siblings won’t be fighting over who has whose clothes when they are all separated by packing cubes.
Pack one toiletry bag for everyone. Separate toothbrushes with individual covers. Instead of travel size bath products, consider bringing full size ones and sharing. By combining all of your items together, you’ll save money from not over packing and checking multiple bags. Spend your time enjoying your family during vacation – not packing and unpacking.
While traveling with your family may pose more of a challenge than traveling by yourself, you are sure to enjoy their company and have a great time. By doing something everyone will enjoy, your next family vacation can be a carefree and relaxing one.