Bringing the whole family together for a vacation can be a lot more work than you would think. You cannot just throw a few things into a suitcase, throw the suitcase into the back of your car, and then drive off, especially if you plan on vacationing for a week or longer. To have a memorable vacation, you need to plan things out, and there are a lot of factors you’ll have to juggle if you want to keep travel stress to a minimum.
1. Build a Budget
Vacations cost money. There’s fuel if you’re going by car and rental fees if you aren’t taking your personal vehicle. Consider other possible expenses, such as food, lodging, plane tickets, and entertainment costs. You must pay for suitcases and backpacks if you do not have them yet, and if your vacation takes you camping, you’ll need to buy necessary gear and possibly a camping trailer or an RV. You need to have your money on hand both before and during your vacation; therefore, it is wise to add up your expected costs and add approximately 25 percent more for emergencies.
2. Give Your Luggage a Dry Run
When the morning of your big vacation begins, you’ll want to get on the road early, whether it’s to reach an early flight or beat the morning traffic. Due to this, you will not want to waste time trying to fit your baggage into your vehicle. Otherwise, you might find out that you don’t have enough space. Ideally, you should pack as much into your vehicle, as you can, the night before and make sure the extra bags you will add in the morning will fit in the remaining space.
3. Develop Your Itinerary
Image via Flickr by Grand Canyon NPS
Before you head out on your family vacation, you should take some time to research your destination. What are the local tourist destinations? Where are all the best restaurants? Are there any big plays or concerts you’d want to see while you’re in the area? Use the answers to these questions to build your itinerary. Just remember you don’t have to follow it too strictly. You should not stress over fun things. In fact, you may find a hidden gem if you follow your child’s whim instead of your schedule.
4. Check Everyone’s Health
Medical emergencies are never good, but the situation is worse when they happen a thousand miles away from home. If you are going on a weeklong vacation or more, your family should check in with their doctors before they go, especially if they have ongoing health problems. You should also make sure everyone’s vaccines are updated, especially if you plan on going overseas.
It is wise to find out if your health insurance plan covers out of state or out of country doctor visits or emergencies. If possible, find an in-network provider prior to arriving at your destination. In the event you or your family needs medical care, you will know where to go ahead of time. Seniors over 65 can qualify for Medicare coverage and its supplemental insurance plans. Such individuals have an advantage because supplemental Medicare insurance plans allow them to use any Medicare health care provider within the United States.
5. Get Input from Everyone
The whole family should have some say on where they want to go and what they want to do when they get there. Young kids are not very good at planning, but by a certain age, they will know what activities they like and do not like. Older relatives might not be able to keep up if you stay too active, and a museum that is great fun for one person might be dull to everyone else.
A big family vacation can be just as stressful as it is fun, but you can do something about that stress. Plan your schedule and your budget, make sure everyone’s packed and healthy, and always remember to communicate with family members to make sure that all will enjoy the vacation.