How to Plan a Family Holiday!

How do you plan a family holiday? There are many ways to plan a family holiday, and each way will suit different families.  However, this is how we go about getting a plan for our family holiday.

My brother always said that planning a trip was half the fun.  We were in our late twenties then, we’d been travelling for years, our friends were travellers, all we did was live, breath, and talk travel. The world was our oyster and I don’t think we conceived that there would be a time when spending hours poring over books (or nowadays hours on the internet) would be an impossible luxury.

Fast forward to the present – where time is a precious commodity – and the information on the internet providing way too much information, this is my how to guide on how to plan a family holiday.

plan a family holiday, how to plan a family holiday, plan a family vacation, steps to plan a vacation
Which piece of playground equipment to play on? Bali, Indonesia

Step 1: Plan a Family Holiday:  Where do you get Travel Inspiration?

Where do you get your travel inspiration from? Instagram, including accounts like ours and others at this list are a good place to spend some social media time…

In our case, we have a bucket list of destinations as long as our arm…  Some places are carefully saved for “when the kids are bigger” (for example, doing some of New Zealand’s famous treks) and others are currently “out of our budget” like Bhutan.

For most people choosing their destination is a long term task, and this blog assumes that you have chosen the area or countries you wish to visit.


Booking.com

Step 2. Plan a Family Holiday: Set Parameters!

These are the most common parameters for limiting a family holiday

  1. Budget
  2. the number of days you have available.

One of the above will be your limiting factor! Some of us are time poor (or with children’s schooling to consider) while others have got more time but less money.  One way or the other, you need to set the parameters for your trip – what is the budget going to be, or how much time do you have?

Step 3: Plan a family holiday: Decide when you will go!

This step is often decided by external factors, namely when your boss will approve your vacation or when the children have school holidays!

If neither of these are over-riding factors there is of course – the SEASONS.   What will the weather be like in your destination?  What is the best time of year to visit?  Are there any festivals that you would like to see?

visiting when there are local events is very special.

Step 4:  Establishing the ‘trip pillars’ / the things you must see.

This step can be done fairly quickly – or in a fairly lengthy process. It’s really up to you, and how much time you have; how easily you process information.

  1. Travel Agency Magazines.

I pop into a travel agent and pick up those glossy brochures with 7, 14 and 21 day tours included in them. I’ve got a couple of favourite travel providers that get a bit off the beaten track and consider what these 2-3 companies offer for the destination I am interested in, and how they have managed the timing.  This is a quick and easy way to establish what these ‘tried and tested’ tour companies consider the major sights in an area, and how they create the overall itinerary.

  1. Lonely Planet guidebook

If I am certain on my destination, I will go out and buy a Lonely Planet.  If I am less certain, I will ask my local library to order it in.   The Lonely Planet is a tried and tested information provider. They work to a certain formula.  You might not always like their information but in terms of describing major sights, and itineraries we find it to be 95% reliable and presented according to the same formula, worldwide.

A combination of Lonely Planet guidebook and Travel Agency magazines gives us a solid foundation before launching into the murky waters of the internet.

  1. The internet, blogs and reviews

We are aspiring travel bloggers, it is true.  That doesn’t mean that we find family travel blogs very useful at this stage of the trip.  Usually rich in detail and with a lot of opinion, family travel blogs vary widely in usefulness but also result in one big problem: information overload.  it is really hard to figure out what is important, and what is not.

We find that ‘family friendly’ is often synonymous with kids clubs, all inclusive resort style accommodation which is, it is true,  family friendly but not our travel style. Try to figure our the “travel style” of a blogging family if you are going to base your travel on their advice.

I’ve also patiently read to the bottom of family travel blogs to find that the author spent a day in a place… which is not enough in our opinion to really provide sound advice.

Trip Advisor is helpful, but its just a bunch of people’s opinions. It must be taken with a grain of salt.

  1. A specialist travel agent

A specialist travel agent is worth their weight in gold.  However, we believe that before going to any travel agent you need to know what you basically want to do, and what your travel style is.  (Mumma has worked as a specialist Peru travel agent for over 10 years, so somewhat biased).  Having some idea of the itinerary and a genuine desire to see the best of a country and you will find that a specialist travel agent who knows the ins and outs of a country can provide fantastic advice that is not ‘cookie cutter’ but genuinely tailored to your needs.

 

plan a family holiday, how to plan a family holiday, plan a family vacation, steps to plan a vacation
enjoying the South West of Western Australia

Step 5:  Ask yourself,  what can you feasibly do?

When I am about to plan a family holiday this is the step that  trips me up as I see an amazing list of places to visit in any place and want to do it all.  ( Pre Kids I was always the type of traveller that was busy from dawn to dusk squeezing in museums etc.)

With kids, and with the family in tow, the ‘what can we feasibly do’ question depends on a number of factors, including:

  1. the age of your kids – for smaller kids, do they need a day time sleep, how far will they be able to walk?
  2. how you personally view ‘a family holiday’ – how much down time is needed.
  3. As the kids get older,  what are their interests etc.

It was a large mindset change for this Mumma to transfer from Solo Backpacker to Family traveller, and now (7 years into parenthood) understand that while you might not see so much the kid’s perspective will bring a great deal of joy to our visit.  It’s not just about the places you have been, but the experiences you have as a family.

 

plan a family holiday, how to plan a family holiday, plan a family vacation, steps to plan a vacation
we love to walk while on holiday!

3. The internet,  blogs and reviews

We are aspiring travel bloggers, it is true.  That doesn’t mean that we find family travel blogs very useful at this stage of the trip.  Usually rich in detail and with a lot of opinion,  family travel blogs vary widely in usefulness but also result in one big problem: information overload.  it is really hard to figure out what is important, and what is not.

I’ve also patiently read to the bottom of family travel blogs to find that the author spent a day in a place… which is not enough in our opinion to really provide sound advice.  Therefore Family Travel blogs only serve to confuse at this stage in the process.

Trip Advisor is helpful, but its just a bunch of people’s opinions. It must be taken with a grain of salt.

4. A specialist travel agent

A specialist travel agent is worth their weight in gold.  However, we believe that before going to any travel agent you need to know what you basically want to do, and what your travel style is.  (Mumma has worked as a specialist Peru travel agent for over 10 years,  so somewhat biased).  However, a specialist travel agent who knows the ins and outs of a country can provide fantastic advice that is not ‘cookie cutter’ but genuinely tailored to your needs.

NOW YOU HAVE A PLAN FOR YOUR FAMILY HOLIDAY!

Ok, Once you have the following points established…

  1. Destination
  2. Approx dates for trip, including any important festival dates.
  3. Amount of time available + budget
  4. The Trip Pillars
  5. A basic itinerary

… you can move onto How to book and organise Your Family’s Perfect Holiday.  Now we are getting into the nitty gritty.

Tips to prepare for your travel!

What goes in our family travel medical kit?   This is our list of what we have included!

This is our guide to baby travel gear, which I very nearly titled, a guide to baby travel “stuff”As you evolve into the parent role, you realise that babies and toddlers have a lot of STUFF.  But what do you need? This is our list.

Booked and ready to go? Pre departure checklists

For the last 24 hours – check this one out  Departure Day: a final checklist

For the week prior to departure take a look at Travel Packing List – 1 week to Departure

How to visualise the departure & get very organised – 1 month prior to departure

 

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Add comment

  • Ha – was only passing a travel agents this morning and felt the urge to collect some brochures to help plan a trip. I thought i might be alone on this one given the amount of on-line info, but you can’t beat a few glossy pics to help with inspiration!

    • i totally agree. call me old fashioned but i find it so much easier to flip through the pages, reviewing maps, pictures and itineraries all at once. then you flip back to something you liked. It seems so much easier than the info online. And easier to digest when you are looking ‘big picture’.