How do you plan a family holiday? There are many ways to plan family travel, 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 traveling for years, our friends were travelers, 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 a “how to” guide on how to plan a family holiday.
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Step 1: Plan A Family Holiday: Where Do You Get Travel Inspiration
Where do you get your travel inspiration from? Instagram is a great place to get some family travel inspiration. You can check out the World Of Travels With Kids Instagram account here and others, like the ones included in our post Best Instagram Accounts For Family Travel, 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.
Step 2: Plan A Family Holiday: Set Parameters
These are the most common parameters for limiting a family holiday:
- 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? This is how we decided when we would go to Bali.
Step 4: Establishing 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.
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 favorite 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.
Lonely Planet Guidebook
When 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 and works as an amazing resource for family travel.
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.
Amazon is a great place to order your Lonely Planet guidebooks. Below are some of our favorites on Western Australia.
A combination of Lonely Planet guidebook and Travel Agency magazines gives us a solid foundation before launching into the murky waters of the internet.
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, in our opinion, is not enough time 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.
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.
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 traveler 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:
- The age of your kids – for smaller kids, do they need a day time sleep, how far will they be able to walk?
- How you personally view ‘a family holiday’ – how much down time is needed.
- 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 traveler. Now, 7 years into parenthood, I 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.
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 realize 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 week prior to departure take a look at Travel Packing List – 1 Week To Departure
How to visualize the departure & get very organized – 1 Month Prior To Departure
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