If there's anything we can begin to look forward to again, it's trip planning. However, trip planning as a solo person or a young adult is quite a bit different than planning a trip when one has their own family. Kids aren't always the aptest to sit down and decide on destinations or details, and this can make for a messy time when everyone wants something different, but no one wants to sit down and actually plan it... until now.
Planning a trip as a family can actually be fun and with a few simple tips and tricks, it can be as easy as sitting down at the dining room table and having dinner. The key is to see it from a child's point of view and make things fun in a way that translates to that child-like level. Kids always live in the 'now,' meaning anything in the future isn't really a thought in their minds nor is it interesting. Saying the word 'Disneyworld' now as opposed to speaking about it a year from now will elicit vastly different reactions, and getting them to be in on the vacation-planning action can be a little tricky.
Start Off Right: Get Their Attention
The best way to do this is with food! Order a pizza, have a pasta night, or get their favorite takeout food. Any way that good food can be incorporated will always mark the beginning of an eventful and productive dinner. Once everyone is down, seated, and eating, it's time to break out the ace up your sleeve.
Prior to sitting down for dinner, it's helpful to print out things such as pictures and facts - basically, anything that's tangible and can be read or looked at. Pictures of destinations will go a long way in terms of grabbing children's attention and give them something to base their decisions on. They can also help to prompt discussions and encourage thoughtful conversations about which destination would be the most fun for your family.
Be Ready With Supplies
Allowing everyone to write down their thoughts, expectations, and goals while on vacation is a great way to have everyone be involved. Take the time to write all of these things down and then take turns reading them. You can even make a game out of it and have everyone pop their suggestions and vacation needs in a bowl or hat, then take turns pulling them out, reading them and voting on whether or not they're in agreeance or how important they think each item is.
This is also a great time to talk about the things your family doesn't want in terms of a vacation, as well. Systematically eliminate the destinations that don't sit well with everyone and determine what everyone expects in terms of lodging accommodations, experiences, and activities. When so many options are available from rental homes to hotels and all-inclusive resorts, there's a lot to hash out and determine. This can also help to weed out destinations based on the accommodations - if an all-inclusive resort is something everyone agrees on, then focus on destinations that have plenty of options. If a rental is something everyone is leaning towards, then perhaps a quiet getaway or a fun, nature-themed vacation is the best bet.
Decide On Travel Groups, Tour Guides, And Activities
While on vacation, your family might think it's easier to sign up for tour-guided activities. This can be especially helpful when visiting other countries, such as Europe, where there is an overwhelming number of sights to see and, luckily, plenty of incredible tour guides and tour groups. Deciding on must-see landmarks and sights will help shape the outlook of your trip and whether or not a travel guide will be needed. This is also the perfect time to decide on travel-related activities, as well.
Planning a trip to the Bahamas? Decide on glass-bottom boat tours, which beaches you'd love to see, any wildlife experiences, and maybe set aside a day for shopping and touring the island. Is New York City the pre-determined destination? Pull up a map and figure out where in the city to stay in order to have a central home-base and access to all the things you and your family would like to see. This process might be a long one and could take multiple days or even weeks to nail down, but the end result will be even better because the entire family was able to be in on it.