At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
We help families take meaningful vacations so that they can escape everyday life, show their kids the world and make lifelong memories - with care, confidence and peace of mind.
Your (free) guide to the top travel destinations for families with babies, teens and everyone in between.
Planning a family vacation should be an exhilarating experience … at least during the initial stages. But have you ever gotten so stressed out building the perfect itinerary or booking the best rates that you felt like you needed a vacation before you left on vacation? Or worse still, stretched yourself so thin that you got sick before departure? If either (or both) of these instances sounds familiar, you’re far from alone.
Of course, adding the family dimension to travel often exacerbates the frustration because there are more people to plan for and more interests to bear in mind. But we’re here to tell you it doesn’t have to be this way. Family vacations should be chock full of exciting and invigorating moments, from the earliest planning stages to the after-trip photo album. No planning stress required.
To help you achieve this, we’ve compiled a list of seven foolproof tips that make how to plan a family vacation a cinch.
You need a minimum of three months to plan a trip effectively. Of course, trips with air travel and international border crossings require even more lead time to secure the best deals. Relying on last-minute bookings is a surefire way to pay through the nose. What’s more, extra time ensures securing passports and other documentation goes off without a hitch.
Planning ahead means booking out longer and often getting better deals. Don’t become mired in a last-minute scramble to find accommodations and book tickets. Instead use your time wisely to take full advantage of the best offers through airlines, hotels, rental car companies, tour companies, and more.
An added time buffer will also ensure you don’t feel the crunch as your departure date looms. Instead, you’ll be rested and better prepared to head out on that family adventure. The extra time will also guarantee you can weigh out the best options regarding your family’s ideal itinerary, travel style, and voyaging pace.
Nothing beats on-the-ground knowledge and local connections when planning a family vacation. The more exotic the destination, the truer this proves. For these reasons and many more, we recommend working with an experienced family trip planner who has cultivated a strong local network at your intended destination.
Their expertise means your family will benefit from the best hotel programs and lodging options in different areas. And it also comes with access to one-of-a-kind experiences not available when DIYing a vacation. Travel advisors dedicate their days to ensuring customers enjoy the most satisfying and enjoyable excursions possible. As professionals in the industry, they also remain up-to-date on the latest pandemic travel requirements and much more.
They provide much-needed support throughout your trip. Why is this important? Because no matter how carefully you plan, travel always comes with an element of the unexpected. Fortunately, with a professional travel agent, you’ll always know who to call in an emergency.
If there’s one thing COVID taught families on-the-go, it’s that carrying travel insurance is a must. While we always expect the best, it’s also important to prepare for the worst and have the resources to handle it as effortlessly as possible. Cancellations occur, as do pandemic-related emergencies. When these issues arise, you don’t want to stress about things like getting refunds from airline carriers and hotels.
Thankfully, travel insurance handles the heavy lifting. Most families can’t afford to lose their vacation investment, and they shouldn’t have to. Instead, travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits guarantees quick reimbursements for nonrefundable and prepaid trips. Just read the fine print to make sure you meet the cancellation requirements.
Travel insurance also gives you the confidence to know that minor incidents won’t balloon into vacation-ruining experiences. And you can rest assured that should a medical emergency arise, you’ll be well-prepared to handle it. Travel insurance with emergency medical benefits generally covers dental and medical emergencies and emergency transportation services.
Family vacations on a budget come with better outcomes and a higher sense of satisfaction. But without a clear budget, all bets are off. After all, it’s easy to overspend and overspend BIG with impulse splurges on souvenirs, activities, food. You get the point.
Our best advice for staying out of debt? Create a realistic travel budget and stick to it. Where to start? Define categories for the various things that will pop up during a trip, including:
Then, allocate specific amounts towards each category or day of your trip. For example, it’s easier to stay within budget if you know you’ve got $150 or $250 per person per day to play with. A travel advisor will also offer realistic advice and their expertise on where to splurge and where to save.
When you’re clear on money and what you’re spending, you remove a gigantic stressor from your vacation. You also avoid unexpected debt after the fact. Here are four simple ways to save money for family vacations.
In the thick of a family vacation jam-packed with fun activities, it’s easy to lose sight of the leisure aspect of travel. This can leave you and your kids feeling frazzled rather than dazzled.
There’s no way around it. The younger your kids, the slower your family will go. But that can be a blessing in disguise, allowing you to experience deeper immersion than more harried tourists. Slower travel options prove essential to families journeying with younger children. That said, older kids often enjoy a more leisurely pace, too.
And that’s okay. Especially if you’re the kind of globetrotter who requires an excuse to take it easy and smell the roses in a new destination. By customizing your pace and remaining flexible, you’ll gain a more profound appreciation for the places you visit while experiencing the rhythms of daily life more authentically.
It can feel tempting to bring every possible item you think you might need while on vacation. But overpacking is one of the easiest ways to take your trip from a pleasure to a downer. Having heavy and awkward luggage tied to your hip throughout a vacation can start to feel like a ball and chain. And it’s an unnecessary burden.
Spending a whole trip consumed with ensuring excess luggage gets from point A to point B can quickly become overwhelming. And it can also leave you feeling stressed and worried. Bringing stuff you don’t need means paying more for luggage on your flights, and it ups your risk of having something lost or stolen while traveling. Trust us. On an adventurous family outing, the last thing you want to worry about is cumbersome bags.
Instead, pack lightly and stick to the bare essentials. Not sure where to start? Or how to pare down your wardrobe? Pull out your itinerary and review the activities you’ll do and the destinations you’ll see. Dig into the weather forecast for your trip, and then make the tough decisions about what to bring. Dress for comfort and local weather conditions. Layers often work best. As for diaper bags and baby gear, check with a trusted travel advisor about alternate options.
Overpacking can weigh down your family vacation, and so can overplanning. While
developing an itinerary is essential to maximizing time at your destination, avoid the temptation to schedule out every single minute of every day. Instead, we suggest planning for one or two primary daily activities.
There’s no way to see everything without becoming utterly exhausted. So, how to plan a family trip? By making a list of travel priorities. These priorities represent the must-do experiences and must-see attractions you want to tick off your destination’s list. In the process of negotiating, you’ll gain valuable insights into what different family members find most intriguing and exciting about your next travel location.
Of course, you may still be tempted to fit in too many activities. What to do? Rank your top three to five attractions and focus on them first. That way, you can make sure everyone’s on the same page about your non-negotiables.
The seven tips above will put you on the fast track to how to plan a family vacation that’s memorable, meaningful, and connects you with people from all over the globe. When you give yourself plenty of lead time, hire a family trip advisor, and get travel insurance, you’ll enjoy added peace of mind … no matter what life throws your way.
Ready to find out more? Schedule an appointment to discuss your family’s next vacation and how you’d like to make it extra special this year.