It may be winter, but spring is just around the corner and who doesn’t want to travel in spring? Tempted by commercials filled with sun, sand and shopping (is that just me?) your family has caught the travel bug and you’re dying to hop on the next plane, but with a family it takes a little more planning than that–or a lot more planning–to guarantee a successful trip!
Here are our 5 fast tips to successfully planning family travel for the spring.
1. Create a Budget
When it comes to traveling as a family, budget may be the most important factor for most. Big or small, it’s easy to let your budget get away from you if you’re not careful! Creating a budget will assist you in determining where you should go, what you should do and how long you should do it for. Make sure to plan a little bit of a “cushion” and not theoretically spend your budget down to your last cent while planning. It’s always nice to be able to go to an impromptu dinner or buy a few extra souvenirs (or even spend less than you set aside)–plus you never know what little emergencies could arise.
Odds are your family probably has several ideas of what the perfect family vacation destination would be. Make a list and narrow them down based on which fit best within your budget (see how hand that thing is?), offer the most for every member of your family, etc. We find that the more we talk things through and figure out what each person is looking to experience the easier it is to see which destination would be able to cater to our family as a whole.
3. Shop around for airfare and hotels
If your family is wanderlust like ours you probably keep a close eye on airfare to some of your most coveted destinations on a frequent basis. We find that you can score amazing airfare deals well in advance of trips as well as within 45 days. It really depends on the season, whether or not airlines are competing heavily to outdo one another with fantastic rates, etc. The hardest thing can be pulling the trigger, however, when you do find amazing rates. We like to come up with our ideal airfare rates and then as soon as we find something close to that we snatch them up. We’ve played the waiting game before and won and loss within 24 hours of finding “acceptable” airfare, so don’t wait too long as airfare changes faster than weather in new England and you could end up spending hundreds of dollars (literally) more if you want even a day after seeing rates you like!
4. Research the weather and tourist patterns
If you’re traveling outside the region you live in, make sure you check the weather at your destination before you go! Yes, you may be flying towards warmer weather, but will it be rain-free as well? Also, peak seasons vary by destination and some areas may surprise you (Virgin Islands for example is earlier in the year than their neighbor to the north–Florida). Knowing what kinds of crowds to expect not only prepares you for how best to keep your little SPD/ADHDers calm and relaxed, but probably helps weed out some of the things you do and don’t want to try to do on your trip. As we often suggest, travel right after or right before peak seasons to enjoy peasant weather and smaller crowds.
Yes, this may seem like a no-brainer, but even we have made the mistake of underestimating how exhausted we’d be jetting off from fun activity to fun activity a time or two. We often find the one day on, one day off pattern works well for us. While you can’t always do this, make sure you plan downtime, whether days or portions of days, for your family to decompress–especially your ADHDers.
I hope these fast tips help if your family is preparing to plan for your upcoming spring and summer trips!