Summer is just about here and it’s time to plan that family vacation. You know I always have tips for making your life easier, so I’m here to share some family-vacation lessons we’ve learned over the years. Check out these ideas for simplifying the process as you prepare for summer vacation. And if you haven’t chosen a destination yet, I’ve got a number of fun reasons you should add St. Louis to your list!
Simple Tips for a Planning Your Family Vacation
- Get everyone involved in the planning. Listen to everyone’s ideas and get the whole family involved in planning and preparing. When everyone has buy-in, everyone will be invested in making the vacation a success. Make sure you’re including activities that will be fun for each family member. The best way to do that is to let everyone see what’s available and work together to choose what you’ll do.
- Choose a destination that has something for everyone. When deciding where to go, be sure you pick a destination that will be memorable for everyone. No need to go some place that will only be fun for half of you–it’s a FAMILY vacation, so make sure the whole family has fun. I mentioned St. Louis and it’s definitely a destination that has fun for all ages. Take a look at this list of 25 things to do in St. Louis. I’m sure it will give you more than a few reasons to add St. Louis to your summer vacation plans. We’re big on museums, so the St. Louis City Museum would be on or list. I’d love to hear what you’d add to yours.
- Create a loose itinerary. I’m all about planning, scheduling and lists, but I know that family vacations never go exactly as planned. Come up with an itinerary and ideas, but don’t expect to adhere to it strictly. Things are much more fun when you go with the flow. Our best family vacation moments are the ones that happened naturally.
- Adhere to a no phone/low phone policy. One thing we often do on vacation is to only allow our kids to use their phones for photos. In fact, sometimes I’ll give them an “assignment” to take a certain amount of photos, with the goal being to keep their focus on the fun. Decide as a family to disconnect and turn the attention to family time. This will come with a number of groans and complaints, but stick to your guns. You’ll be glad you did.
- Focus on your family more than your plans. This goes along with #3. Make sure family is the focus. This means being more concerned about enjoying each other than you are about crossing things off your vacation to-do-list. It will be worth it.
- Take lots of photos (even if someone won’t cooperate!). I am obsessed with family pictures and I’m on level 10 when we’re on vacation. This drives my family crazy, but I’m committed to capturing our family moments whether they like it or not. And, as much as they hate posing for those pictures, they appreciate re-living those memories in our family photo books. So, take lots of pictures even if they don’t want you to. They’ll thank you later.
- Don’t overpay. If you’ve hung out on the blog for a while, you know I like a good deal. This is never as true as when I’m planning our vacations! Do your research, track down coupons and cash in those travel and hotel points. Don’t end your vacation with spending regrets. Set a budget and stick to it. (That’s a great lesson for the kids!)
Win a Trip to St. Louis #FunnestFamily
Since St. Louis is the perfect place for your next family vacation, Explore St. Louis wants to give you a chance to win a fun family prize pack in their #FunnestFamily contest! One winner will receive the following:
- A two-night stay at a St. Louis area hotel
- Tickets to several St. Louis attractions for the whole family
- A $50 Visa gift card
To enter, simply share your family’s funnest picture or video on Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #FunnestFamily. You can also enter on the Explore St. Louis Facebook page. The contest ends 6/30/16 and there’s one entry per person. ENTER NOW and if you win, you’ll definitely have to pop by and let me know!
My fingers are crossed for each of you! Enter to win and remember these simple tips when you’re planning your family vacation. Have something to add to the list? Let’s chat about it in the comments or on Facebook and Twitter.