Planning a family trip takes organizing a lot of moving parts and managing your whole family far away from home. But it’s a vacation and it’s supposed to be exciting for everyone! Use this time as an opportunity to bond, make memories, and explore new places together. But instead of overwhelming yourself and planning the entire trip alone, why not involve your kids in the process? By including them in the planning stage, you can foster their curiosity, teach them valuable skills, and make them feel invested in the trip.
Start with Brainstorming
Gather the family together and start a brainstorming session. Encourage your kids to share their ideas about the destination, activities, and sights they would like to explore. Write down all their suggestions, and let them know that their opinions matter. This will make them feel involved and excited about the trip.
Once you have a list of potential destinations, start researching them as a family. Do some internet sleuthing, watch some movies that take place there, check out books at the library, and use travel guides to learn about the history, culture, landmarks, and attractions of each place. Engage your kids in the research process by assigning them specific tasks, such as finding information about local cuisine or popular tourist spots. This will not only expand their knowledge but also empower them to contribute to the planning process.
Budgeting and Cost Considerations
Discussing the financial aspect of the trip is an excellent opportunity to teach your children about budgeting and money management. Involve them in setting a budget for the trip and explain how expenses such as accommodation, transportation, food, and activities need to be taken into account. Encourage them to come up with cost-saving ideas or alternatives that align with the family's budget.
Let Them Plan An Itinerary
Assign each family member the task of planning one day of the trip. They can choose the activities, attractions, and restaurants for that day. Encourage creativity and allow them to take charge of their assigned day. This will not only make them feel responsible but also give them a chance to explore their interests and preferences. It’s okay to check over their shoulder and provide your experience to ensure everyone has a good time (like reorganizing the itinerary to put the buffet after the theme park and not before it).
Packing and Organization
Involve your kids in the packing process by creating a checklist together. Ask them to list the essential items they think they'll need for the trip and explain the importance of packing efficiently. Teach them how to fold clothes, organize their belongings, and pack a suitcase or backpack.
Document the Journey
Encourage your kids to document the trip through photos, videos, or a travel journal. Provide them with disposable cameras or let them use their smartphones to capture the experiences and moments they find most memorable. With digital pictures, there’s no limit to how many pictures you can take, so they should feel comfortable making their goofiest faces and taking as many as possible so no moment is missed. Consider the disposable camera if you want to introduce a little novelty or challenge, after all there’s only a limited number of photos before it’s all gone!
Evaluate and Reflect
After the trip, gather as a family and reflect on the experience together. Break out the camera roll on your phones or cameras and have your kids share their favorite moments, what they learned, and how they would approach future trips differently. This is a great way to make airport travel or long road trips go by in a flash - by spending it reminiscing on the great time everybody had
Involving your kids in the trip planning process is a fantastic way to engage them, teach them valuable life skills, and create a sense of ownership and excitement. It encourages them to take an active role in the family, nurtures their creativity, and promotes lifelong learning. The next time you plan a family trip, make it a collaborative effort and embark on a journey of discovery together.