Tips for a Successful Family Vacation


People say that vacationing with kids is not really a vacation. It’s more like parenting in a new place or city. A co-worker told me a few years ago that you do not take vacations with kids; you take a trip somewhere. However, I do not feel that way. I love vacationing with my family. Family vacations do often take much more planning than an adult-only vacation and more luggage, but I love them and the memories they bring. Here are a few tips that have helped my family have fun vacations.

Pick activities your kids already enjoy

I call both of my kids fish because they love the water. Most of our vacations have centered around a beach, a pool, or a waterpark. I know if there is water, they will have a good time. Happy kids make for a happy vacation for all.

Watch YouTube videos

To help prepare for the trip, we watch YouTube videos of families who have been to our destination. This can help them to know what to expect and what they will see and do. It also builds excitement for the vacation. Watching videos also helps me prepare and know what to pack to make the vacation as easy as possible.

Make time for a nap/rest

Even if your kids no longer take a nap, I recommend taking some time to relax. Last summer, we had a great time in Clearwater, FL, and every day after coming back from the beach and pool, we would have some downtime in our hotel room before dinner. We would nap, watch TV, read a book, etc. When vacationing, there tends to be more running around than on a typical day, so having time to unwind can benefit all.

Don’t over-plan the day.

I am a planner. I make lists of everything we need, and then I have lists for everyone in my family to ensure everyone packs what they need. I create lists of things we can do and places we can visit, so when we get to the destination, we aren’t looking at each asking, “What do you want to do?” or Googling things to do in our hotel room. However, I do have to reign in. Too much planning is not fun. No one wants to be on a schedule when they are on vacation. To help me not over-plan our day, I find things I think we’d all be interested in doing, and we pick 1-3 we want to make sure we do and everything else if we get to it, great, and if we don’t, that’s fine too.

Have fun!

You’re on vacation, so have fun! We want our kids to have fun, but as parents, we should also have fun. Take the pictures, completely unplug from electronics, wear the swimsuit, and have waffles with whip cream, chocolate chips, and a milkshake on the side for breakfast. Enjoy the time together as a family.

Growing up, I didn’t take many vacations. Now that I have my own kids, I love taking them on new adventures and seeing more of the world. My family loves a vacation. Some years we make a big trip, and others, we do something small, but we always have a great day and make many memories.