It's Vacation Time!

Taking a vacation is fun and relaxing for the entire family. Planning the “perfect” vacation (whatever perfect means to you), takes a little time and effort. It is important to note that a “perfect” vacation does not mean everything will go just the way you want; what it does mean is that when something doesn’t go your way, you'll be ready and not disappointed. 

If you're thinking about taking a family vacation, it's time to start planning. Get your family together and discuss your thoughts. Here are a few simple tips to help you get started.

Planning the Perfect VacationCredit: Introspective Pics

Tips for Planning the Perfect Vacation


Planning the perfect vacation can sometimes be as easy as traveling with people you enjoy. A fun group can make a trip enjoyable and memorable. On the other hand, traveling with someone who is not particularly your favorite person, even if everything else is perfect, can ruin the trip. Going on vacation with someone out of obligation, such as in-laws or business associates may be a risky venture. If you must spend vacation time with someone you don’t particularly care for, try to spend as little time with them as possible. Instead of taking a full vacation with them suggest a weekend getaway and save the longer vacations for the people you really want to be with. 

Location, Location, Location

What’s your vacation preference? Perhaps you love the ocean and the feeling of warm sand in your toes? Or maybe you prefer the calming sounds of a babbling brook and the adventure of a camp ground. Then again, you might just enjoy a vacation on the water, sailing along on a long luxurious cruise. On the other hand, you may like to ski and thus your ideal vacation would include mountains, the snow, and drinking hot beverages in front of a roaring fire place. But then again, maybe you’re a kid at heart and your vacation wouldn’t be complete unless you were able to visit some amusement parks. Whatever your preference, plan a vacation that is just right for your family.

The first thing to do is to decide where you are going to go. Finding a great place is the foundation to planning the perfect vacation. Enlist the help of your family members (and anyone else going on the trip with you). Together, choose a place that the majority of people prefer. Don’t fret if this time you don’t get to go where you want, there is always next year. 

Age Appropriate Activities

Do you have small children? If so, an amusement park vacation is always a safe bet, and a Disney vacation is one of the best. From their parks to their cruise lines, Disney and family fun go hand in hand. Just think of all the loving memories that will stay with you and your children long after the vacation is over.

If your children are older, consider some type of adventure or active vacation. If you go to the beach, sign the family up for surf lessons, play Frisbee and volleyball on the beach, rent bicycles and explore the town. Take day trips and bus tours and discover something new.

For those who enjoy pure relaxation, try spas or search for a beach resort in a secluded area that caters to relaxation. Just grab some suntan lotion and your favorite book. Some people (men in general) find golf relaxing and would enjoy a vacation that includes the game. A good idea for a couple’s vacation is to stay at a golf and spa resort; if you both play golf it's perfect, and if only the husband plays; the wife can get pampered while her husband is out on the course.

Time of Year

As far as planning the perfect vacation, when is just as important as where. If you don’t like crowds, don't take a vacation during the peak season. Always check your destination’s webpage or call and find out when their off season is; but be careful not to book your vacation during the rainy season (unless you enjoy the rain). Also, if you have children and they can take some time away from school without falling behind, take a vacation during the school year. While all the other children are in school, your family could travel to an amusement park or family resort.

If you enjoy being around people and don’t mind crowds, book your trip during the popular season but make sure to reserve your flight and room(s) early! In addition, plan vacation activities ahead of time and call as soon as possible to reserve important activities. Many hotels and resorts have a concierge service; once you make your room reservation, they can help you with activity and meal information and reservations.  


Look for a hotel or resort with a good reputation and reviews. Comfort and cleanliness is important. Request everything when you make your reservation, including adjoining rooms, cribs, non-smoking rooms, or view rooms, etc.  

When making a budget for your trip, remember to factor in everything, from your room(s), meals, activities, shopping, tips, and anything else. Try to find special deals on the web or through organizations you belong to, and don't forget to find out if your credit card companies offer travel deals (some do if you use their card to book your vacation). You can also ask the hotel/resort concierge for the best prices on activities.

Plan to go with the Flow

Make a list of things you “Must Do” and things you would “Like to Do” (if time and finances permit). Do some research on the location of your vacation and the hotel or resort you’ve chosen.  What type of amenities do they offer? Will you need a car while you are on vacation? If so, be sure to reserve a vehicle large enough to carry the people in your group and their luggage. If the hotel/resort has a concierge service, contact them when you make your hotel reservation and ask about getting reservations on everything on your “Must Do” list (especially if you will be on vacation during the hotel’s peak season).

When you go on your vacation, always be ready to “Go with the flow.”  Things don’t always turn out like we plan, no matter how much planning we do. Anything can happen and you should be ready to change your plans for a day or part of a day.

Take Lots of Photographs

After you’ve enjoyed the perfect vacation, you’ll want to remember it and share it with others so take pictures! You don’t have to take hundreds, but be sure to take photos of special places you visit; the hotel; and most importantly, your family and friends. When you get home, do not procrastinate, get the photos developed and put them in albums. If you went on vacation with a group of people, invite them over for a vacation photo viewing party and ask them to bring their photographs to share.


Remember, enjoying the perfect vacation requires a little bit of planning and the word "perfect" is a subjective term.


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