A family vacation is always causing for excitement wherever you may be headed. But whether you’re camping in a National Park of jetting off to the sun the basic checklist remains the same.
Especially when traveling with little ones you want to be over prepared. Gone are the days when as a couple you could chuck a couple of sets of clothes in a bag and jump on a plane. That’s not to say that you need to have top-notch organization techniques, but by ticking through our family vacation checklist you can be sure your holiday will be as stress-free as it can be.
If you’re one of the 35 percent of American families taking a trip together this year, follow this checklist before you go to make sure you have everything you need.
If you are planning on going abroad before you even think about location or what time of year, you need to check that all the family members have passports and that they are all up to date.
If you are planning on going on vacation abroad you need to check that each member of the family’s passport has at least six months worth of validity on it from the date you travel.
For example, if you are planning on going away in August 2018 your passport must expire later than February 2019…make sense?
If any of you travel with less than six months of validity on your passport, you may be in for a nasty surprise when you reach immigration the other end. New passports can take up to six weeks to process, not to mention finding time to get photos sorted and gather cosign signatures too. Before you get Googling destinations, check the family passport situation.
Once you have checked the passports and picked your destination country the next step on your family vacation checklist is to figure out the visa situation.
There are many popular destination countries around the world where you will be granted a free 30-day tourist visa on arrival, like Thailand for example. There are some nations for which you must purchase an e-visa before you arrive, like Australia and Turkey or have to get a full formal visa granted before you leave home, like India.
Taking the time to assess the visa situation can save you major headaches later down the line.
Yes…kids need a visa too.
Booking your flights can be the most time-consuming part of your pre-departure checklist. Download the Hopper app and enter in the dates of your family vacation.
This app will predict when the cheapest airfares will come online, and therefore the best time for you to book. Price comparisons sites can be a really helpful tool but check back too frequently and the prices will start to go up.
To keep a track of prices use one browser and then when it is time to book use a different browser or computer and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the reduction in rates!
Remember that children under the age of two can fly for free, provided that they sit on the lap of a parent.
Picking the right kind of accommodation for your family is integral to the enjoyment of your holiday. Search online for the best deals and if you know you are traveling during high season be sure to book as far in advance as possible.
This can be a point of contention for many families but the trick is to be realistic. Ask yourselves is this going to be an all-out, once in a lifetime holiday or a bit of fun in the sun to break up the school summer holidays?
There are ways to save money for a holiday and while on holiday too. A family vacation is all about making memories and your little ones don’t care how much or how little you spend. After all, quality time together is priceless.
Managing expectations when it comes to budgeting is the most important thing. A $300 long weekend camping trip with the kids will be cheap and cheerful, if everyone is on board with that, there will be no drama.
A $5,000 is a little different. Just make sure, if you go this route, that you look for the . Where you go, a lot of the time, can decide how much fun you have on a trip.
For many parents, it is the packing that causes the most amount of stress. Stop right there. Packing need not be stressful or time-consuming if you get it right from the start.
When it comes to traveling with kids it is keeping them entertained that we worry about most. You do not need to take the whole toy cupboard with you, after all, there is so much to do and explore on holiday that they won’t look at half the stuff they bring with them anyway.
Plan ahead for the moments you know they’ll get bored, on the plane for example. Although we aspire drag our kids away from the screens a little tech fix won’t go amiss during the travel periods of your trip. Download some fun apps for them, if you are going abroad why not download a language app for them to brush up on their skills before they land.