It is a big wide world out there! With so many amazing and inspiring places to visit, just how do you choose where to go on holiday when planning your next fun family vacations?
When travelling with 4 young kids, the destination is so important! We choose places that are safe above all, and just a short and cheap flight away. I also like it if they are relatively cheap too! We shortlist our destinations by considering the time of year and the type of activity we want to be doing. This usually boils down to surfing or snowboarding.
There has to be some kind of attraction to keep the children occupied and entertained, this could be a beautiful beach, a fun city or an interesting outdoors. Our kids will be much more excited about a trip and its lead up if we can talk about these things beforehand. As homeschool parents we like to add an element of education here too, so bonus points for a place with historical or cultural significance!
Choosing the destination is the most fun part, and after our flights are booked, then everything else falls into place. Some of our
We asked some fellow family
This article is the first in an 8 week series which will tell you all you need to know about planning a trip and it is the opinions of some very talented and adventurous bloggers.
See our introductory post here for more details on the authors.
Coming up in the series:
- Saving Money on Transport
- Choosing Accommodation
- Sightseeing and Activities
- Packing Tips
- Travel Food
- Road Trip Tips
- International Travel Tips
- Making Memories
Fulltime Field Trip
Regina is a full-time global explorer
Involve the kids. That’s my number one tip for choosing your family vacation destination. I want our kids to be excited about going somewhere and experiencing new things. Some times you’re boxed into a season or budget; you can still involve the kids. Here are three ideas.
• Ask them “what type of shoes do you want to wear on vacation?” Flip flops, snow boots, athletic shoes, dress shoes, etc.
• Give them three destinations that fit your needs and let them vote.
• Choose your favorite two cities then ask the kids to help you make a list of things to do in those areas. Pick the location that ticks the most boxes for your family.
Keep it fun, anticipate how you would handle disappointment if it happens. By involving the kids, wherever you all decide to go, it becomes their vacation or holiday too. They aren’t just being dragged along on the family trip.
World for a Girl
Kirsty currently lives in Malaysia and has visited more than 25 countries with her young children. I absolutely love her unusual tip: Wine always helps!
How do we choose the perfect family holiday destination? Well, the process looks a little like this. First, we pick somewhere on our travel bucket list that seems suitable for the length of time/ season/ cost. We have a very long bucket list that covers most areas of the globe and grows by the year.
Next, we spend hours on Skyscanner.com and travel websites researching accommodation and flight options. For whatever reason, we usually decide that the first idea isn’t suitable. The flights are too expensive. There’s malaria present. The hotels look dreadful. And so on.
Eventually, we crack open a bottle of wine and type ‘Everywhere’ into the Skyscanner search bar and our dates. This amazingly useful Skyscanner function means that you can see all the flights leaving your chosen airport on the date you’re interested in.
We then filter the results by flight times and cost. And voila, we book a holiday. To a completely different place than the one that we had planned. I wish we had a more
Nikki is a UK Family Travel Blogger writing about days out and family-friendly holidays.
When we are deciding on a destination for our next trip, where we stay is very important to us, not just the location, but the hotel or resort too.
I look at what the rooms are like, whether the hotel has a child-friendly pool, kids club or possibly evening entertainment for the children. Does the hotel give off a relaxed family friendly vibe or do they just tolerate families?
Tips from a Typical Mom
Annette is a busy mother of 5 who shares her expertise here:
We have 5 kids and most of them are teenagers now, so that is a big determining factor on where we choose to vacation. Money is another thing we have to think carefully about when we are planning a family vacation.
There are a few things we take into consideration while planning a vacation:
1. Distance – Do we need to pay for airfare or can we drive?
2. Things to do – Are there enough places to see and things to do to keep our teenagers engaged?
3. Cost: Can we afford to get there, sleep there, eat there and pay for activities?
Most of the destinations we choose are places we can drive to so we don’t have to spend a fortune on airfare. I’d rather go someplace close and spend money on activities than spend a fortune on airfare. Since we do live in Utah there are a lot of cool places we can drive to.
One of our favorites
We know we can save a ton of money on hotels through wholesale sites like Jifutravel.com so we use that site to help us determine the hotel we stay in and the activities we do. It’s a membership site, but I have a few ‘Buddy Passes’ if anyone wants to try out the site. You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mommy and Me Travels
Tiffany has 2 young sons who love to go on ‘adventures’. She adds a trip to the local library as part of her decision making process. This is something we do regularly too!
It’s great to get the kids excited about your destination!
Do you love the idea of a vacation but always worry about planning one the whole family will love? Mommy And Me Travels has you covered. Here’s our top 3 tips for planning a fantastic family vacation.
First and foremost, get the kids involved! Vacations are more fun for all when everyone provides input. Have everyone think of their top 2 or 3 vacation wishes. Do you want to go to the beach or skiing, and so on?
Second, once your list of wishes are completed start thinking of locations that can accommodate your family wishes. Are you planning on flying, driving, or taking the train? This helps to narrow down which part of the world you will visit.
Third, here is where the real fun begins. Now that you have a list of activities and locations take the kids and head to your public library. This allows you and your kids to enjoy an afternoon together looking through books of everywhere around your desired locations and activities. Kids love being able to see, feel, and touch the pictures. This helps them start to get excited about learning and planning for upcoming adventures. Family vacations are about building family memories and this starts with the planning phase.
Shannan from Captivating Compass values learning on location and using the world as your textbook.
As homeschoolers and travelers, we love learning on location, but we don’t so much like taking a bunch of textbooks with us (unless they are digital) and we are planning on an extended slow travel itinerary with numerous day/weekend trips over several weeks.
Most of the time I build our itineraries around our curriculum. If we’re studying ancient history, the great philosophers or epic poems like The Iliad or The Aeneid, then this is the year to go to Italy and spend as long as possible exploring the countries that border the Mediterranean Sea. An itinerary packed with great places to learn about ancient Greek and Roman history, culture & lifestyle, would include, Rome and Athens, but don’t miss out on kid-friendly destinations such as Viterbo, Naples, Paestum,
With that type of school work, what kid wouldn’t want to grab their passport and go learn on location? So next time you plan a family travel adventure, don’t forget to consider how the destination can inspire a memorable learn on location experience.
Shannon brings practical tips, itineraries, travel budgeting hacks, and inspiration to everyday families like you while
When we plan our own family vacations at Grab My Passport HQ, pricing is typically our biggest determining factor when deciding on a destination. We do have a never-ending bucket list of places we’d love to visit, and activities we’d like to do one day, so anytime a sale or special promotion pops up that matches something on our list, we try to jump on it. We are subscribed to all the airlines’ email lists, and we follow a bunch of travel deal pages on Facebook so that we are alerted to all of the deals, promos, “error fares”, and discounts that are available as soon as they come out.
Most recently, we had a bit of time during my maternity leave to take a family vacation before returning back to work. We didn’t know where to go with a 2-month old, but I knew I wanted somewhere warm to escape the cold DC weather. We’ve really been wanting to go to Universal Orlando to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but since we both work full time, and we have to work around the school calendar, we’ve been hesitating for a few years.
Well, Universal announced a “Buy Two Days, Get Two Days Free” promo, so we checked the crowd calendars for the parks, researched flights on Google Flights and Skyscanner, and then booked our trip. Since it was off-season, rates for everything were a bit cheaper than normal. We used a combo of credit card points, airline miles, and money from our travel savings fund to pay for the trip.
Take advantage of email subscription lists. It’s one of the best ways to learn about discounted travel deals, which can really help you narrow down your destination choices. Also, try to travel to popular destinations in the off-season, if possible. You’ll end up saving a lot of money and avoid the big crowds.
Go Fam Go
Yamy has to consider everybody in the party when deciding on her fun family vacation destination…..
Are you traveling alone, as a couple, as a family with children, or as a group with your best friends?
As a multi-generation family who travels with seniors, we first bear in mind who is tagging along before we decide where to head next. Knowing each person’s interest or limitations is important in choosing the appropriate destination first hand. When you’re planning a family vacation, you must cater to the different strengths and interests of everyone. Evaluate the limitations of the party.
For instance, the grandparents on wheelchairs are coming as well, this might mean skipping the hike in sandy and hilly Indiana Dunes National Park and opting for a more accessible location like a museum.
World Wise Kid
Deborah inspires educational discussions around the globe with her blog World Wise Kid. She travels with 2 adventurous and multilingual children!
With so many places on our travel wish list, we focus on the educational value and age-appropriateness of our choices when deciding where to go next. Nature, books and language have had particular influence:
Nature – Diverse wildlife and dynamic landscapes have motivated journeys to Alaska, Utah, Florida, Costa Rica, Hawaii, Mexico, Iceland, New Zealand, and Australia. With kids under 10, our ideal travel activities included discovering wildlife, waterfalls, walking trails, and beaches.
Books – Now that the kids ages are in the double-digits, their favorite reads influence where we go. The book Tua and the Elephant by R.P. Harris catalyzed interest in traveling to Thailand. The Percy Jackson series will guide our spring travels to Greece and Italy. London means Harry Potter and The Thief Lord sparked excitement for Venice, Italy.
Language – As multilingual parents, exposing the kids to different languages is a key value. Spanish immersion influenced our travels to Mexico and Costa Rica. We regularly stay with family in Germany to secure the kids’ fluency. This spring as we travel Europe, we will delve into Latin and Greek word bases, comparing phrases in Italian, Spanish, French and Greek.
It is exciting to speculate on future destinations as the kids’ grow and their interests become more sophisticated. Bon voyage!
Melissa Temple is a disability travel blogger who just loves all things
Selecting a destination can be a very intimidating part of a family vacation. To help you narrow that down, what are your family goals for a vacation? Take Insta worthy photos, eat delicious food or try a new adventure? These are all things my family likes to take into account for our vacations.
We like to go to Disneyland because I have mobility problems and have to be in a wheelchair. One of our priorities is disability accessibility. Disney is great on accessibility and a Disney trip hits all these important buttons for my family.
When you have narrowed down your family goals look up your possible destinations on Facebook, Instagram
State by State
Sarah is a full-time RV traveling wife and mother of three that loves adventure and sharing off-the-beaten-path travel destinations.
With so many amazing places to discover in the world, how do we decide where to go next?
There are people that prefer to return to their favorite place or places over and over again. On the other hand, there are those that want to always experience something new. I am in the latter category and we rarely revisit a place twice.
So what things influence our decision when choosing a destination? For our
First, proximity, meaning how close is it to where we are, can we get there in just a few hours, is it close to the places we want to explore, these are the questions we concern ourselves with.
Second, what inexpensive,
Last, the weather, this is a tricky one because
Now…….where will we go next?
Sarah is a positive parenting educator, wellness advocate
I’m pretty practical when I choose a destination, so my advice centers around ‘must haves.’ They’re the filter through which I look at each possible place to visit.
With that in mind, I suggest deciding what your ‘must haves’ are. It’s amazing how easy it is to choose a location (or at least a top 10 to investigate further) once you clarify what you need, making sure to consider everyone who’s joining you.
For us, my two most important considerations are whether everyone will enjoy the ‘vibe’ of the
As a result, we choose vacation destinations that are near the activities we want to enjoy, but without making us feel like we’re sleeping in the middle of an amusement park.
Some destinations that worked well for us with ‘just enough’ activity were Playa del Carmen, Mexico; just outside Vancouver, B.C., Canada; and Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.
It’s worth the effort to figure out transportation if it lets us find quiet time along with
So, Where To???
My Gadsventure family and I head to Bali in 9 more days on the start of our worldwide gap year with kids. South East Asia will cater to our need for cheap longterm travel with plenty of beach and downtime, as well as educational, cultural and historical perspectives. And Bali is nice and close to Australia, with cheap flights!
That is why we chose it as our next destination.
There are so many amazing tips here! I’m so pleased to be part of this amazing team of writers that are bringing together these wonderful tips.
Thanks Tiffany! It really is wonderful being a part of an awesome group of writers who all share the same passion for travel with a family! Great to be able to share our experiences, and I’m really learning some great hacks as we go along too!
That is awesome you guys are headed to Bali! We really want to take our kids to South East Asia, but it is still a few years off before we can manage that.
Miss almost 2 has been the hardest, but the other 3 have been amazing so far!
Bali is a great place to start to ease into South East Asia! Are you following our facebook? https://facebook.com/gadsventure You will hopefully be inspired!
Such a great post filled with such great advice! So proud to be part of this collaboration!
Thank you Shannon,
Love your contribution too!