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How to Plan a Family Vacation

April 13 2018

For many, the very thought of family vacation planning is stressful. And there is a slew of very valid excuses in favour of actually not planning one. If this is true for you, some of the thoughts that have already crossed your mind are probably somewhere along the lines of; you have work obligations; it’s expensive; travelling with children is difficult! 

The reality, however, is that the positive aspects of travelling as a family far outweigh any negatives and everyone in your family is bound to benefit from a little vacation. What’s more, travelling with children is hugely important because it helps in their development, encourages adaptability and connectedness, offers ample learning experiences and better opens their minds to different people, languages, flavours and cultures. And as a family, it allows you to all take a necessary break away from mundane daily routines and allows you to relax and recharge together, allowing you to connect to each other in the best ways and create memories that will last a lifetime.

If you would like to plan an unforgettable vacation for your precious family, here is how you can go about it:

Step 1: Brainstorm

Family vacation brainstorming
Source: Google Images

While it might be fun to pull out a world globe with your kids, spin it and ask them to close their eyes and point at a destination, it may not be the most practical way to go about your family vacation planning. Naturally, you need to consider the most amazing possible destination for your whole family. One of the best ways to do this is to start by writing a list of the activities your family likes to do together. Perhaps it’s going to museums, going on hikes or heading to the beach—whatever these activities are, write them all down. Once you have a good idea of these activities, think about which of the following types of destinations would most resonate with your family:

  • The mountains: If your family loves hiking, skiing or making the most of the natural surrounds then heading to the mountains would be great.
  • Cities: city slicker families who love to indulge in local food scenes, go on shopping excursions or visit historic sites and museums would do well to head to a popular city destination.
  • Cruises: These are easy, (often) all-inclusive and seriously fun for the whole family (there are often kids clubs and special entertainment planned just for children which give parents some rare downtime).
  • Beaches: Choosing a beach destination for your family vacation is sure to win you some serious brownie points—it’s very difficult to go wrong with this destination choice. Kids can spend hours playing in the sand and water which may just give you a chance to soak up some sun with your favourite cocktail in hand.

Step 2: Decide on your budget

Once you have decided which type of holiday would be perfect for your family vacation, it’s time to figure out your budget so you can choose your perfect destination. Having a good idea of what budget you are working with helps you do decide whether you can afford to go abroad or if you will need to keep it local. Not sure where to start with your budget when family vacation planning? Here are a few guidelines:

  • Put aside some money for transport. This will include transport costs and tickets of any kind—for airlines and trains as well as petrol. You should also factor in any public transport (such as taxis and buses) you may want to take.
  • Work out what it would cost for accommodation. The great thing is these days there are many options that range from renting an apartment to booking family rooms at hotels.
  • Figure out how much food will cost. Self-catering accommodation or all-inclusive hotel packages may help you to save in this area.
  • What will you spend on entertainment? Are you planning on going to special sites, concerts, museums or shows? Figure out what this may cost for your whole family.  
Planning vector
Source: Google Images


Step 3: Plan your dates carefully

Whether you want to travel smart in order to avoid peak season (and the associated inflated travel prices) or the crowds, it’s important to plan your travel dates carefully. You want to ensure that you can travel during school holidays while getting the best prices and weather, but this may mean travelling to other parts of the world. Travelling during the summer holidays in the UK may mean heading to winter elsewhere. But in places like Mauritius, this is hardly a problem, with phenomenal year-round weather and it would mean travelling in their off-peak season, which in turn, means better prices for your family trip. Take a look at your family’s schedules and commitments and see what might be possible in terms of travel dates. 

Step 4: Buy your airline tickets (if applicable) 

Once you have your dates locked down it’s time to book your airline tickets if you are going abroad. Usually, you can get the best airfares when booking in advance so it’s good to get on this as soon as you can while family vacation planning. You can take a look at sites such as Skyscanner to find the best possible fares for your dates. Remember that airlines limit the number of bags you can take onboard, so ensure that your kids travel as light as possible (it’s also very difficult looking after your kids as well as all of the luggage, so make sure your whole family packs smart!).

Step 5: Book your accommodation

Once the dates and flight tickets are in the bag, it’s time to book your accommodation. Look at the different options and prices during the family vacation planning phase to make sure you are getting the best deal. Things to consider at this stage are: the location (is it conveniently close to the attractions you want to see as well as shops and restaurants?), what has been included in the price, what the overall visitor ratings are (including cleanliness and value-for-money ratings) and if there are all-inclusive options (which really might be the way to go for a stress-free family holiday). 

Step 6: Book your activities


Family going on a bike ride


If there are particular things that you know that you want to do (and you know are popular) it’s a good idea to book these ahead. Try not to overdo your family vacation planning by booking and planning every second of every day ahead of time. Rather book the absolute essentials and the activities you and your family just can’t miss out on (a special show or a dinner at a Michelin star restaurant for example) and let the rest unfold organically. 

Step 7: Check your travel documents

The last thing you want is to plan your entire family holiday only to find out that your passports are no longer valid. It can often take quite a bit of time to get new passports so make sure that you check your family’s travel documents early on and get the process going. Keep in mind that children need passports no matter how old they are when travelling internationally. 

If you are looking for the ultimate family destination with a little something for everyone, then you can’t go wrong with Mauritius. And what’s more, any one of our three child-friendly Sun Resorts hotels in Mauritius (which offer all-inclusive packages) is bound to be the perfect playground for your sublime family vacation in paradise. 

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