How to Make Your Next Family Trip Even Better

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by Peggy Hattendorf – Travel Editor


Whether your next trip occurs during the year-end holidays, next spring break, or summer of 2017, here are some sure ways to make that next family excursion the BEST one yet.

  • Involve family members in the planning process: Engage and get a “buy-in” from all the travelers. If the children are not familiar with the destination, ask them to do some research on the location and find out what “fun things” there are to do. Have each child create a personal list.
  • Set a budget before you go: Make sure costs are discussed and communicated to all family members. Children should have spending money to buy souvenirs and treats. Arrange specific tasks or chores that allow them to earn money prior to the trip.
  • Ask the kids to lay out clothes, electronic equipment and other belongings several days before the trip: Have an adult look over everything and help each child decide which items to pack for the trip.
  • Try to pack everything in carry-on bags and luggage: Each passenger can board the plane with one carry-on bag in addition to a purse or similar personal bag. To save time upon arrival, try to pack all your items in your carry-on bag. Be in compliance with TSA, pack only travel-size (quart-sized) items toiletries. Find out what you can pack in your carry-on before arriving at the airport by reviewing the TSA lists: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items
  • Put important documents and devices where they are easily accessible: You shouldn’t have to search or look for important items for yourself and children. This includes electrical chargers, snacks, diapers, medications, and passports. For instance, make sure children have enough items to keep them busy and entertained at the airport, on the plane or train, in the car, and at the hotel.
  • Reserve the proper size car or vehicle: Check car sizes before making a reservation. A small car might be great for two people and less expensive but will not work when you add two additional occupants plus luggage. Extra space might mean less cranky passengers when driving a significant distance.



  • Break up long car trips: Plot out your route and stop at interesting points or locations along the way. Interact with the kids while traveling by playing games like Alphabet or the license plate games.
  • Book a timeshare, condo, villa or private home instead of a hotel room: Look for comfortable and affordable options when traveling with a group. Separate living, dining, kitchen and bedroom areas provide better functionality for a group of people.
  • Arrange for some alone and down time: Change up the pace. Don’t make everyday jammed packed and “rush rush.” Allow time to decompress – read a book poolside – enjoy an afternoon nap – involve kids in supervised resort activities.
  • Save money by going out for lunches instead of dinners: Enjoy quality family time over lunches which are less expensive and shorter in duration. Late dinners are hard on children’s sleep schedules and normal routines. Accommodations with kitchen facilities make life much simpler when traveling with kids.
  • Remember you are on vacation: Try to say “yes” more often than “no” if the request is reasonable.
  • Know the location of the nearest hospital or urgent care facility: Care should be taken when traveling with kids and grandparents. Young children are prone to falls, bumps, cuts, tummy aches, and older family members may have a myriad of medical conditions that might present problems while traveling. Bring insurance cards, lists of all current medications, prescription and over-the-counter, as well as all allergies for each traveler.
  • Have an adult’s only night: Arrange for child care at the resort or property.

Remember this is a trip for everyone. Use these suggestions to enhance this family time and make that next trip a most enjoyable and memorable event.

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