Now that 2016 has come to an end, it’s time to start looking to 2017 and start laying out travel plans for the year ahead. As a family that often travels, I get asked all the time about how we make it work, and so I figured I would lay out how we set our travel resolutions for the year in hopes you can use them for your family travel resolutions this year!
Tips & Tricks
- Layout Vacation Days, School Breaks, and Prior Commitments– First things first. You must understand your calendar. How many vacation days do you have from work? When are the kids on breaks? Do you have major commitments (weddings, anniversary parties, family birthdays, conferences, recitals, etc.) already planned for next year? Once you have all those dates understood and accounted for, then it’s time to start planning.
- What’s your budget?– I know, I know. This is a big bummer to think about, but it is super important. Do you have a travel savings fund? If you don’t, now is a perfect time to set one up. Designate a certain amount of each paycheck to set aside. Even if it’s a few dollars a month, budget is the only way to understand where you are when you start planning, and where you need to be. One of the biggest things to remember is that all travel can be done on a tight budget. It’s just a matter of getting creative and setting real expectations.
- Start making a list or three– We started many years ago making huge long list of all the places we want to go. Everything from weekend trips to the local mountains, to three week treks around South East Asia. It is so much fun to let your imagination run wild. Nothing is off limits and it is great to see what places are interesting to your family. Once you have that list, we break them down into categories or smaller lists
- Length of trip– Short Trips (3 days or less), Medium Trips (a week or less), or Long Trips (more than a week long).
- Who’s Going? –Is the destination something for just Mom and Dad? Kids? Extended family and groups? It’s good when planning to know if you will need to coordinate with other people or if you are going to need 4 plane tickets rather than two.
- Rank and Rate Each Trip– If you are anything like me, I want to go everywhere. Each year it’s good to rank trips by how badly you want to go there or if it can wait. If you feel like you have got to see Old Faithful this year or you are going to burst, then that should be at the top of your list. These are all unique to you and your family, and can change from year to year, so it’s good to go through and re-rank each year.
- Research– The more you know about a destination the better. If you’re going to drive, how long does it take to get there? What time of year is the best weather wise? What kind of lodging do they offer? What activities are there? All these things give you a better understanding when making your travel plans.
- Plan it– It seems kind of silly, but travel won’t happen unless you plan it. No matter how big your travel plans, do it. Plan your weekend to the mountains. Plan a week long road trip to the lake this summer. Plan that family trip to Costa Rica. Do it!