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8 Tips for Planning Your Next Family Vacation

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With summer winding down and the cooler months on the horizon, many families are considering getting a fun vacation on the calendar. However, planning a family vacation is never easy and half the time the planning is actually the most difficult part of the trip. The Covid pandemic severely impacted the tourism market and, even years after its end, the effects are still prominent. 

More and more people are getting back on the road and in planes to see different parts of the world, which means taking extra time to plan a trip is an absolute must. Learn everything you need to know about planning your next family vacation. 

How many people will travel this year? 

To put into perspective why planning out your travel well in advance of the trip is so important requires looking at just how many more people are traveling this year compared to years past. International tourism rose consecutively from 1950 to 2018 before plummeting drastically during the Covid pandemic to levels not seen since the early 1990s. However, in just a single year the number of tourists doubled by the end of 2022. It’s been estimated that in 2023, despite being halfway over already, the number of international tourists will reach, if not exceed, the pre-pandemic levels.

This means that crowded airports, higher prices, harder-to-get accommodations, and more are all on the horizon when planning a vacation. To that end, it’s best to look at some of the most popular travel destinations to consider which can help you save money. 

Common popular travel destinations in 2023

Traveling doesn’t need to be stressful so long as a person understands what they are getting themselves into. After all, a person traveling to Disneyland shouldn’t expect cheap food and hotel along with no tourists at all. To that end, below are some of the best destinations to consider in 2023 which shouldn’t be packed with tourists or unreasonably high prices:

  • Napa Valley, California
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
  • Orlando, Florida
  • San Francisco, California
  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • New Orleans, Louisiana

8 Tips for planning a fun and exciting vacation

Planning a vacation doesn’t need to be a stressful experience, but too many people find themselves ripping out their hair due to frustration. To avoid this, make use of the following eight beneficial travel planning tips for the whole family that anyone can use: 

  1. Don’t neglect to create a budget. First and foremost, no family should ever depart for vacation without having an effective budget built and ready to be followed. This budget should include a maximum spend amount that is calculated based on your current income and what you can reasonably afford for the vacation. This max spend amount should then be broken down into a number of sub-categories based on food, transportation, activities, and general spend. By managing the money portion of your trip, you will take a big portion of your stress away.
  2. Think outside the box for activities. Rather than doing what everyone else does on vacation, take the time to think outside the box for cheaper activities. For example, experience the thrill of Pigeon Forge’s live shows at a cheap cost compared to a more extreme activity such as bungee jumping, which comes at a higher price.
  3. Use credit card reward points when possible. One way to guide the planning of your vacation is to see where your credit card awards allow you to go. For those who have travel credit cards, you will also have a travel credit card portal that shows you how you can redeem the points you have earned off ordinary purchases. These points can often be redeemed at certain hotels and airlines, making the booking of these far cheaper than with your own money. However, by seeing where your points allow you to go you can narrow down the list of places you are traveling to.
  4. Consider alternative forms of accommodation. Far too often people believe that a hotel is the only place they can stay at when they go on vacation. However, people tend to fail to consider short term rental locations. These types of accommodations are essentially Airbnb style residencies where the owner rents them out for short vacations to travelers. They are often cheaper than hotels and come with more perks.
  5. Travel to lesser known areas to save money. Rather than traveling to Disneyland or a national park for your vacation, consider going somewhere less known such as Tennessee. By making this small choice, you can save potentially thousands of dollars due to the lack of demand in those areas.
  6. Travel during the tourist off-season. Building off of the above point, a person can also consider simply traveling during the tourist off-season to save some money for their travels. This just refers to going to a destination during the time of year when fewest people are there. This will have a similar effect to the above point by reducing the cost of the trip due to less demand.
  7. Consider going tech-free for your trip. When planning your trip, consider leaving all of your devices behind so that you can truly experience the place you are visiting. Go somewhere without cell reception, such as out in nature, to have a vacation like no other. Narrow down your plans to a specific destination

Finally, use all of the above tips to narrow down your potential vacation options to a couple of destinations, then decide based on your budget whether a single destination is better. 

The bottom line

While no two families will have the same idea for a perfect vacation, the above tips can immensely help in terms of planning. Take the time to actually sit down with your family members to discuss who wants to do what on vacation so that you can ensure everyone enjoys the trip. Above all, don’t underestimate what the cost of travel could be, as the last thing any family needs is to discover they have fallen into debt as a result of their vacation.

Adam Mulligan, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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