A family that travels together, stays together! Travel offers an excellent opportunity for family bonding and relaxation. When you are traveling with family and that too with kids planning eases out a lot of unexpected issues that you may encounter on your trip.
For our family trips, we always plan in advance. Here are 5 essential tips to plan a perfect family holiday which will be unforgettable, something that one can cherish as a beautiful memory and make the whole journey smoother.
1. Advance Planning
Planning well in advance pays rich dividends. Plan family trips as much as 3 to 6 months in advance. This helps to get the best deals in booking flights and hotels.
2. Search Flights
We spend quite some time doing research on everything we would need, before finalizing on our options. To start with, we look out for the best rates for flights to and from our destinations on the net. We use Skyscanner a lot to check out not only the most economical flights, but also to check the cheapest month to plan our trip based on the airfares. As airfares form a major chunk of the budget, this helps us a lot.
3. Choose a Home away from Home
There is nothing like a bad hotel room to put you off on your holiday! After all the hectic activities/travels through the day, one yearns for a good night's sleep in a good, comfortable bed. While booking an accommodation, we look for best deals and also value for money. To this end, it is our experience that we cannot rely on only one search engine for getting what we want. We depend on a couple of search engines for our research before we zero in on our choice.
The ones we generally use are TripAdvisor, Expedia, Hotels.com and Booking.com.
We usually shortlist a couple of places from Expedia or any of the others mentioned above and check it out on TripAdvisor.
TripAdvisor helps us in choosing the best because:
• We can search for hotels here and it helps in checking the rates offered on different sites and it also helps us in booking through the one that has the best deal on.
• The traveler reviews it features helps us decide, though a word of caution here, one should not look at just a couple of reviews and decide, because most of the places will have both positive as well as negative reviews. The trick is to find the one that has more positive reviews!
4. Decide on what are must see places
Another very important aspect we focus on before embarking upon our trip is the attractions and activities we would want to include in our itinerary.
• We again do an online research here and short list the must see places and activities for each destination as per our interests, the time we have and of course our Budget. One thing to remember is it may not be possible to cover everything in a given destination, especially if you have a cramped itinerary or if some places may be tedious for few members of the family.
• We always include a Hop on Hop of Tour of our destination, as this provides us an orientation of the major attractions.
• Lastly, we again do a lot of research on the net, also it is prudent to book tickets in advance for attractions where you anticipate queues. For example, on our trip to Rome, we had booked skip the line tickets to the Vatican Museums which saved us a lot of time and thus saved us from standing in the queue for a long time! For planning and booking our activities we again use Expedia as well as Isango, and we have found them to be good and providing value for money.
5. Before your journey begins, have a Residence to Residence Itinerary ready
The devil lies in the details. So plan down to the smallest detail before locking your house and driving off to a holiday.
This is what we do. We have everything planned with costs when we start, right from how to reach the airport, how to reach our hotel in our destinations, in which restaurants we will eat, what attractions we will visit on which day, how do we commute and reach these places, etc., etc.
These above mentioned tips work for us and I am sure would for everyone. So the next time you plan your vacation with your family, just give a thought to these tips. Of course, there is fun in being spontaneous and going without an itinerary. But when it comes to family travel or traveling with kids, you do not want take a chance!
Tell us about your travels and what you feel about the above mentioned tips.
Originally published on Voyager travel blog site.