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How to Plan a Totally Relaxing Family Vacation

Even though family vacations are supposed to be about fostering togetherness & having fun, these trips can spiral into a hectic time if not planned properly. In fact, 56 percent of Americans surveyed in a recent study by HomeAway admitted that aspects of these vacations induce stress, which another 46 percent claimed can prevent them from enjoying their stay. Still, it's possible to overcome these factors with the right preparation, budgeting & other considerations. By following these tips, you're on your way to a smoother travel experience from start to finish.

Accommodations In HomeAway's survey, the majority of people revealed that the main reason for their frustration was that there simply wasn't enough privacy, either among family members or other travelers. There's nothing worse than feeling over-crowded – so bigger families in particular should opt for a resort that offers ample space both in the rooms & on the grounds. When fees pile up, there's less money to spend on the more fun aspects of the trip, such as dining out, tours & other activities. Travelers in the HomeAway study also complained that paying for amenities such as WiFi access, parking or other hidden resort fees is burdensome. It's crucial to pick the right place where your family will have plenty of room, but also won't be hit with a bevy of hidden charges. For these reasons, all inclusive resorts can be an ideal option for families because there aren't any sudden surprises in terms of costs.

Detailed Itinerary The more thoroughly you outline each day of the trip, the less likely things will fall apart. It's important to take every member's desires into account to ensure it's an enjoyable trip for all. Some kids might want to visit a water park, while others may be more interested in scuba diving. Meanwhile, sightseeing may be the top priority for parents. Try to be fair in incorporating a variety of activities throughout the stay & don't forget to factor in some downtime to re-fuel. Additionally, make sure to buy tickets for performances & other events in advance whenever possible, as nothing's more of a bummer than when these shows sell out.

Smart Packing Not only is it an annoying inconvenience to be without essential items on your trip, but it can also force you to spend more money. Make sure to do some research ahead of time on the destination's climate & the typical dress code. Also, take into account any activities you planned in the previous step. If you're going hiking through the Costa Rican mountains, for example, everyone in the family will need an appropriate pair of shoes. If beach basking is the main goal of your luxury vacation, be sure to bring sunblock, swimsuits, shades & any other accessories you might need, such as hats. Even if these items are easy to find at your final destination, the prices might be far higher than at home. Verify that your resort offers toiletries, as that's one less thing you'll need to bring.

Sensible Budgeting Without a pre-planned budget, spending can get out of control, leading to a lot of unnecessary worries. However, allocating a certain amount of money to food, activities, transportation & souvenirs can help you to stay on track throughout your stay. While you want to check out some of the best restaurants on your trip, dining out can add up. The Huffington Post pointed out that it's helpful to decide in advance which luxuries are worth the splurge, & recommended keeping an eye on your spending with a tracking app or tool.

Follow these steps & your next family vacation is bound to be a breeze.

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