When planning a family vacation, it’s essential to consider the needs and preferences of all family members to have a harmonious and enjoyable trip. Global travel advisor Gennady Podolsky provides five critical tips for reducing stress and friction when traveling with children.
- Collaboratively Plan the Vacation Details
Podolsky advises holding an inclusive vacation planning session where every family member, including the children, has input on destinations, activities, schedules, and objectives. This makes them invest in the trip and avoids leaving them out of critical decisions. Schedule this planning session to engage the kids with snacks and drinks to keep them participating.
- Align on a Unifying Theme
Once the destination is chosen, Podolsky recommends picking an overarching theme or objective for the vacation that appeals to all ages, whether beach time, outdoor adventures, or exploring a new culture. This focuses on choosing activities and experiences that meet the shared objective.
- Book Early for Best Availability and Prices
Podolsky explains that the earlier you book flights, hotels, rental cars, and activity reservations, the better selection, adjacent seats, upgraded rooms, discounts, and availability you’ll get. This prevents disappointment later and allows you to take advantage of early booking promotions. Also, consider visiting destinations during their off-seasons for smaller crowds and lower costs.
- Prepare Kids for What to Expect
Unfamiliar travel situations can make kids anxious, notes Podolsky. He advises briefing children on what to expect at the airport, on the plane, at the hotel, and for scheduled activities. Set behavioral expectations for each child as well. Foreknowledge reduces anxiety.
- Factor In Downtime and Rest
Podolsky recommends pacing scheduled activities to allow for periodic snacks, naps, and recharging to avoid overstimulation and burnout. Book your top priority activities first, then add extras if time and budget allow towards the end. Mix in affordable options like picnics, beachcombing, and cooking classes.
Bonus Tip: Pack Medications and Safety Info
Remember to pack familiar over-the-counter medications and regular prescriptions, Podolsky reminds. Also, prepare local language info for hotels and law enforcement if anyone gets separated from the group.
Parents can reduce friction, stress, and disputes by remembering Gennady Podolsky’s tips when planning family vacations. Following this quality-of-life travel advice paves the way for harmonious, enjoyable trip memories for all.