1) Deciding where to go

We have that dream vacation that we always wanted to go. It’s one thing to plan that vacation for ourselves, but it’s a completely different story when we plan for a family vacation, let alone with kids in tow! There are so many things to take into account, your needs, as well as your spouse’s and kids’; but the key is to always PLAN, PLAN and PLAN!

Planning will make it less taxing and we can actually enjoy the vacation! Start off on planning and deciding on where to go. Do your research with an open heart, and it doesn’t matter whether we will be travelling domestically, or abroad. What I usually do when planning a trip is to decide whether we will be travelling independently or via package tours. Personally, I would prefer travelling independently, and at times will take on smaller package tours around the destination we are going. It gives us a sense of independence and freedom to explore the area at our own pace rather than being tied down to a tight schedule.

Next, is to explore the popular and not-so-popular areas you want to visit, as an individual and as a family. Write down all the options you have- on the modes of transportation, the ticketing, surrounding areas, cafes or restaurants nearby in case you all need to wind down a little bit after a long day, whether the attraction allows kids to go in, safety measures etc. The rule of thumb is to include everyone in your travel plan, making sure there are something for everybody so all of us can enjoy the trip!

Do remember to always discuss your research with your spouse and kids, share with them your dream vacation, what you find on google or social media, and watch with them all the related Youtube videos available on the area so they can understand why you choose a particular destination. Then only you can start researching and book for that flight tickets and hotel rooms!

2) Travel essentials checklist

Check the passports, always. Most countries take 6 months validity period to allow entry. Please check all expiry dates before you actually book that flight tickets. This also applies if you are travelling to a country where you need a visa, as your child will need one too. It can be a complicated affair, if not done early so please give yourself ample time to sort out that part.

Travel insurance is IMPORTANT. I can’t stress this enough. I don’t think it is necessary to have travel insurance if you are travelling domestically, especially if everyone in the family has medical insurance coverage, but it is of utmost importance when you are travelling abroad. It may seem like you don’t necessarily need it now, but accidents do happen and you definitely want to be prepared because as a traveller in a foreign land, the medical cost can go through the roof!

Lastly, everyone’s health is important. So, make sure everyone gets that vaccination shot (if needed or required) before travelling, with plenty of time to spare, of course!

3) Family finances

We all have to agree that it costs way more travelling as a family than travelling solo or with friends. It does not only come down to accommodation and transportation decisions, but also the cost of activities, meals and shopping as well! Pre-trip research is key to make sure you know what your big costs and your daily costs will be.

Decide whether it works better for you to stay in a rental apartment rather than hotel rooms, taking that domestic flight is more worthwhile than travelling via train, you plan to eat out every meal or you may consider to prepare simple meals yourselves while on vacation AND whether to buy tickets for that popular amusement park A or whether everyone can have an equally fantastic time with amusement park B?

Timing also is of course crucial. It is understandably more expensive if you are travelling during the school holidays, so book months ahead in advance, that may help to reduce down the overall cost.

It is totally up to you and your family whether you would prefer taking shorter trips every school holidays, or to take a 2 weeks vacation once a year. It is always possible with careful planning and thorough research.

“When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.”
– Susan Heller Anderson

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