Traveling with the whole family is as daunting as it is exciting. We all look forward to summer vacations, but things get a little bit more complicated if the kids are in tow. To start off, a family vacation could be a logistical nightmare if you’re not prepared. And instead of fun under the sun, it becomes trouble in paradise.
If you are traveling to busy summer destinations such as Boracay, you better map out a plan. Hassle-free travel with the family happens only when you have prepared enough for anything that may happen along the way. But these worries shouldn’t stop you from pulling an epic getaway with the people you love most.
Follow this family vacation guide for a hassle- and tension-free summer getaway.
Budget and book
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The planning usually starts with “how much do we have” and “where do we go.” Set a budget and stick to it. Pay everything in cash if you can.
After you have agreed on a summer destination, book the flight and hotel accommodation as soon as you can. Remember that summer is the time when rates skyrocket, so don’t wait at the last minute to book your flights and hotels.
In booking flights, the lowest rate is not necessarily the “cheapest.” If it is too early, consider the expenses while waiting to be checked in, not to mention tired kids who are getting more impatient by the minute.
The hotel must also fit your specifications. Boracay backpackers, for example, can perfectly settle in a fan room with bunk beds and shared bathroom. But if you have kids, you might consider getting a more comfortable one. Identify what everyone needs such as air conditioning, kiddie pool, indoor playground, etc.
Draft an itinerary (but leave room for random fun)
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In order to maximize the holidays, you might consider making a family vacation itinerary. This is to ensure that you'll get everything covered.
If you are going to Boracay, research about the many activities you can try and Boracay tourist spots you may want to visit. In doing so, always have safety in mind. Allot a portion of your trip doing these activities and trying something with the family for the first time.
But remember to leave some room for random fun and enjoyment. Make your Boracay itinerary flexible.
Involve the kids in planning
In planning your summer trip, make sure to involve the kids. Show them the places and activities and let them choose which ones they want to try. This pumps up the excitement and makes kids feel that they are part of the process.
Don’t schedule too many activities in one day
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In wanting to keep everyone occupied, parents make the mistake of planning and scheduling too many activities in one day. Give yourself and your family time to breathe. Don’t spread yourselves too thin by trying to cover all tourist destinations and all activities in one or two days. It is best to choose and prioritize, and give ample time to just relax and slow down. You won’t be able to enjoy the vacation if you’re too tired.
Off the unbeaten path
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You planned this summer family vacation for the purpose of bonding and reconnecting with your loved ones. So do just that. Go for a hotel away from the crowd and noise, where you can all talk and catch up.Alta Vista de Boracay is nestled atop Boracay’s highest peaks, giving you the privacy you need. There is nothing like watching the sunset with your family in your own veranda or viewing over the whole island from a private view deck. This is what epic getaways are made of: deeply personal and peaceful.
Coach kids about social behavior
As much as you want your children to enjoy, you don’t want them to ruin someone’s holiday, right? Coach them about social behavior. Role-play or make a game out of it if possible.
When you reach the hotel, remind them to not run and shout in the hallways. What if they don’t like the food? Teach them to be polite. No arguing in the plane, no diving in the pool, no bumping into people relaxing or taking pictures by the beach. Avoid tension by showing your children the proper etiquette when on vacation.
Keep them occupied
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A tried and tested guide to traveling with the family is to keep children occupied. Whether it is a road trip or a plane ride, make sure they have something to do. That is if you don't want to deal with their tantrums during the entire trip. Pack a few of their favorite toys, books, and gadgets.
In the beach, supply them with things to do if they get tired of swimming or running around. But since you don't want to be packing a whole lot of kiddie stuff, be creative and resourceful. Think of fun, kid-friendly games and activities you can do. You may also want to book a hotel with indoor playground facilities.
Get excited every day
When you wake up, snuggle with the kids and tell them about the day’s activities. Are you going on a banana boat ride or try island hopping? Getting everyone excited is a way of conditioning everyone to be in the mood and for kids to not throw early-morning tantrums.
Pack only what you need
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Sure, parents will say having a toddler or a pre-teen means it is impossible to pack light. We're not talking one backpack for a whole trip, but packing only what you really need. Make a checklist and stick with essentials. Do not pack seven pairs of clothing for a 3-day trip and tell yourself that you'll just choose an outfit when you get to your destination. Make up your mind before you pack your bags.
Watch what they eat
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Fresh oysters for kids? Maybe not. No matter how adventurous you are when it comes to food, you have to remember that you have the whole family to consider. If food tripping is part of your Boracay itinerary, for example, survey the menu and offerings of restaurants first. Make sure your child doesn’t eat anything he is allergic to or something so exotic that may upset his tummy.
Pack first-aid kits
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A child with an upset stomach, another with a cut or scratch, mom with migraine, and dad with flu means vacation ruined. Do not be held hostage by these circumstances. Pack a first-aid kit every time you go on vacation with your family. After all, it won’t take a lot of space, so always be ready.
Are you co-sleeping with kids?
If you have school kids or pre-teen children, rethink your decision of co-sleeping. When on vacation, you want everyone to be able to rest and recharge—even your kids. Discuss with the rest of the family if you want to share beds or book suites with adjacent rooms to give everyone a more restful vacation.
Have a digital detox
Sometimes, tensions happen when we see work matters in our email inbox or when someone posts something disagreeable on social media. Don’t let the virtual world get the better of your vacation. Disconnect and have a digital detox for a few days with your family.
Time with you
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Never forget the reason why you went on a family vacation in the first place. Make time to really reconnect with your family and kids. Whether you are out there island hopping or rubbing sunblock on their skin, seize the moment and make the most out of it.
Enjoy yourself and stay calm
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Remember that the kids and perhaps the rest of the family depend on you. If you’re grumpy and cranky, everyone’s going to have a bad time. So, for a hassle-free travel with the family, begin with yourself. You’re never too old for a vacation and you deserve to enjoy it as much as everyone else. Calm down and everything will fall into place.
A family vacation is always a great idea. Never mind if the logistics are going to be more challenging. Plan your trip but remember that even schedules are made to be broken. When that happens, don’t sweat it. Enjoy even the misadventures.