Tips for Planning a Family Summer Vacation

Filed under: Places To Go, Activities: Babies, Activities: Family Time, Activities: Teens, Activities: Tweens, Activities: Big Kids, Activities: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Birthdays, Holidays, Family Time

Family Summer Vacation Disneyworld

Oh, Mickey, you're so fine! Credit: Raymond Brown, Flickr


You've kept the kids' summer schedule busy with trips to the pool, the movie theater and play dates all over town. But if you're ready to get out of town for a bit, it's not too late to plan a family vacation.

Here are some ParentDish tips for planning a family vacation that will be fun and maybe even a little bit relaxing.

Where to Go?

  • In case you hadn't heard, kids love this place in Orlando, Fla., called Disney World. It's referred to as the happiest place on Earth, and there's a reason for that. There's so much to do, you won't be able to get to all of it in one trip. But, as great as Disney World is, sometimes you want to do something else. For nine other ideas, check out AOL's list of the Top 10 U.S. Family Vacation Destinations.
  • If everyone has their passports in order and you're willing to venture to a country where, to paraphrase Steve Martin, they have a different word for everything, you could try Paris. You'll find the Eiffel Tower, great food and more museums than you ever knew existed. Or, you could do as the Jolie-Pitts do, and go somewhere really exotic, such as Cambodia.
  • If you want to stay stateside, and maybe save a few bucks, go the road-trip route. Here are some tips to stay sane while your entire brood is in the car with you.
  • If you think you can stand being trapped at sea with your children without throwing them or yourself overboard, consider a cruise. Make sure to factor in such things as what activities they have for kids the same age as yours, and whether they offer child care for when you want to hit the midnight buffet.

Get Ready, People


Once you pick a destination, it's time to get ready to go. That means (gasp!) packing. Whether you're taking a plane, train or automobile, get a small backpack for each of your children and let them pack a few fun things for themselves. Make sure to check their bags before you leave to make sure they actually packed enough stuff to keep them occupied on the trip and they didn't pack something they shouldn't have, such as the cat.

Speaking of cats, if you have any beloved family pets, you need to decide if they are coming with you or staying home. If it's the latter, you'll need to make arrangements for them to be fed and cared for. Check out PawNation for tips on traveling with pets.

Remember to Have Fun

Don't forget that once you arrive, you're on vacation, too. The first priority might be the children, especially if they're still on the young side. But that doesn't mean you aren't entitled to a little down time, as well.

See if your vacation destination offers child care (Disney Cruises usually offer child care, but check before you book if this is important to you). If not, see if you can get a hotel setup that has more than one room. Let the kids sleep in one area, and you and your spouse can open a bottle of wine and watch a DVD in the other.

Hey, if that doesn't sound like a vacation, you haven't been a parent for very long.

Related: Taking A Family Adventure Vacation

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.