Family trips have always played an important role in family relationships. You either come back from a family trip with stronger bonds with your loved ones or a feeling of wanting to go on another vacation – just to get a break from family.
Whatever the outcome is, planning a family trip is never easy. However, with some planning and patience, it can be incredibly rewarding.
But before we move ahead, let’s address the elephant in the room - COVID-19.
Family trips post COVID-19
Family travel during the Covid-19 pandemic can seem daunting, but with a bit of preparation it can be a great way to get some quality time with your loved ones.
In fact, this is probably the time when a family trip can help the most.
Here are a few tips to help make your family trip go smoothly in today’s world.
Research your destination
Make sure you read up everything about your destination. Pre-departure requirements, any special passes required, red-listed countries (you can’t have a stopover or a via flight through these places), mask mandates, vaccine requirement (and formats they accept) and so on.
Not being allowed in a country for a document you missed is probably the worst kind of start to a family trip.
Don’t forget to check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for any advisories or health alerts related to your destination.
Medically fit or not
First, make sure everyone is up-to-date on their vaccinations, especially if you are traveling overseas.
Check with your doctor if everyone in your family is fit to travel. Openly discuss the risks and precautions required with your doctor.
You need to pack some extra things
Pack plenty of hand sanitizer and wipes, and be sure to keep your hands clean as much as possible. It’s also a good idea to bring along some disinfectant spray or wipes to clean surfaces like tables and door handles. Most airlines won’t allow you to take disinfectant spray with you. Make sure you check with your airlines about that.
I would also recommend packing a thermometer (preferably an infrared one) and an oximeter. These things can go out-of-stock anytime.
Have fun but without taking unnecessary risks
Don’t get carried away by statements like – No one wears masks here, etc. There might be herd immunity in certain parts of the world, and you might still be at risk. Better to err on the side of caution.
Be ready to change your plans at the drop of a hat.
Be prepared for the worst. Any country or city can go into a lockdown anytime. Flights might get cancelled. Hotel might get sealed. Or there could be a new wave and the destination might not be safe anymore.
That’s why it’s important to have refundable bookings. I would not recommend booking any accommodation that you can’t refund. In fact, I would avoid prepaid hotel reservations altogether.
It might not be that easy with airlines, but book the best flexible rate you can afford. Maybe try booking on miles.
If you are prepared, it’s not that difficult to travel during Covid-19 You can still have a good time, create new bonds with your family, or come back not wanting to see their faces anymore. It’s all the same.
Why family travel is essential?
Remember how most of our childhood memories with family involve traveling. Same goes for your children.
Family travel provides an opportunity for parents and children to spend time together and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Traveling as a family allows parents to model the importance of exploring new places and cultures, while also providing a chance for children to learn about their heritage.
Families who travel together are also more likely to have stronger relationships, since they are spending time together in a new and fun environment.
It also helps that no one can storm out and spend the night at a friend’s place.
Tips for a perfect family trip.
There is no such thing as a perfect family, perfect trip or a perfect family trip. But there can some great family trips if you plan it well. Here are some simple tips to make your family trips better.
Discuss, discuss and discuss.
Before you make your first booking, make sure everyone is on board with the destination, spots to see, place to stay etc. Even kids have strong perspectives. And so do your parents. And both are equally stubborn. But you already know that, right?
You don’t want to end up being a concierge service on the trip.
Find a balance between cost and tasks you will have to do on the trip. A family trip doesn’t mean the trip is for your family and not you.
It is so common to get carried away with optimizing your trip that you end up just managing the trip.
Calling for cabs, negotiating with cabbies, looking for restaurants, searching for coupons, etc. See whatever you can book in advance. Stays with breakfast included, pre-booked airport pickups, travel sim cards etc. can help save a lot of time.
Some of these recommended travel apps can help smoothen the trip a bit as well.
You don’t have to go on TV, but you need to create that budget document now.
It’s possible to have a great vacation without breaking the bank. You just have to be smart about where you spend your money. That also means budgeting your trip well.
You would rather not spoil your trip worrying about the credit card bills that might reach home before you do.
Here are some tips for staying within your budget while on vacation.
Be realistic about what you can afford. Don’t overspend on airfare or hotels just because they seem like a good deal. Rather look for a good location, safety, and hygiene.
There are several budget friendly international hotel chains that can save you a lot of money.
Don’t forget to check the latest hotel promotions before booking your stay.
Try to cook. If you are staying at an apartment or have a kitchenette in your room, try to cook at least one meal at home. It’s fun to buy groceries from local stores and cook together.
Use public transportation instead of renting a car. This can save you a lot of money, is more environment-friendly, and it’s also a great way to see the local area and understand local culture. Of course, if you have young kids or elderly people in your group, this might become an issue.
Skip the touristy restaurants and attractions and find cheaper alternatives instead. There are plenty of great places to explore that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. Most touristy places are overpriced and subpar quality anyway. Of course, there are exceptions.
Don’t buy souvenirs. I, personally, find them of no use a week after the travel. If you really want a souvenir, purchase a postcard or something similar instead. You’ll save lots of money, and carry less weight around.
Use coupons and discounts wherever possible. This can save you a lot of money.
Be selective about what you include in your trip. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. This goes for souvenirs as well as activities. There’s no need to go skydiving if all you really want is some sun and sand!
Don’t try to do too many things. In a family trip, it’s important to have some chill time together. Booking too many activities or having a long list of places to see just sucks the fun out of a vacation.
You just end up getting tired, skip a few activities, and do a few halfheartedly. Waste of money, waste of energy, and waste of time.
Plan to spend the majority of your time together. This is a great opportunity to spend quality family time together, and not get caught up in the hustle and bustle of traveling.
Start by creating a budget and mapping out what you want to see and do. This will help you focus on the areas of the country or world that are most important to you.
Be sure to factor in any special family attractions or activities that you may want to participate in while on your trip.
Activities are important.
You don’t have to overdo them, but activities are essential to a family trip. Think about your family’s interests and passions. What do you all love to do together? Whether it’s visiting theme parks, going fishing, or exploring new cities, try to plan your trip around things that interest you all.
Consider your location. If you’re looking for a beach vacation, find a town with plenty of nearby activities like kayaking or paddleboarding. If you’re planning a mountain getaway, make sure there are plenty of hiking trails and outdoor activities available.
Mix things up. One day, go sightseeing and visit a new museum or park. Another day, plan a game of football with the kids. Or take your family to an amusement park for the day.
Book early! If you are planning a trip during peak season, like the summer months, get tickets as soon as possible.
Get there early. The earlier you get there, the better! It’s relaxing to be early and have a few minutes to look around before you start the activity.
Packing for a family trip is an art.
You have to bring clothes for all of the weather conditions that you may encounter. Excess clothes can be stored in the hotel’s closet or at your destination.
But you also have to pack light so that you can move quickly and smoothly through airports, restaurants, and other tourist attractions.
If you are not sure what to bring, consult a packing list. Here are some tips for packing for your vacation:
- Make a list of the items you need to pack. This will help you to stay organized and make sure that you do not forget anything.
- Pack light – the less weight you have to carry, the easier it will be to travel. Try to pack only the essentials.
- Choose comfortable clothing and shoes that will be easy to wear while traveling.
- Pack essential toiletries and medications in your carry-on bag in case your luggage is lost or delayed.
- If you are going on a beach vacation, pack swimwear, sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, and sandals.
- Pack a flashlight, a first-aid kit, insect repellent, and a water bottle.
- Pack some snacks or drinks for the plane ride.
- Pack games and puzzles for your children to play during the long flight or at bedtime.
If you can, carry a water bottle for each family member.
Packaged drinking water in plastic bottles is a massive burden on the environment and the local waste management organizations. A reusable water bottle that you can carry around all day can help reduce the carbon footprint of your travel.
Keeping your family safe on your trip
When planning a family vacation, safety should be one of your top priorities. You want to make sure that you and your loved ones are safe while on your trip. There are a few things you can do to help keep your family safe while traveling.
One thing you should definitely do is research your destination. Make sure you know the area well and are aware of any potential dangers. If you are visiting a foreign country, be sure to learn about the local customs and laws.
Make sure each family member is aware of the local emergency numbers and remember the hotel name and address (at least the street).
You should also pack appropriately for your trip. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent, and dress appropriately for the weather. It is also important to have a first-aid kit packed in case of emergencies.
Another important thing to remember is to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. Be aware of who is around you and what they are doing.
Read local news every day. Avoid traveling to areas with political unrest, protests, clashes etc. Nowadays, situations tend to get escalated in no time.
Support Local businesses when you travel
When traveling, it’s important to think about the impacts your choices have on the local community. By supporting local businesses, you can help keep money in the community and create jobs. You can also get a sense of what life is like in the area.
Local businesses often have a special connection to the community and can offer unique experiences. They may also be more likely to use local ingredients in their dishes or to hire local staff. When you visit a place, take some time to explore the small businesses and support them whenever you can.