The Planning: How are we gonna do this?
Updated: Jan 22
How do you begin the planning process? Family travel is a lot to organize, and I am here to make this easier and affordable for you! The biggest difference for children from lower socioeconomic families and higher socioeconomic families boils down to one thing: NOT money - Experience. Enjoy them while you can, they grow fast. If you have 18 summers with your children, let's make the most of them! Affordably of course.
#1 Pick a Destination
This can be anything from the park up the street to a plane trip across the Country! Got one? Good.
No one likes this part but really ask yourself: How much will this cost? Include food (even if you are bringing it with you) and any other necessities. Then compare what this trip needs to happen to what you have, and come up with an amount.
How long will this take - to ENJOY! Always plan your trips to be enjoyed. If you are not able to make the best of it, you are missing the point of going places. If you are hiking, give yourself a little extra time. When you are going to the movie's times are advertised and easier to be predicted. But make a timeline that flows. Research Trip Advisor for places in that area and see what you would like to explore in the area. You don't want to find out after you return that you were right by a landmark you would have loved to see. Also look at free options in the area. Make a wishful itinerary. Then break down the itinerary and compare with your budget.
Put it on the calendar. How much time it will take to enjoy + how much time you have is the formula needed for success. When can you do this? Once it is written on the calendar, we are out of the dreaming stage and officially in the planning process!
Once you have a schedule, then see what you can start paying for prior to the trip. This will free up funds when you are actually there. If there is a flight or road trip (gas funds) these costs you know well in advance and can either pay in full or put to the side. Keep this money separate, you will know what spending money you have available. Excursions often need to be reserved ahead of time. Be sure if you are looking to book a place it is available during your intended time frame. Some people utilize credit cards that give points, and this is a whole art that I will talk about more later!
** While you are waiting for your trip continue to research ideas and tips. Read blogs. Read Trip Advisor. People sharing itineraries can help you save time or energy getting lost or off course once you arrive. Prepare for the weather or climate. Need bathing suits or hiking shoes? These be given as gifts in this in-between time or budgeted for. Plan for items you may like to have like a travel pillow or even a new camera. I've been known to upgrade my phone prior to travelling.
#5 Be Flexible
This may be the hardest. Sometimes plans just don't play out as planned. Still focus on being a problem solver and making the most of the day. It started raining on your picnic... maybe puddle jumping sounds fun, or maybe you need to move to another location, maybe you have to eat in the car. But try to make it look to your kids like you have the solution even if you have to fake it.
Once those kids can walk they are helpers! Kids love to help, it gives them pride and self confidence. Let them help carry. Put them in charge of somethings - part of this may be knowing your kids and their strengths and weaknesses. Keep it fun but always have a designation, even if it's something like "you count how many trees there are" which you may have no real need of, then praise them for doing the job well. This creates the expectation and engages more. Teaches some accountability which will come in handy later down the road as they grow. I prefer jobs like you wipe the table with a baby wipe before we eat or you collect the trash and put it in the bag, but really any job is better than no job!
Yourself and Kids
For all of the imperfections of the day
There will be good days and bad days. If it all fell apart, that's ok. Parenting is brave and courageous. It is NOT easy. But pick yourself up and try again. Sometimes you may need to bring in reinforcements. Can a friend or grandparent come? Can you adjust a part of the outing to make it easier on yourself? Figure out where it's falling apart and lets trouble shoot. Whatever you do: Do NOT GIVE UP.
ANYTHING you can plan you can do!
Make those bucket lists and dream big.
Don't feel intimidated by reality, it's time to organize and make it happen.
Ready for more? Let's take a trip....
You will see as you browse through my adventures that I share the itinerary and costs of each place we go. This is to make your planning process and itinerary building as seamless as possible. I typically pair an expensive activity, or bucket list item with a bunch of smaller free things in the area to make a whole day of fun. This always makes me feel more satisfied with how I spend my money and budget my time - I want the most bang for the buck so to speak.
Click the links below to see some of our favorite family adventures, for ideas and itineraries!
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