In partnership with Hotel Planner
Family Fun Vacation Planning
My wife and I can be categorized as people who are obsessed with travel. Our daughter, whom we have been towing along in our travels since she was just 3 months old, has followed suit. We are a family that plans the next trip as soon as we return from the one just taken.
Travel Planning as a Family of Three
We have been including our daughter in vacation planning since she was 9, and now that she is 12 and has a mind of her own (meaning that she can’t be coerced), her input carries much more weight. Including a third party can make planning a bit more complicated, but for us, it has actually become more fun.
Planning Our Next Destination Over Dinner
As a family, we usually broach the topic of the next travel destination over some dinner. We typically agree pretty quickly. Appropriately, because we usually do this while eating, one of the most important items is the cuisine of the country. Once we have agreed on the country, the real work follows.
Scouring Bookstores for Inspiration
The process usually goes as follows: We visit bookstores and gather inspirational reading, watch as many shows on the destination as we can, pre-immerse ourselves by cooking and trying the cuisine of the country as often as possible, and, of course, get online and do our research. We look at our available dates, decide the length of time we have for a holiday, and then look for flights. Once all that has been put together, we approach the topic of what neighborhood to stay in and what hotel we can agree on. This last item, strangely, has always been the one that brings forth the most debate — and that is also the most fun, in some ways.
Our Trip to London
The last time we went through this process, it was for our trip to London. My daughter listed the sites that she thought worth seeing, such as Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and so forth. I made a list of where to eat (in this case, where to find the best Sunday roasts and fish and chips), and my wife had the task of putting together a budget.
As mentioned, finding a place to stay is one of the harder variables. Like most people planning trips, we like to use search engines for just about every category, especially for hotels.
Research the Area First
Independently, we start plugging in our destination and dates. We research areas in which to stay by sorting using categories such as landmarks, zip codes, and star ratings. This usually helps narrow down options for my daughter and me. There is also the important and boring filter of pricing, which is usually left to my wife.
Pick Our Top 5 Hotels in the Area
We individually put together a list of the top five hotels where we’d like to stay and see whether we agree on any. If we do, we narrow it down to those and then do the vetting. This includes factors such as easy access to transportation to get to all points of interest, whether the rooms are aesthetically pleasing, whether the hotel is located in a cool and safe neighborhood, and — for me — whether there’s a good bar at which to unwind by the end of the day. We come up with pros and cons (mostly pros), then book. It’s a great feeling once we’ve arrived at an agreement. It always feels like a celebration of sorts.
Involve the Whole Family in Planning Your Holiday
The next time you plan a family holiday, involve the whole family and have fun researching. Though it may lead to some arguments, at the end, everyone is happier when the decisions are made together. It makes for a much better trip when everyone has input. For the record, we had the best time and stay in London.