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Reduce the stress planning family trips

The very thought of planning a family vacation can leave most people needing a drink and a lie-down. It might seem stressful and overwhelming and just too darn hard, but it actually isn’t. It can actually be exciting, fun, satisfying and be totally worth it.

The key to not becoming overwhelmed when you’re planning a family trip to somewhere new is to remember why you’re doing it in the first place, and who you’re doing it for. I mean, are you planning a trip for a superstar diva (teenagers don’t count), or is it for your family who loves and trusts you (and who are secretly pleased you’re the one organising everything and not them)?

1. Step away from your computer

The big problem with the Internet is there is way too much information on it – so don’t ask Google or Siri anything to start with. You’ll become frustrated, confused and want to throw your computer through the window after 10 minutes. Whether you’re looking for information on a destination, transport, accommodation or just how on earth to do it, then you need to know the information you’re getting is reliable, correct and not biased.

So, let me give you a tip: sit down with your family and have a chat. Discuss where everyone wants to go, what type of things you want to do, what adventures and memories you want to make. Next, work out how much time and money you’ve got, and you’ve got the best start to your plan.

I’ve got some great FREE resources for you in the Family Travel Toolkit.

2. Break it down

With so many choices to make and things to do it’s really easy to get overwhelmed, but break it down into smaller bits and it seems so less daunting. The easiest way to do this is to use a family travel planning checklist like this one we use for all of our trips.

Download your free FAMILY TRAVEL PLANNER

3. Plan less

Don’t feel you have to have everything worked out. You’re not writing a battle plan, you’re working out what you’re going to do on your vacation! The idea of going away as a family is not to work out exactly where you’ll have every meal, and what attractions to visit every day. Sometimes, the best-laid plans will get changed because the barista at the coffee shop will give you a great tip.

The best thing to do is work out what are the most important things you all want to see and do, and have a rough itinerary so you have an idea what you can fit in, and what’s close by. But be flexible and don’t overthink it. That idea from the local store owner might end up being the very best thing you did on your vacation.

Stop overwhelm trip planning family travel

4. Stop overthinking

Talking about overthinking… just don’t. It’s one thing to be prepared, and another to overthink every detail. I’m a classic over-thinker (many mothers are!), but I try not to be when it comes to our family trips because you can’t plan for everything, and you really don’t want to. No matter how much you prepare, you’ll still be thrown a curve ball at some stage (both good and bad ones), and that’s ok. Take it easy, breathe and roll with it.

Leave your routines behind whilst travelling, right? Have a read of Our Traveling Zoo’s article on how they find that keeping a routine while traveling with kids is vital.

5. Slow down

Just because there are 20 major attractions you want to see, doesn’t mean you should or even can, see them all. Pick the ones most important to you and the family…if you get to see more, then that’s a bonus. Talk to the family about the top three things they each want to see and work it out from there. Make sure you take into consideration jet lag, the need for chill out days, location of attractions, price, location and whether they are family-friendly.

6. Learn some simple tips and tricks

Our favourite travel tips to live by are – always carry snacks and water, make sure your passport is valid 6 months from the day you arrive home, and always be open to new experiences.

Here’s the best place to start 54 tips for international travel with kids <

Travel is about making fond memories. Travel Indians has a great article about making travel fun for kids.

7. Find your people

One of the best things you can do is find a group of like-minded people who can answer your questions and help you realise you’re not alone in this. When you’re doing all the planning by yourself, you can start second-guessing yourself, but with a group of friends, family or other parents, you’ll quickly realise we are all trying to plan the best time away for our families, to give our children life-long memories – and to have fun!

We have a free Facebook group – Travel the World with Kids for First-timers – which I’d love to welcome you to.

Join Trip Chiefs and we will show you the pitfalls, the shortcuts, and all the tips and all the tricks so you can start taking extraordinary vacations with your loved ones. Travelling with kids doesn’t have to be difficult. It’s the most incredible experience you can have with your family, and we will show you just how easy with the tools and knowledge, and a community of like-minded people!

8. Join the Family Trips Made Easy academy

Planning a family trip can be seriously daunting but there is an easier way to make it happen.

Our six-week course is designed to help busy parents save time, money and stress by giving you step-by-step guidance to help you conquer a different aspect of travel each week through our video tutorials, checklists, workbooks and Q&A’s.

We’ll show you the pitfalls, the tips, and tricks, so you can start taking extraordinary vacations.

Find out more hereYou won’t regret it!


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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure statement