Spring has arrived, and it’s time to plan those family getaways. Since I’m used to business travel (read: solo travel), a family trip throws all sorts of variables into the mix. Incorporating others’ nap schedules, for example. But, not one to back down at a challenge, I forged ahead and started planning.

Find a Family-Friendly Destination

We’ll be traveling with a two- and a four-year-old, so the destination has to be accommodating to those ages. A water park, amusement park or other such destination with enough entertainment to wear them out is preferred. We chose a location that we can drive to we can pack the car to the brim with all of the essential and not-so-essential items we’ll need for the trip.

Book a Family Hotel

When traveling for business, I look for a hotel that has free wi-fi and a restaurant on site; for family travel, a heated or indoor pool is crucial. Not only does it give the kids a chance to play, but it gives my husband and me a break as well – at least for a couple of minutes. In addition, a refrigerator in the hotel room is a handy place to store drinks, snacks and leftovers to put together quick snacks during the day or at night before bed.

Some kid-friendly hotels also offer childproofing services, allowing the parents to relax and not worry about childproofing the hotel room


Save Money on Meals

Dining out can take a big bite out of any travel budget. Save money by packing snacks and drinks in a cooler or a bag, or shop when you arrive. Hit the local grocery store or a farmers’ market to save on snacks, fruits and vegetables, milk, and other essentials.

Schedule Some Down Time

Fight the tendency to plan every minute of the day. Instead, schedule in some down time for splashing in the pool, hanging out at the beach or watching a movie in the hotel room. This can allow both the grown ups and the kids to recharge their batteries or take a much-needed nap.

When planning a family vacation, keep your family’s needs in mind. Don’t overschedule and choose a destination that is both family-friendly and age appropriate.