Do you remember the countdown to summer break? How amazing was it to spend nearly three whole months either sleeping in, going to your favorite camp, or hanging out with friends with no school bells in sight? Simply having a summer break is one of the greatest parts of being a kid, but as a parent, you want toreally make those weeks count. After all, you only have a few summers when the kids are at the perfect age to really make the most of it. If your child enjoyed a productive school year, summer is the ideal time for a little reward. A vacation with the whole family isn’t just a guaranteed blast for your child, but a fantastic way for your family to bond.
However, planning that vacation is another story. Don’t forget to be organized as you begin the planning stage, because it’s going to make the process a lot faster, smoother, and even more affordable. You only have a few days left, so it’s time to get started. Here’s how to plan for the perfect summer vacation:
1. Make a budget. Vacations tend to always cost more than you think. Choose a reasonable budget and do what it takes to stick to it. Get creative. Maybe that means planning a family road trip instead of hopping on a plane. Maybe you can rent a car to keep the wear and tear down on your own vehicle, or take public transportation for a brand new experience. You don’t have to travel far to make it the best vacation ever.
2.If possible, choose a non-peak time. If you’re going to a popular destination such as a beach or amusement park, choose your dates wisely. Chances are, you’ll be taking a few days off, too. Avoid holiday weekends and weekends in general if you can. Arriving first thing in the morning ensures you’ll be one of the first few people to enjoy your destination. Need some help coercing the kids up so early? A breakfast out at their favorite restaurant or a new local mom and pop joint is the perfect temptation.
3. Establish some technology rules beforehand. Do you remember your favorite car games as a child? It’s time to introduce them to the kids, along with a contract that limits screen time while on vacation. This doesn’t mean you have to go cold turkey. Tech addiction is very real, and on a vacation is the last place you want to try and break them of this habit. However, it’s within reason to establish times for screens and times when you’re just with family. Make sure you have enough games in your back pocket to make this a fun challenge.
4. Pick out the best roadside attractions. Whether you’re taking a car or another form of transportation to get to a new place, play tourist. There are always plenty of free attractions, even in your own city. Do a little sleuthing, and if the kids are of the right age they can help. Who can find the weirdest or craziest free attraction? What about the zaniest doughnuts in a new city? Looking forward to the trip is half the fun.
5. Practice good packing skills. Plan outfits in advance, and roll clothes to keep them wrinkle-free and allow for more room. Most people over-pack, and when you’re traveling with family this can be a real nightmare. Put out the clothes you plan to wear each day, and choose only two pairs of comfortable shoes per person.
By the time autumn rolls around, your child will be itching to write that famed essay about what they did on summer vacation.