8 Tips for Kid-Friendly Family Vacations

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Kid friendly family vacations almost seem like a contradiction in terms.  Are there really places you can take your kids that YOU will enjoy, and that YOUR KIDS will enjoy – without spending a fortune?  

How you vacation with your kids is definitely a matter of personal choice.  While some families are all about the outdoors and could think of nothing better than roughing it and camping in a tent, others prefer the amenities of a hotel or condo.  Therein lays the first trick to planning a kid friendly family vacation:  Plan something that you and your children are interested in.  That being said, a vacation can also be a great time to introduce your kiddos to something new in life as well. 

The following tips and ideas are for kid-friendly vacations that will definitely make memories. 

Image via Flickr/ D Sharon Pruitt

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1. Go cross-country.  Set aside a week or more to travel by car or train across the country.  Obviously, your child should be old enough to enjoy peering out windows and seeing this beautiful country we live in.  The last thing you want to do is drag an infant across the country.  But once your kids are old enough to explore, go and see the sites.  Have a loose game plan of destinations, and use online tools to show you some of the lesser-known blessings, such as swimming holes and caves, along your route.  Also, don’t forget to put together a scavenger hunt for your kids – with the prize for finding everything on the list a trip to an amusement park or something equally impressive. 

Image via Flickr/ sidewalk flying

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2. Don’t plan too much in one day.  Disney is great.  The beach is beautiful.  The woods can be exhilarating.  Too often, we plan to do SO much during vacations that we come home more exhausted than we were when we left.  Make sure your vacation allows for free time and down time. Your kids don’t need to be DOING something every second of every day.

Image via Flickr/ Lance Shields

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3. Visit family!  My favorite vacations are to visit family.  (My family lives in Florida so its win-win for me!)  But visiting out-of-town relatives and making a tradition of doing so will become a warm memory in your child’s memory book.  Plus, it’s often more affordable for those on a budget, and offers a change of scenery.

 Image via Flickr/ wickenden

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4. Do half-and-half vacations.  Half camping, half in a hotel.  Half at the beach, half in the mountains.  Half visiting family, half at a destination.  Sometimes, planning a 7 or 10 day vacation in one place becomes monotonous for children.  Instead, break your vacation into different segments where you do two (or three) different things during your time away.  This also makes it easy to please adults and children alike, and gives everyone something to look forward to.

Image via Flickr/ ex_magician 

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5. Invite another family along.  If you have another family that you and your kids get along well with, invite them to join you.  The more the merrier.  Plus, your kids will have a good time having playmates with them – and you will enjoy the presence of other adults. 

Image via Flickr/ Brian Birke

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6. Allow each of your children to plan an activity.  If you are hauling toddlers around, then get their input on things that they would like to do.  Take them to the library ahead of time and have them go through travel or destination brochures and see what strikes their fancy.

Image via Flickr/ ajari

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7. Don’t be afraid to have a stay-cation.  A successful stay-cation allows you to stay at home and enjoy time with your kids and plan different local things that you can do in your own area.  Explore your own state for a while; you might be surprised how fun day trips can be.

Image via Flickr/ Fort Rucker

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8. Whatever you do, wherever you go – do your research beforehand to see what other families with kids the same age as your own had to say about a destination.  Just because a travel agent suggests somewhere, doesn’t mean it is right for your family.  Use your social media associations to get honest feedback, 

Remember, half the fun of a family vacation is the getting there!  It might be stressful to think about packing for a family, traveling together, and spending the extra money, but the memories you make will last a lifetime. Above all things, HAVE FUN! 

{Related: 15 Tips for Saving Money on Your Summer Vacation}

Image via Flickr/ vastateparksstaff

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8 Tips for Kid-Friendly Family Vacations

Stef Daniel is the 40ish year old, experienced (meaning crazy already) mother of count ‘em…4 daughters (yes, she takes prayers) who have taught her nearly E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G she needs to know about raising kids and staying sane. She hails from a small town in Georgia where she lives with her family in a red tin roofed house (with just ONE bathroom mind you) on a farm - with tons of animals of course. One day, due to her sheer aversion to shoes and her immense lov ... More

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