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Planning a family vacation can be a bit overwhelming. I happen to be a planner and actually love it, but I have friends who actually avoid family vacation because they are so overwhelmed. I have planned their vacations for them, just for fun, and so they will go on one. Their anxiety inspired me to create something to help others who would like help planning their vacations.
I am so excited to be able to share this with you. It is something I have been working on for a while now, and yeah, it is AWESOME! It is a free printable vacation planner. A full on, 14 page planner!
I love to get detailed and plan things out, and have everything written down. Especially when it comes to vacations. So, I have been working on this Family Vacation Planner printable to share with you guys. I will get to that in a moment, but first I want to share some tips for vacation planning.
Tips For Planning Family Vacations
Family vacations are awesome! Seriously, they let you get away from the stress of daily life and spend time with those who matter most in your life. As many of you know, my family normally chooses a magical destination (Disneyland) but this year we are skipping our usual post (find out why HERE) and doing something different.
We honestly didn’t think we would be taking any family vacations this year, other than a weekend trip or two, until October when I have a conference but then my niece is getting married in Portland. I decided, you know what, why not just add on to that little weekend trip and do some more stuff. So now we have a fun road trip planned (which I will share with you guys later). It has been a lot of fun planning it, and I realized, I should share some of my planning tips with you of how we come up with vacations, and how we plan them. Maybe you will get some inspiration from them.
- A twist on visiting family. How many of us spend our vacations going to visit family? A lot of us. You know what, that is okay. But here is an idea, maybe instead of going and staying at your aunts or cousins for a week, find a cool destination nearby or in the middle and see if they would like to meet you there for a vacation together. That way both families can spend time on vacation, and still get to see each other. To pick a place in the middle, you can google your route (if driving) and see what is the approximate half way point and then do a search for attractions in the area. Or you can check out the Chamber of Commerce of a state for more information. There are lots of tools that you also may not know about to help you pick a location. (I wrote an entire post about them here) Or you can just ask the family if they have an idea. TIP: Make sure that your destination will be enjoyable for all age groups going. Also be sure to plan out if you will get hotel rooms, rent a vacation home, etc. Finally, give each family space to do things just as their own little family as needed.
- Searching for activities. When you search for activities to do on your family vacations, be sure to check out sites like Groupon (another tip in our post about vacation planning tools) for ideas of things to do. Also, improve your Google search results by changing your wording. Instead of “things to do with kids in Boise” maybe search “things to do with preschoolers in Boise” or even “preschool outings in Boise” can change the search results. Include a more specific age group. Also, instead of just searching something like “zoos” in the area, broaden it to zoos and aquariums. It is amazing how just changing a few words in your search can get you much better results.
- Make a list and let everyone choose. If you are going somewhere for a week, and there are several activities to choose from, maybe make a list of the ones that you feel are best suited for your family, and then take it to the family to make decisions. Let each person pick their favorite and second favorite activity and do the ones with the most votes. This is a great way to get older kids involved in the planning as well. When we went to Seattle, we each put something on our list that we wanted to do. Mine was the market, The Goof did the Children’s Museum, my niece wanted to see the Space Needle, and Mike chose the Gum Wall.
- Make a travel bucket list. Make a travel bucket list of places you want to go as a family. You only have 18 summers with your children (maybe 19) before they leave for college, so why not make a list of places you want to go with them before they are out of the house. Places could include the Grand Canyon, Disney, Mount Rushmore. If you find you have a ton, maybe plan an ultimate road trip one summer to hit several of those places on one trip. One of our family bucket list items is to visit every single state. We even have a map that we color in each state as we visit it.
- Make saving for vacation a family affair. One thing that really helps our family look forward to vacation, and also helps everyone learn to save money and not spend needlessly, is creating a savings jar the entire family contributes to. We don’t rely on this for our vacation money, but usually it ends up being a little extra spending money for the trip that we may give the Goof or use to do something special.
Now that I shared a few of our vacation planning tips (I could probably share 5 times as many, but that isn’t why you came to this post now is it?) I am SUPER excited to share with you a printable I have been working on. If you sign up for our newsletter you will get it emailed directly to your inbox though, where you can easily access it at any time. If you don’t want to sign up for our newsletter, don’t worry, we have a an instant download option for a small fee at the bottom of this post.
What is this printable? Well- it is a 14 page Vacation Planner. Yes- you read that right. 14 pages that cover everything from your flight info, to your itinerary, check lists for to-dos, activity planners, and even a basic packing list.
Before you head over to print your vacation planner, just a few guidelines for you.
- All printables on this site are for PERSONAL use only. Do not replicate them or sell them for profit. Not cool!
- Do NOT remove the copyright (if there is one) or attribution to this site. Just don’t. Again, not cool.
- If you do share this printable with others, please link back to this post for others to grab it.
- When printing printables from the site, first click on the link, when the PDF pops up, click the download button, but then choose “Open with Adobe….”. Once you open it with Adobe on your computer, than you can print it. If you try and print it without this step it may not print correctly.
You can grad your free printable vacation planner by subscribing to our newsletter below. Don’t worry, we won’t spam you. I only send out emails occassionally, and usually when I have something good to share. Don’t want to sign up for a newsletter to get the vacation planner? We have an instant download for a small fee below.
Want the vacation planner without the newsletter?
I get it. You want the planner but maybe you don’t want to subscribe to the newsletter. I got you covered. You can access the planner for a small fee below.