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5 Family Vacation Mistakes to Avoid on Your Next Trip

Travel Team | Feb 17, 2023

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Family on a boat outing in the Chesapeake Bay.

Although the past few years in travel have been somewhat tumultuous, the experts at Expedia predict that the biggest travel trend in travel right now is the GOAT mindset (Greatest of All Trips). While many people are planning to go big on their next trips, what ultimately makes your next family vacation the GOAT is the excitement and enjoyment you get out of your travels.

No matter if you’re headed to the mountains or the beach, traveling for the holidays, or going abroad, how you plan your trip can have a huge impact on its ultimate success. Family vacations are the perfect time to explore together and to connect while having fun, but they’re also often fraught with travel mistakes that can derail the fun train. There’s good news, though. These travel mistakes are totally fixable and can put you right on track to counting your next family vacation with the kids as the GOAT.

1. Failing to Factor in Everyone’s Interests

It’s easy to assume you know what your kids and partner would enjoy doing on family vacations. Things are bound to go smoother if you ask everyone about what they'd like to do and involve them in some of the activity planning. Letting the family have a say in the activities you plan can help avoid meltdowns and choruses of “But I don't want to.”

Consider letting everyone plan one activity, provided it's something everyone can enjoy. Or, if you’re planning a trip as a surprise, research your destination and make sure it has plenty of family-friendly activities for all the age groups in your traveling pack.

2. Not Giving Yourselves Enough Space

When you’re trying to keep your trip on budget, you might consider having everyone bunk together. But when you all share a standard hotel room, you'll need to go to sleep at the same time as the kids. Booking separate rooms or renting a vacation home or condo can give you extra space to spread out and the freedom of having a little downtime to enjoy with your partner and any other adults joining you. It also can help improve the entire experience and avoid everyone feeling they’ve had too much time in close quarters.

3. Overscheduling Your Days

Do you need a vacation from your vacation when you return home? When you’re planning family vacations, it’s easy to try to cram as many activities and as much sightseeing into each and every day to try to get the most out of your time. That’s often a recipe for disaster, but it’s also an easy mistake to fix. Start by slowing things down a bit. Take jet lag and travel weariness into account, and keep your first day relatively light and easy. Plan big adventures in the morning or early afternoons when everyone’s rested and feeling energized. Then give yourselves time later to rest and have a bit of quiet time.

Managing your expectations is one of the best ways to maximize the enjoyment of family vacations. Cranky kids, grumpy spouses, and feeling like you have to rush from place to place so you can check off all your to-dos will only leave you feeling unfulfilled and exhausted. Instead, embrace every little moment of downtime and take time to just enjoy being together.

4. Not Allowing Enough Time for Connections

One of the cardinal rules of family vacations is that everything takes longer when you’re traveling with kids. When you traveled without kids, a mad dash between connecting flights may have been no big deal. But now that you’re traveling with a crew, particularly with young children, you need a little extra layover time. Shoot for at least 1.5 hours so you have ample time for potty breaks, snacks, and getting everyone from Point A to Point B. And remember that stuff happens; weather delays, illness, and other things out of your control can happen. Don’t let the unexpected derail your vacation; rather, have a plan to deal with the unexpected, which includes buying travel insurance before you begin your vacation.

5. Forgetting to Get Travel Insurance

Planning family vacations requires extensive coordination. There’s a lot to factor in, and it’s all too easy to forget about the importance of travel insurance. Travel insurance helps to protect your investment in case you need to cancel your trip or interrupt your plans. It also gives you benefits if your baggage is lost or delayed and coverage for health care if you’re traveling overseas. Ultimately, it allows you to worry less and focus more on the memories you’re making together.

Choosing travel insurance for family vacations doesn’t have to be time-consuming or difficult. Seven Corners makes it fast and easy to discover the right trip protection for your next trip.



About the Author

Caryn Anderson is a professional copywriter who has been freelancing since 2007. She specializes in subjects that range from health and travel to lifestyle and finance. In addition to providing content for a variety of businesses, her work has been featured on popular websites such as USA Today, Bankrate, Credit Sesame, AZ Central, Livestrong and Above, and Beyond, Bed, Bath & Beyond's blog.

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