Vacation Planning with the Kids

Posted by Julia OBrien on 4/12/2018
Posted in: Travel Tips
Tags: How-To, Family Travel, Tauck

Vacation Planning with the Kids

The key to ensuring your family has a wonderful vacation? Make sure the kids do.  And the first step towards planning a happy family vacation is to get the family involved. Older children, especially pre-teens, appreciate being asked and even helping research aspects of the trip. 

Tauck has been providing families with enriching travel experiences all over the world for decades and has the benefit of tapping a vast well of knowledge and expertise of tour directors and valued travel agents to refine and perfect our Bridges family programs. Here are a few tips from this network of experts to help engage your children in the vacation planning process:

1 - First things first…where to go and what to do. Invite the kids to be a part of the decision-making process from the beginning. Of course, set guidelines in advance such as time and price range but find out what tops their bucket list.  Is it seeing lion cubs in the wild? River rafting through canyons? Learning to yodel in the Alps like The Sound of Music?  Pre-teens especially will appreciate having choices and sharing their personal preferences.   

2 – Check the calendar! While family vacations typically fall over holidays and summer months, to the best of your ability try to avoid critical dates, like your child's best friend's birthday, graduation party, or an event that has similar importance in your child's life.  It doesn’t mean you can't go, just set the expectations.

3 – The destination and time of year will dictate what to pack, but give your child some leeway. Make a list of "must pack" required by the trip – one dressy outfit for a special dinner, long pants for admission to certain sites like the Vatican – and then let your pre-teen decide what to wear day-to-day. Smart packing is all about editing, too, so maybe lend some advice as a more seasoned traveler. But let your child make some choices.

4 – Build excitement pre-trip with fun activities leading up to the departure date.  Plan family movie nights featuring films produced in the region/country you'll be visiting.  Create a playlist of music and songs from your trip destination and play them during family car rides or on the way to the airport.  Invite your kids to research a "Top 10 Did You Know" list for the region or destination. It could be pop culture, history, or stats. Kids Brochure

5 - Before departure, set the electronic parameters with your kids. Getting off the grid is often recommended, but that means mom and dad should also play by those rules as much as possible. That said, allowing some connectivity at certain times of day may work for your family, as will allowing electronics for entertainment.

6 - Get them involved in documenting the trip. An inexpensive digital camera will help replace the need to document every moment with a phone, and could provide some really fun insights on what they consider highlights of the trip. Or give each child a special trip notebook to write down the best moments of each day. It will be another trip memento that the family can look back on together in the years to come. 

Let's face it...not every family vacation will be perfect. But getting buy-in at an early stage from your kids will help get them invested, excited, and keep them engaged throughout the planning process and the trip itself. That's why we created the "Just For Kids" Bridges brochure (you can get a copy here). This 56-page booklet is designed and written for younger travelers with fun and interesting destination-related facts, information on regional highlights and activities, and real interviews with kids. And when you,re ready to start planning, get some destination ideas at



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