Having a Blast with Your Loved Ones: 8 Essential Ingredients for the Perfect Family Trip 

Vacations can be a stressful time for parents with all the planning, spending, and scheduling. Many adults need a rest after returning from a trip. Planning ahead with these 8 essential ingredients will guarantee a family recipe that is a stress-free holiday.

family trip

Once the lodging is verified, the rest of your trip could be loosely scheduled to ensure each family member will have the time of their life. The following list will help take the worry out of any trip and add more relaxing fun time.


Traveling to different places can be exciting yet wreak havoc on the digestive system. Even the family member with the “iron stomach” can become off balance when they eat something unfamiliar. Packing your family’s favorite foods, including drinks and snacks, can save a lot of stops to public restrooms.

Children are especially reluctant to try new foods. Having a backup of their “regular” foods from home will help. Not only will “home food” save a meltdown over an unusual-tasting meal, it will save time and not waste foods. And don’t forget to pack non perishable snacks. Crackers, popcorn, chips, juice boxes, nuts and healthy treats are always a good idea. Additionally, this will save money and time at the gas station and could help keep the peace on long rides.

Depending on how far you and your family are traveling, and where you are staying, comfort is always a priority. Packing a favorite blanket, pillow, or stuffed animal can help travelers of all ages become and remain comfortable in a new place.

Cars, trains, airplanes or any mode of transportation can be converted into a luxury adventure with a little piece of home, even when traveling by coach. As long as the item does not take up too much room, packing it will increase the comfort of the owner, as well as all the other passengers.

Having a schedule as close as possible to the one practiced at home, can be helpful to all family members. Try to keep naps, play time, meals, and bedtime as close to your normal, everyday times as possible. This will help keep young children on an even temperament and less confused, which will cut down on fits thrown about what they can’t control.

Having a schedule for each day will keep your family on time and give them more structure in a time where they may feel out of place. Share this schedule with each member of the family so they will know what to expect from each day away from home.

If visiting relatives, be sure to share with them your family’s daily schedule. This will cut down on surprises and disappointment when children, and older adults, can’t attend an activity due to a nap.

Free Time

Scheduling free time is as necessary as scheduling all other activities. Each member of the family needs time to be alone, process the day’s events, and simply be with their thoughts. Just like when they are at home everyone appreciates and values the time they are allowed to choose how to spend their time.

Be sure to permit each person to schedule all or part of their own free time. Some family members may want to go swimming in the hotel pool while others may enjoy a movie in the room or reading a book at the local park. Just be sure to assign an adult or older sibling to each younger child for safety reasons.

By allowing each person to control their own free time, they will feel more in control of a situation they actually have little control over. They will also be happier about being away from home and the trip will be less stressful for everyone.


No matter where you are traveling, there will be an opportunity for education. Across the United States and around the world, there are places voyagers will want to learn more about the area, the people and the culture. Getting an education while traveling is a time-honored tradition. 

Of course, you don’t have to tell anyone you are about to embark on a learning experience; they can just have fun while they absorb new knowledge. School-aged children will appreciate not being told this is a learning experience during a class break. 


Not all family members will be interested in all the activities presented while at a particular location. However, each destination can offer a wide variety of undertakings including amusement parks, zip lines, beach fun, touring landmarks, and much more. 

By having a loose schedule, and allowing a majority vote for the day’s activities, each person can have their own day.  Allow them to choose the day’s activities such as where to eat and what to do during down time. Give them a list of pre-approved destinations so there is still some adults’ control. Assigning each family member a day will also cut down on fights about what the family is going to do and where the meals are going to take place. 


Before packing up the car and making reservations, research the history of where you will be traveling. Allow the kids to come up with several unique pieces of information about the history of the different destinations. 

To combat boredom during a long trip, transform the trivia into a game to play with the entire family. Use flash cards, stickers and other stationery items. Keep electronic use to a minimum and bring learning to a new, fun level. 


Although a regimented schedule is helpful, don’t forget to leave room for fun. If a vacation is too regimented, no one will have much fun. Holidays and trips away from the normal day-to-day are meant for happy times. Smile, laugh more and be silly. It may feel weird at first, but when your children recall the trip, they will remember how fun, brave and exciting their parents were.

Think organized, yet be open to sudden changes. Flexibility is the best way to approach a vacation to ward off stress before, during and after a trip.



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