Ah summer, the season of endless ball games, trips to the pool, family cookouts and… planning the family vacation. Summer vacations are popular with kids being out of school and the weather being nice. Every year my husband and I try to hoard a specific amount of vacation time to be taken during the summer when the girls are out of school. We try to pick a place that will provide both an atmosphere of entertainment for the kids, and an opportunity for the two of us to relax a little bit. We are fortunate enough that our girls are pretty self-entertaining and usually play well together, and my son for the most part goes along with what they’re doing or he can entertain himself. Which is usually how he either ends up with makeup and pig tails, or is trying to teach Moose how to use a light saber.
As kids get older however, they may start to crave higher levels of activity. Sometimes just building sand castles on the beach isn’t enough, they need some wonder and amusement. With the increased need for wonder and amusement also comes the increased need for extra funds. So how do you keep the entire family happy but still stay within a budget? Let the kids be part of the vacation planning! Now, I know you’re probably laughing right now and saying “Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Claire, are you serious? Let me kids plan a vacation!?” But hear me out. If you let your kids take part in the vacation planning, they’ll start making choices that will help eliminate the usual complaints and groans about your choices. They’ll also start to learn valuable lessons about budgeting, and just how much work mom and dad put into this yearly excursion of family fun.
When you start the planning process, pick your destination, let the kids know where you’re going and let them start helping with the itinerary based on some of the attractions in that area and the family’s budget. Do they want to try out the famously fantastic family restaurant near the hotel and then spend a day at the beach? Or, would they rather pick up a budget meal and take in the huge amusement park in the area? Do they want to go horseback riding and skip the ATVing? Or, would they rather give both activities a miss and spend the money on water-skiing? Let them know that each option is going to make a dent in the budget, so they need to choose wisely!
We’ll probably give it one more year before we initiate this into our planning process. Right now the girls still enjoy building sand castles that their brother enjoys destroying and I’m working on where the relaxation portion of my vacation comes in. I’m Claire, the Afena blog mom. Thanks for reading!