Planning a Family Vacation~ Step by Step

by Jessica on January 5, 2012

I really thought I had done everything right.  I handed out 22 plastic rulers.  We all had our math books open.  I had looked over the lesson.  I had even written Measuring in my best first grade teacher handwriting on the blackboard.  I began the lesson with a simple request for the students to measure their pencil, but instead of happy measuring I was met with half the students staring at me blankly and the other half using their rulers as makeshift weapons.  (I don’t want to be accused of being stereotypical here, so I’ll just let you guess which half of the class was reenacting a Darth Maul encounter.)

I quickly realized my mistake.  As a veteran ruler user, my measuring skills had become so intuitive that I didn’t need to think about the individual steps.  But my students still needed a step by step guide.  So, we broke it down into manageable and understandable chunks.  This end of the ruler is the top.  The marks on the ruler have a meaning.  Measure starting from the zero mark.  If you hit the kid in front of you with the ruler, he’ll probably hit you back.  Before long, I had a class full of master measurers who could easily blend together the simple steps to complete the task.

Travel planning is exactly the same.   These days, I’ve done enough traveling that I no longer need to break the process down into steps; it’s instinctive.   But it wasn’t always this way.  There was a time when I needed to take it step by step to achieve a successful family vacation. In an effort to help you know which end of the travel ruler is up, I am starting a series to share these steps, so that it becomes an instinctive process for many more families. 

We’ll call it Family Travel Planning 101.  (I’ll write it in my best teacher handwriting.) We’ll cover the process from trip daydreaming to takeoff, and everything in between.  Along the way, we’ll make pit stops that will make the process easier, and even fun, such as:

  • Discovering your Travel Style
  • Making (and sticking to) a Traveling Budget
  • Timing is Everything
  • How to Get from Here to There
  • Where are we Going?
  • What to do Before you Go
  • Where to Lay Your Head?
  • We’re Here, Now What?
  • Savvy Kid-Friendly Itineraries

Let’s get started! 

Check out how other travelers are planning great family vacation.


Lisa January 5, 2012 at 11:56 am

Great idea for a series, Jessica!  I'm sure a lot of people will find it very helpful.

Steve January 5, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Teacher Jessica! Lisa hit me with a ruler!!
I've planned plenty of family vacations, and I could probably still use a step by step guide. I tend to forget things like clothes or hotel reservations.

Nicole at Arrows Sent Forth January 5, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Fabulous idea, Jessica! Maybe I'm a dork, but I find the planning almost as much fun as the traveling itself. Looking forward to learning a few tips from you and others along the way.

walkingontravels January 6, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Arrows Sent Forth is not alone. I too find a lot of excitement in the planning stage as well. Can't wait to get a few more tips, esp. on working in some kid-friendly activities. We have finally reached the point that Dek has an opinion on what we do. The nerve! :-)

Taryn January 12, 2012 at 8:05 pm

What a great resource, thanks for pulling this all together!

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