There are plenty of reasons to travel but none as rewarding as taking a memorable family vacation. Let’s face it. Parents get busy and can’t always spend as much time as they’d like with their kids. Not to mention, the time spent might not always be the most satisfying. We often get so caught up in our daily routine that we don’t make time for meaningful conversations and experiences. Family vacations allow us to take a break from our schedules to spend more quality time together. Plus, travel can be beneficial for your children’s brain development to help them cultivate their urge to explore. Family vacations can seem overwhelming (and expensive) but they are absolutely worth it. So long as you properly plan, you can execute an (almost) flawless family vacay that will help you strengthen your relationships. Still not confident you can pull off an epic escape? Here are 5 ways to prepare for your next family vacation.

Choose The Right Destination

When planning your family vacation, it’s important to select a destination that everyone will appreciate. While it’s impossible to please everybody, make sure you try to consider everyone’s interests and hobbies. That said, make sure you chose a location that promotes “togetherness.” A little alone time is always healthy but it’s important to participate in group activities and experiences that you can all share together.  It’s very beneficial to get the entire family involved in the planning process, especially teenagers. Your kids will feel included and they will be less likely to complain if they had a say in the itinerary.

Manage Expectations

Once you nail down the destination, it’s critical to outline what everyone is looking to get out of this trip, as well as what to expect. If everyone is taking this trip with a different agenda, there is sure to be some disappointment. Make sure to have a realistic discussion about the goals of the vacation and how you can best accomplish them. While relaxation an adventure are staples of any good trip, don’t forget your primary reason for planning a family vacation in the first place: spending meaningful time together. It sounds cheesy but make sure to reiterate the power of a positive attitude. Of course, something will not go as planned so everyone needs to brace themselves for the unexpected. If everyone agrees to make the best of the situation, you’ll be ready for anything!

Be Flexible

Similar to managing expectations, it’s important to be flexible. Don’t overschedule or overcommit yourselves to too many activities. Allow for some downtime as this is when some of the most magical moments take place. On that same note, make sure the whole gang is willing to compromise. When traveling with a big group, it can be tough for everyone to be happy with every decision.  It’s important to pick your battles and to (calmly) express yourself if you’re very passionate about a certain activity.

Make The Most of Every Moment

When it comes to family trips, it’s just not about the destination. Every moment together is an opportunity to strengthen your bond. Most of us don’t look forward to the journey itself (especially when traveling with young kids) but there’s no reason the to and from can’t be just as rewarding. Try listening to an audiobook as a family or exposing your kids to some of your favorite music. If your family has a competitive spirit, there’s no better way to beat boredom than by playing some classic road trip games. However you decide to pass the time, make sure to properly plan so you have everything you need for the road.

Start Saving Now

Family vacations can definitely be done on a budget (read more here) but they still require funds in addition to your usual expenses. The last thing you want to do on your vacation is stress about money so make sure you feel good about your finances before hitting the “book” button. Create a reasonable savings plan so that you can make your dream vacation a reality. If you find you’re going over budget, don’t stress! No need to cancel the entire trip. With a few adjustments, you can still embark on your much-needed family getaway. For starters, forego the fancy hotel for a more affordable vacation rental. You can even book one with a kitchen so you can cut costs by cooking meals at home.

The benefits of family travel are infinite. Family vacations are the perfect setting to share meaningful experiences that will bring you closer than ever before. They’re also great for exposing your children to other cultures and perspectives. While family travel can be intimidating, there are so many ways to prepare for your next trip. No matter the effort, a family vacation will always be worth it!