As the weather gets warmer and sunnier, it gets harder and harder to sit in the office all day knowing what you’re missing outside! And now that kids will be out of school soon, many families are planning their summer vacations. What makes for an amazing family vacation? I’d focus on 3 things: planning, location and disconnecting.
Planning your family vacation early
Timing is important – getting the same time off as your spouse and kids can be tricky, but advance planning is key to giving your office ample notice of the time you intend to be off so you can plan big campaigns and important client meetings around your holiday schedule where possible. Timing is also important when it comes to flight costs and hotel rates. These can often be most expensive when kids get time off – in the summer, December holidays and March break. If you can take a trip outside of those peak travel times, it’s likely to be less busy and less expensive. And if you can’t, planning in advance is definitely your friend.
Which brings me to finances – planning a summer vacation is a good excuse to have regular conversations about money throughout the year, and in a fun way – you’re talking about vacations! Travel can be one of your savings goals if you want to take a trip (or more) every year. It’s good to set a financial goal and then, as a family, monitor how you’re progressing towards that goal each month, so when the summer comes – there’s nothing holding you back from some fun in the sun! (And while you’re talking about the family vacation each month, it’s a good opportunity to check in on your investments, spending and savings too.)
Location, location, location
Location is important in a number of ways. First you need to pick a setting that suits your family’s needs – do you want to be just a quick drive away, within your own province or state? Do you want to take a short flight with your young kids, or are you open to a longer flight with older kids? And once you’ve chosen the city, the accommodations are your next big decision. Do you want to be in a hotel with a kitchen or kitchenette to save time and money preparing breakfasts and lunches for the family at the start of each day? Or would you rather be camping and preparing all your meals over an open fire! Maybe a nice hotel with meals at the best food joints in town are what you’re looking for – whichever you decide, advance planning and saving can help prepare you for your dream vacation.
Once you’ve planned and paid for your family’s perfect vacation, well earned and long-awaited, why not make the most of your quality family time! Our phones, tablets, laptops, video games, etc. have started taking over our lives. I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen a family out for dinner and each of them is looking down at a different device as they sit around the table ‘together’. We don’t get much time off with our entire family during the year, so take advantage of this quality family time and disconnect from the outside world. Leave your phones and tablets in the hotel room, only to be checked in the morning and evening. Or if your phone is your camera and you want to capture the vacation – consider putting your phone on airplane mode during the day – it saves battery life and you still have access to a phone if you take a wrong turn and need directions.
Most importantly? Get outside in this beautiful weather and enjoy time off with the ones you love, I know I will!