20 Effective Ways of Planning a Family Vacation Checklist

Updated: Feb 23, 2023
By Happiness Hassan
Family vacation
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The best things in life are the people we love, the places we’ve been, and all the memories we’ve made along the way.” – Unknown

The memories built with family on a vacation are priceless. But, getting started can be overwhelming. Vacation with family involves a lot, from choosing the appropriate location for everyone to booking accommodation, you will definitely need help planning a family vacation checklist. 

Postponing your family vacation till the right time isn’t reliable as there might never be a right time— now is the right time. In this guide, I will be helping you plan a family vacation checklist step by step, when you have a tight budget and planning for a large family. 

How to Plan a Family Vacation Step By Step

Step 1: Define Your Goals And Expectations

A family vacation is a time of fun with family to revive or strengthen the existing love bond between parents and the kids. Therefore, it’s not something you dive into because other families are doing it.

You need to know why you want a family vacation for your family. This includes reconnecting with family, experiencing a new culture, or rewinding from work. 

This way, you’re able to plan and wouldn’t get bored even while on a family vacation. 

Step 2: Decide Where You Want to Go

This is a vital aspect of planning a family vacation checklist that ensures the chosen location is suitable for everyone. It’s best if you go to locations that are flexible, unique, and memorable. 

If you live here in Nigeria or want to come to visit, you might want to consider these memorable vacation sites in northern Nigeria. Also, ensure your chosen location is kids friendly, cost-effective and accessible.

Step 3: Define Your Budget

Everyone loves free, sadly there are no free vacations, and traveling on credit isn’t a nice way of planning and utilizing the family budget. You need a budget plan before your vacation, this includes transport costs, accommodation, feeding, and entertainment.

Enquire how much will be enough for your entire trip and how much are you willing to spend on a family vacation.

Step 4: Start Saving Up

After deciding the budget for the vacation, you need to craft realistic savings plans. You might save daily, weekly, or monthly depending on what works for you. 

However, begin by deciding how much you earn and what percentage you are willing to save for the vacation consistently to reach the budget. 

This could be over the space of 6 months, or 10 months depending on your earnings. Saving is crucial to planning a family vacation checklist because the success of your vacation is influenced by how much you can save. 

Step 5: Take Care of the Logistics

Ensure the logistics of your family vacation are secured months before your trip. Get a flexible date for your trip, get everyone’s passport ready. Checkout with airlines, and have your ticket booked if you will be going by plane. 

In addition, secure your family accommodation so you people don’t get stranded when you arrive. It’s also a good idea to have your documents scanned and printed such as your passport, travel insurance card, ticket, and confirmation of accommodation. 

There could be odd times when you can’t access them due to connectivity and that could terminate your trip. 

Step 6: Find Unique Vacation Activities to Do

You don’t want to get stuck in boredom with your family or stare at each other doing nothing during a vacation. So, planning a family vacation checklist includes fun with the family. 

You should check out and draft a series of fun activities to engage in with your family. This also includes interesting places to go see at your chosen location. 

Ensure activities are conducive for everything, especially your kids. However, don’t forget to set a time alone or get activities you and your spouse could enjoy together away from the kids.

Step 7: Put Together a Flexible Itinerary

One great way to stop being disorganized on a family vacation is by creating a flexible itinerary. This enables you to know what to do at what time and the right location.

Your itinerary should be broken into three categories, morning, afternoon, and evening. Fill in two activities in each time slot, keep it moderate, and don’t forget to include time for a nap.

Step 8: Plan With a Google Map

Google maps make planning very easy and flexible. It enables you to get acquainted with the layout of your chosen location. 

Hence, when planning your family itinerary you should be able to group activities that are close to each other. This way, you and your family wouldn’t get stressed out moving from one fun point to another far off.

Step 9: Make Safety and Health a Priority

If you have a sick family member when planning a family vacation checklist, then you have to consider their health as your plan. Similarly, those who have got allergies.

Make sure their medications and drugs are accessible while on vacation. The mode of transportation must also be conducive, if it’s by airplane, you should relate this to the airline while purchasing your tickets. 

Also, ensure the food and drinks over at your location is suitable for them, or you might want to consider going along with their food or get a store to buy from over there.

Step 10: Start Packing

Packing your luggage is also vital since you don’t want to leave something important behind. Therefore, ensure you pack the essential travel items you need when traveling. 

A good way to hack this is by starting early. If you don’t want to incur more expenses at the airport or at your transit medium, you should consider keeping your luggage simple and light. 

Planning a Family Vacation on a Budget

Having a tight budget doesn’t mean you can’t go on vacation. You could still have a great family vacation on a budget. In addition to the step-by-step guide in planning a family vacation checklist, you can cut back on some expenses through the following. 

1. Look Up For Discount Vacation Packages

Some airlines offer discounted flight tickets, promotional codes, and coupons. Sign up for an online fare alert to keep an eye out for a good deal when available. 

You could also consider vacation locations that offer discounted prices on their services.

However, early birds get lucky on this discount, so be early. Moreover, discount vacation packages are more available during holidays.

2. Search on Weekdays and Holidays

While planning a family vacation checklist on a budget, you might have to compare prices across weekdays. 

Prices during weekdays are less compared to weekends when the number of travelers is high. You should also compare prices on different days, they could rise and drop. 

Flight rates are often cheaper on holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New year. So, it’s not a bad idea to fix your vacation during the holidays if you have a tight budget. 

3. Cut Off Little Expenses

Cut back on little extra expenses by staying at a hotel with a substantial free breakfast or hostel where kids can eat for free or a hotel with a kitchen where you’re allowed to cook your food.

This helps you eliminate too many expenses on food and save more money on meals for other needed expenses. 

4. Check Out Alternative

It’s not a must for you to go to a location where you can’t afford to pay for the flight ticket. Check out alternatives that are closer and could be accessed by road transportation or water transport to reduce cost. 

Similarly, you could lodge at alternatives to hotels such as a large family rented apartment where the cost is low and you could cook your meal by yourself.

5. Avoid Travel Bag Fees

Irrespective of your mode of transportation there is always an additional fee for extra luggage. Hence, while planning a family vacation checklist, ensure your luggage is light and contains the needed items. 

Perhaps, if you have a gift for a family or friends over at your vacation site, you might consider using free shipping to get your items there before your family arrives.

How To Plan A Large Family Vacation

1. Choose a Rental Housing

Oftentimes, going on a large family vacation might not be conducive in a hotel as they would not be a single apartment to hold everyone.

Hence, at your decided location get rental housing for the period of your stay that could contain the entire family members.

2. Create Activities For Everyone

One of the aims of a large family vacation is to reconnect with each other. But this can’t be achieved if everyone is engaging in different activities. 

In contrast, there should be a unifying activity that is conducive for everyone to participate in. To make it livelier, you could as well group activities for children alone, teenagers alone, and adults alone. 

3. Be Clear on the Financial Budget

This isn’t a family vacation involving just you, your spouse, and your kids, a large family vacation involves other families.

Therefore, to avoid money trouble/ clashes regarding who pays for what and when, it’s advisable you sit down together and draft a financial budget and plan. 

Be clear if a single-family is sponsoring the entire trip or the budget will be divided amongst family members. 

Also, planning a family vacation checklist for a large family entails enquiring about the cost of the entire trip, and including a budget for miscellaneous, and emergencies. 

Additionally, decide who is going to be in charge of buying and paying for the need—a single person or shared amongst certain persons. 

 4. Take Turns Cooking

Not knowing who is expected to cook at a large family vacation is going to result in a serious family feud. Since everyone has got to eat on a vacation, it should be clarified to those in charge of the cooking. 

Preferably, it should be done in turns, so everyone knows the day they are in charge of cooking and also what to cook. 

5. Turn Off the Digital Occasionally

A large family vacation is supposed to carry the entire family along. However, during this time some members could get drowned in their phones, computer games, or television and would want to participate in the activities.

Therefore, let it be stated that family fun time is meant to be enjoyed and during those times, all digital should be turned off. 

6. Shop At Local Stores

To save more on expenses, you should get a discount card at a local grocery store or shop closer to your location. 

This is very important because you could access it on time without spending much on transport. Also, it’s a great way of giving back to the local society where you’re lodged.


The key to achieving success after planning a family vacation checklist is by starting early to check out what you have written on your list—early birds get the best package.

Additionally, a family vacation is all about fun, hence, after planning one, take a breath and enjoy your vacation. 

Don’t let anything ruin the happy moments with your family. But, don’t forget to take lots of pictures and videos to preserve the memories. 

Frequently Asked Questions And Answers

How do I plan a trip checklist?

It all begins by defining your goals and expectations for the trip. This way, you could plan your budget, choose your location, and draft activities that suit your expectations.

How do I create a family itinerary?

Creating a family itinerary is a practical aspect of planning a family vacation checklist. Begin by dividing it into three categories, morning, afternoon, and evening. Next, begin by filling two activities into those time slots and your itinerary is all set. 

What is important when you are planning a family trip?

The success of your family vacation is influenced by how much you have saved up for it. Hence, saving is very important when planning a family trip, since there are no free trips irrespective of how good your expectations are for the trip. 

How long should a family vacation be?

The length of a family vacation is based on family preferences. Ideally, families should take vacations at least once a year and for a week. But, it could be more or less depending on what works for your family. 


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