I’ve always had my kids involved in vacation planning. In fact, we voted on our first official family road trip from a power point presentation my son did after researching three locations, and they’ve been involved in some capacity ever since.
And well, according to the new 2022 Trend Report from our sponsor Vrbo, I’m not the only one who’s motivated to get kids in on the vacation planning action. They discovered that with so many of us spending so much time at home these days, now that, in some cases, we’re able to more safely travel, families are much more likely to reward their kids with extra-special vacations that they get to have input on.
So, if you’re looking to get your kids’ thoughts about your next family vacation, we’ve got 4 ways that can contribute to the planning process and why it’s good that they do. As excited as they might have been in the past for a vacation, it’s a wonderful way to get them motivated to participate in everything that’s been planned (which can be tricky with older kids and teens), and hey, even step away from their screens for family time.
Read books and watch movies
A simple way to get kids excited about participating in vacation planning is to have them read books and watch movies. And I’m not even necessarily talking about travel books and documentaries (though they’re pretty awesome too, especially if you have a documentary buff in your house, like I do). I’m talking about fiction and movies that are set in faraway places that might get them excited. Depending on your kids’ ages of course, I’m thinking everything from Amelié to Indiana Jones (hey, why not?), and books like Bronze and Sunflower, by Cao Wenzuan, for example, which is a middle grade set in China, where my ancestors are from (and where I hope to visit), or even the Harry Potter series, which has my two younger kids fired up about going back to the U.K.!
Just be prepared to have a kid really excited to go to a place you might not have thought about for a vacation, which hey, is actually pretty awesome. Bonus: you get to spend time with them, and they’re learning something under the guise of “vacation research!”
Research locations together online
As if you might have forgotten that your kids are digital natives, they are pretty darn good at research! Have you ever asked you kids to find something online? It’s pretty incredible how resourceful they can be so… put that to work with your vacation research. Whether you’re asking them to get more information about a particular country or city, or asking them specific questions like “What is the best XYZ,” kids can be your go-to researchers for everything about your trip.
And if your kids haven’t done a lot of Internet searching just yet, this is a fantastic opportunity to teach them about everything from search terms to legitimate sources and fact checking.
More about our sponsor Vrbo
Photo credit: Vrbo
We’re so excited to welcome Vrbo as a sponsor, especially considering we’ve loved and used them for our own family vacations for many years. Just look at the places I rented in London, Paris, Iceland and Ireland. They’re always my first stop for lodging searches, and this year, they’ve compiled some really fascinating data from a recent survey that you might find interesting as you consider your own trips, and whether you’re going to involve your kids in the process.
As it turns out, half of the families surveyed said they’re more likely to let their kids decide where they vacation, compared to pre-pandemic times. They’re also more likely to let their kids invite a friend (one in three!), and 43% of parents said they’re more likely to let their kids skip school for vacation (shhhh!). But one thing’s the same as always: 61% of those surveyed said they are more likely to require their children to disconnect from their devices on vacation, which is definitely made a whole lot easier when kids had a say in the activities.
To read their 2022 Trend Report, or to make a reservation for your next trip (tell us where you’re going!), head over to their website.
Let them help pick your lodging
Here’s the spot we all decided on using Vrbo for our Ireland trip because… there were cows (okay, and a few other things).
What do kids know about picking a place to stay, you ask? Well, they know a lot, because kids who are happy in their accommodations are happy on vacation, which in my world means I’m happy too! It’s definitely important to narrow options down by location and price range first, since you’re the one paying and driving (if applicable), but then let them take a look and see what might work for them. You can even give them a list of what to look for: How many bedrooms do we need? How many bathrooms do we need? What sort of amenities do we want? (We always rent a place with a washer and dryer so we can cut down on our luggage; that’s a big deal for a family of five!).
This is such an important skill for them to learn as they grow up and do their own traveling, but it’s also a great way to ensure that everyone is satisfied with the accommodations you chose for your family vacation.
Allow them to choose a few whole-family activities
Getting kids involved in the whole-family activities can get tricky as they get older because we parents suddenly become very uncool, but one very smart way to do it is to allow them to pick which ones they want to do. I definitely suggest narrowing it down to a few options (or several) before you let them loose, keeping in mind everyone’s various comfort, anxiety, and fitness levels. Then, you can either have them vote on one or two, or let each person pick one thing out of a larger group of options. I would have never picked the London Dungeon as a spot for my kids, especially after a few friends of mine were like “touristy,” but the kids insisted, and for a couple of them, it was their favorite thing of the whole trip.
Another great idea, which we did in Ireland, was pick one location that offered a variety of different activities, and let the kids choose what they wanted to do. Ashford Castle (above) offered everything from Hawk Walks to horseback riding to archery and afternoon tea, so everyone was able to find something, after agreeing on that specific location.
Thanks to our sponsor Vrbo for making it easier for families to enjoy quality time together on their vacation. Make sure to head over to their site to check out all their 2022 Trend Report findings. Top photo credit: Vrbo; other photos: © Kristen Chase