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You have been working hard and finally saved up enough for a nice vacation – good work! But, do you know how to actually plan a vacation? ( It may not sound like a big deal now, but not taking the right steps could result in an unhappy family outing. Without a plan, it is possible to forget a number of important things, especially for inexperienced travelers. Here are our suggestions on how to plan a family vacation.

By Jude Beck/Unsplash

Making Reservations Early

It is almost always best to plan ahead, this is the case for family vacations as well. Besides potential air travel, it is important to have your accommodations booked. Online platforms like AllTheRooms,, and others can help. Make sure to book before your favorite spots run out of rooms or hike up their prices.

Other than getting a hotel or short-term rental, think about other things you may want to have taken care of before arrival. Look into rental cars, tours, tickets to museums or shows, or even a table at popular restaurants.

Check All the Travel Documents

Once you know where you are going, you need to make sure you have all the proper travel documents required for your specific trip.

When traveling within the country, make sure your identity card is still valid. Also soon the country will roll out their new REAL ID cards. Without acquiring one of these from the DMV, you will need to travel with your passport. This is because normal IDs will no longer be a legitimate ID to get on a plane, it will just be a pure driver’s license.

Traveling abroad can be a bit more tricky. Other than checking passports, you need to see if that country will allow you a visa-free entry. If you need a visa, check the requirements and the duration of the process, then plan accordingly. Some countries will also require certain vaccines. Just make sure you get all the information right, and things should go smoothly.

By Agus Dietrich/Unsplash

Travel Apps

Some companies sell or loan devices that can be used as portable wireless internet hotspots. Chances are you don’t have a telecom plan in a foreign country, devices like these can help you stay connected to the internet to keep in touch with family and friends.

You may also need one or two location-sharing apps. Apps like mspy can help you keep track of the other members of the family or to provide a quick fix to potentially getting separated. Other apps can help you share your location on a private map.

Also, just in case your kids don’t have a mobile device, pick a famous spot and tell your kids to find their way there if they get lost.

Pack All the Essentials

Time to depart! But do you have everything you need? Make sure to have enough outfits to match the number of days of the vacation. Also to be assured you’ll be looking fresh and sharp daily, bring a spare outfit just case another gets wet or dirty.

Other than clothes, you need to pack everything your kids need. Entertainment, snacks, and diapers are a few things to get started with. Check the weather forecast for the city you are headed to, and pack weather appropriate items for everyone in the family.

Also, thanks to our reliance on tech, packing these days isn’t purely fashion-centric. Don’t forget to bring all the necessary chargers. One irreversibly dead tablet, phone, or computer could be a quick path to an unhappy mood.

By Alesia Kazantceva/Unsplash
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