Getting your kids involved in planning a trip is probably one of the best ways to keep their excitement alive, while also teaching them a little bit about what it really means to put effort in to planning a trip. If they have a say in some of the activities and places you visit not only will they be more excited about the trip itself, but hopefully more invested as a whole.
Below are some great ideas for how to start this process with your family and keep them planning and excited for upcoming vacations even in the middle of the school year.
The Penny Challenge: The point of this saving technique is to start small, ideal with younger children for whom $1 seems like a lot of money. Over the course of a year, you end up saving $667 by putting one more cent in a jar per day. So on the first day, you put one penny in, the second day two pennies, the third day three, and so on until the end of the year when the most you’ll put in the jar is $3.65. When you count it all up, though, you will have saved almost $700, which you can then put towards your vacation! Check out this free printable that you can use to check off each day’s progress.
VIP For The Day: This is a great way to get your kids researching and excited, while feeling like they really have a say in the vacation. For this, each of your each family member gets to be the VIP (Very Important Planner) for one day of the trip and plans all family activities for that day. This is a great way to build compromise fairly between different interests. You can provide sites, ideas, and options, but everyone will be excited for their special day. For more inspiration, use this list of 7 fun ways to involve your kids in vacation planning from one of our favorite family travel blogs, Kids Are A Trip.
The Gift of Family Travel: Quite literally give your children the gift of family travel at birthdays and holidays by making one of their big birthday or holiday presents related to family travel instead of a physical present. You can ask them if there’s a big activity, like horseback riding, jet skiing, or zip lining that they want to do on your next trip. Print out a picture or make a “coupon” for that activity and give it to them as a gift. This way, kids will really value those experiences rather than taking them for granted and they’ll understand the value better as a gift instead of a given. Check out this article from Travel Mammas for some tips on how to give the gift of family travel.
Match Their Efforts: Travel is expensive and it can feel discouraging when kids are trying to save up for something that might seem unattainable, prompting them to give up before they’ve even had a chance to really start. One way you can help with this is to offer to match their saved amount at the end of the year and contribute an equal amount of money to what they were able to save over the course of the year, then designate this money to your next vacation. This way, the more money they save the more they get at the end, and their efforts are doubled. Not sure how they’ll start saving? Use this cute chore chart if you’re willing to pay your kids to do chores, or this list of 11 ways kids can make money.
Read!: One of the best ways to swap your daily life for far away adventures is through books. Instilling a love for books in your little ones is important on so many levels, but it can also fuel their wanderlust. Introducing tales of excitement and adventure that take place in unfamiliar countries or cities is guaranteed to keep them inspired to travel even when there are months to go until your next trip. Send your kids to the local library or bookstore armed with our Family Bookpack, a handpicked list of our favorite travel-related children’s books. From toddlers to teens we’ve got you covered, and we’ve even categorized them by region so you can tailor each read to your upcoming travel destinations.
For more inspiration….
The Wall Street Journal weighs in on this topic with their article, Dare to Let the Children Plan Your Vacation, recounting the experiences of a family who has really benefited from allowing their kids to take some of the responsibility when it comes to vacation planning.