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Do you believe that fabulous vacations are only for the rich and famous? Think that awesome trips only happen if you jet off to some exotic location on the other side of the world? Well, think again! Great trips can happen anywhere! Here are some tips to help you take amazing vacations on any budget.
I’m not rich (or famous) by any means, but my family has taken some truly memorable vacations during the last 15+ years. I’ve learned over time that it’s not the location that matters as much as the perspective.
Tip #1: Do your research.
The most important tip for taking your family vacations to the next level is to do your research. Even if you do nothing else, this tip alone will drastically improve your vacations. I promise, this is a total game-changer when it comes to traveling. And it won’t cost you a dime!
All you have to do is research your trips before you leave home! That’s it! The more you research your trips, the better they will be.
When my husband and I started traveling together, I never researched trips. I simply booked our flight and hotel, and we took off. And on every trip, we hit a snag that cost us time and/or money. Many times, these bumps in the road led to arguments, which really put a damper on our travels.
Over time, I learned that with a little research before our trips, I could improve them tremendously. Nowadays, I don’t leave home without doing my research.
To take your vacations from good to amazing, do some research. A little bit of research can make all the difference!
Read restaurant reviews. Look at operating hours and admission costs of activities. Search online for discounts. Check out the weather forecast for your trip.
Examine a map and find out how long it will take you to get from place to place. Will you need a rental car or can you use public transportation? Is there an alternative, yet super cool, method of getting from point A to point B that can enhance your experience? Find some off-the-beaten-path places to explore without all the crowds.
Tip #2: Splurge on one thing.
Regardless of your destination, you can make your trip even more amazing by splurging on one thing. This could be upgrading to first class seats on the flight or paying for an ocean view instead of a standard hotel room. If your budget is tight, splurge on something smaller like dessert or a nice meal during your trip.
A splurge will give your trip that special quality that takes it from ordinary to fabulous.
Tip #3: Plan at least one surprise.
Travel is always better when everyone enjoys the trip. To up the fun factor for your family, plan at least one surprise for them.
Make a reservation at a restaurant your husband will love. Buy tickets to see your son’s favorite team play a road game. Arrange for your daughter to get an up close encounter with penguins at a zoo.
My husband and I sometimes surprise our son with weekend getaways. We will tell him we are taking a trip but won’t tell him where we’re going until we arrive at our destination. It’s a lot of fun for all of us.
By planning surprises for your family, you will enhance their experiences and memories of trips. This can help you take amazing vacations, even when staying close to home.
Tip #4: Try something new.
Another easy way to improve your travels is by trying something new. This tip is especially helpful when you are returning to a destination that you have been to before. Trying something new will keep the location fresh and exciting for your family.
Eat at a new restaurant. Stay at a different hotel. Take a tour that you haven’t done before.
Even though we have been to Disney World many times, we always eat at one or more new restaurants on each return trip.
But, trying something new isn’t just for freshening up the same old annual trip. It can elevate your vacations when you are going to a brand new place too.
Stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something you’ve never done before can liven up the feel of your travels. It creates a sense of adventure that can make your trips more interesting.
If your vacations typically involve lying on a beach for a week, try planning an off-road Jeep excursion during your next trip. If you generally travel to cities, take a hiking trip to a national park.
When we are traveling, I get my family out of their comfort zones every chance I get. And almost every time, it ends up being the highlight of the trip.
Amazing vacations happen when we are adventurous enough to step outside of our comfort zone and try something new.
Tip #5: Focus on the positive.
Taking amazing vacations is about perspective, not location. Your trips will never be awesome if you are always focused on the negative aspects of them. By focusing on the positive, you will automatically improve your view of your family’s trip.
So what if you were late to your dinner reservation because your tour took longer than expected? If you and your family had a blast on the tour, then it was worth the extra time!
There are going to be some bumps along the way when you travel. No trip is perfect. When we stop dwelling on those hiccups and start focusing on the good stuff, we realize that spending quality time with our loved ones while traveling is the definition of amazing vacations.
Read our tips to help you stay positive when things go wrong on your trip.
Tip #6: Enjoy your family.
This tip goes hand in hand with Tip #5. Yes, your kids are going to want to spend all their time on a screen. Yes, your husband is going to grumble about the traffic.
Travel can change us, but it doesn’t happen instantly. Instead of nagging your family, relax and let the adventures unfold naturally. Let the fun start with you. Just enjoy your family and the time you get to spend with them. The transformation from ordinary to amazing vacations will happen right before your eyes.
Tip #7: Be brave enough to take the trip of your dreams.
Many times, we don’t have amazing vacations because we don’t believe we can afford it. And sometimes, we don’t take the trips of our dreams because we are scared of the unknown.
I know there was a time when I was too scared to travel internationally, even though I really wanted to. The truth is, that usually, our fears are completely unfounded.
If you set your mind to it, you can usually find a way to take those vacations that live in your head. To have awesome vacations, you have to be brave enough to step out of your comfort zone and reach for the stars.
Amazing vacations are not just for the rich and famous. Unbelievable trips can happen on any budget. Do your research. Splurge a little, plan a surprise, and try something new on your trip. Focus on the positive and enjoy your family. With these simple tips, you can take your family vacations from good to fabulous.
For more ways to improve your vacations, see our practical tips for saving for vacations, how to take a vacation when you can’t afford it, how to travel stress free with your spouse, how to plan an epic vacation, and how to avoid child meltdowns while traveling. And check out 5 ways to take Olympics inspired vacations!
For help staying closer to home, see how to plan the perfect staycation.
Do you have other tips for taking amazing vacations? If so, leave them in the comments.
Enjoy your next amazing vacation! Happy travels!
P.S. Need help finding the best places to go on your family vacations? My Ultimate USA Bucket List for Families will instantly give you 60 of the best vacation destinations for families in the United States! Get it for FREE in the box below and start planning your next trip today! Plus, as a bonus, you will receive my weekly email newsletter full of family trip tips and inspiration!
Trying something new is always something we try when we’re out and about, just to get more learning and adventure in. I believe travel is what you make of it, and you can do anything. Plus, you can budget ahead of time too.
I love the idea of a surprise for every vacation to make it extra special!
I have to say, the idea of one splurge on each vacation (even if it’s a small one) is great! Just like you said, it’s a great way to make it extra special 🙂