DETOUR’s top travel tips for planning your family vacation this summer

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  • Published on June 9, 2022
  • Last Updated March 10, 2023
  • In Tips

DETOUR's editor in chief, Dawn Booker, knows vacations; they've been her business for years. She shares some of her best advice to help you plan yours.

Planning a Family Vacation

Planning a family vacation in the U.S. or abroad can be exciting – and at the same time a little nerve-racking, especially if you are going somewhere completely new with no idea what to expect when you get there. At Pack Light Global Itineraries, we help families plan memorable and fun vacations. As many families are planning more adventurous vacations again after a few years of COVID-19 prompted canceled vacations, here are a few tips to help you plan a vacation your whole family will love and enjoy.

Research is the Key to Getting the Best Out of Travel

While checking out the photo gallery on the hotel website and imagining yourself chilling on the beach with a cocktail, you should always spend some research time understanding the environment in which you will be traveling. The research component of trip planning has become THE most essential step in preparing to hit the road again. I stretch out my destination research over several weeks and sometimes even months. Learning all that I can about a new locale allows me to feel more prepared and to confidently set off for a new place with an itinerary that includes both “must-see” tourist spots as well as cultural and historical sites that I discover through my research. I am always amazed by how much time and money I end up saving by conducting thorough research.

Check in with Every Member of Your Family

Although it’s truly hard to plan a vacation that pleases everyone in the family, checking in with everyone in your family gets you closer to the mark. Ask everyone in your family what they really want to do or see and if there are sites or experiences that they truly have no interest in. Also, ask everyone how they want to “feel” on vacation. These simple questions can help you create an itinerary that respects and considers your family’s idea of a perfect vacation.

Create a Themed Daily Itinerary

If you are the designated vacation planner for the family you will be juggling a lot, to the point that even the act of thinking about how to make all things work becomes a feat. However, having a family trip itinerary makes every family trip organized and memorable. Your itinerary can be themed in whichever way works for your family. You can organize days that focus on each individual family member, types of activities or specific locations. A daily themed itinerary allows you to make the most of your time and the whole family knows what to expect.

Avoid Over-Planning: Prioritize Rest

If you are visiting a large city with many interesting sights, consider scheduling downtime every day. If your days are too full and jam-packed, you may end up missing out or rushing through an experience that matters greatly to your family. Make the most of your time by scheduling and paying for activities and tours ahead of time. When possible, choose “skip the line” options and plan to visit popular attractions during weekdays.

As you add chosen activities to your itinerary, try to plan “must-do” activities for each family member early in the day. This way, when your crew begins to fizzle out at the end of the day, you can simply find a way to chill and regroup for the next day.

Whether you are visiting a beach in Florida, flying overseas to Paris or taking a safari in South Africa, there are many great ways to research and plan a trip itinerary that helps your family have a fun-filled vacation and discover what is amazing about your travel destination.

This story was created by Detour, a journalism brand focused on the best stories in Black travel, in partnership with McClatchy’s The Charlotte Observer and Miami Herald. Detour’s approach to travel and storytelling seeks to tell previously under-reported or ignored narratives by shifting away from the customary routes framed in Eurocentrism. The detour team is made up of an A-list of award-winning journalists, writers, historians, photographers, illustrators and filmmakers.