As the world starts to normalize after more than two years of the COVID pandemic, people are itching to get out and see the world again, and who can blame them! Recent events have the world reeling, and more and more people are feeling the urge to take a break, get away, and rediscover family and vacation time.
But without a good way to focus, you can easily get lost in the maze of available options. You need to balance the wishes of your family with the realities of your budget and ensure you have both the time and the resources for everything you need. It may sound daunting, but the right tools can make all the difference, allowing you to plan a family vacation without getting swamped by the details. The more effectively you plan, the smoother your vacation itself will go, and the more you can relax and take advantage of the bonding opportunities it presents.
Plan every detail
“Spontaneous” travel can sound like a fun option in the abstract, but it can often end up causing big problems, especially for a family or a group of more than one or two. Proper planning—covering dates, itinerary, anticipated costs, and everything in between—can prevent major headaches once your trip begins, and ensures that you stay on budget and don’t miss a thing on your itinerary.
Start by talking to your family about the things they’d like to do on the trip. Create a list of places and events, then look for the ones that are convenient, and importantly, appealing to everyone. Make sure everyone has at least one activity they’re looking forward to, and work towards a balance of activities that is inclusive to everyone’s wishes.
Once you have a general itinerary locked, look for dates that work for everyone, and be prepared to make adjustments if activities are seasonal or won’t be offered during the dates of your vacation. Don’t try to cram too much into any one day. Include travel time to and from destinations and downtime as needed to keep family members from becoming overwhelmed.
Power tip: The Travel Itinerary template in Evernote can help you lay out everything in one centralized place. In addition to keeping your stress levels in check, it lets you keep track of destinations, activities, and costs, as well as timetables and back-ups in the event your plans change.
Keep your eyes peeled
Planning a family vacation is one thing—paying for it is another. The more bargains you can find, the more you can include additional activities in your budget and expand the scope of your vacation. Bargain hunting can help you find good deals on things like travel and accommodations, vital to any family trip, which are often the most expensive aspects. A few good deals can make the difference between a reasonably limited vacation and something much more expansive.
Power tip: Use Web Clipper to save and store vacation deals you find online. That includes articles, website addresses, and screen captures, all of which can be added to a “vacation” notebook or tagged according to their theme for referencing at a later stage.
Decide budget limits
Few things can be more debilitating when you plan a family vacation than anxieties about the budget. That’s one of the reasons why planning is so important: it prevents your vacation from costing more than you had in mind. The stress saved—to say nothing of the added costs and potential debt—will help you enjoy and relax on your vacation all the more.
That means setting strict limits on spending and sticking to them. It might entail cuts to one aspect of the budget in order to meet the needs of another, as well as including a little “cushion” for emergencies and unexpected expenses. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, tabulate your budget carefully—including costs for hotels, meals, travel expenses, tickets to local attractions, among other things. Make sure every cost is accounted for, and be prepared to scale back your plans if necessary to stay within budget.
The most obvious way of using Evernote to plan a vacation is to create a notebook in advance of the trip. You will want to include notes with flight and hotel information. But if you are traveling with kids you might want to include things that will keep youngsters occupied. I’d suggest a note with ideas for games for kids, links to suitable jokes, and another note with places to see and things to do with youngsters. Of course, kids will seek out movies and YouTube, but if you plan ahead you might be able to suggest some old-fashioned analog fun.—Evernote Expert Dave Edwards
Have a checklist—before and after
One of the best ways to stick to a vacation budget is with a checklist of everything you need, plus their cost. This can include everything from essentials—transport, accommodation, medication, documentation—to luxuries such as drinks by the pool or money for souvenirs. Nothing can ruin a budget (and a vacation) more than something you overlooked in the planning stages and must account for on the ground in the middle of your getaway. The more comprehensive the checklist, the better you’ll be able to keep within your family vacation budget.
Power tip: Home in Evernote makes for a terrific all-in-one tool to manage your whole vacation. With it, you can view every aspect of your vacation checklist on a regular basis to check up on items like outstanding tasks, travel guides, itineraries, and more—as well as screen captures and bookmarks for vital documents like plane tickets and hotel reservations.
A well-planned vacation is a fun vacation
You can’t have fun unless you relax, and the more you plan a family vacation in advance, the easier that will be. With Evernote, you can keep track of every little detail about your vacation and plan accordingly. Just don’t forget the sunscreen!