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Finding a Dream Destination for your Family Vacation

Updated: Nov 1, 2019

Simple tips for working with your family to select the ideal location for your next epic adventure.

Pinterest photo for discovering the dream destination for your family vacation

We find that the destinations we choose for family vacations aren't as important as the mindset and collective intentions we have about the trip... BUT selecting an amazing destination that tickles the travel fancy of every member of the family makes all that travel-induced growth, bonding and discovery easier to come by.

So journey through the following actions, knowing that although you probably won’t be setting off on your physical adventure for many months, this collaborative process will hopefully provide just as much joy and connection as the actual trip, and will lay the foundation for many life-changing family adventures.

Timing Tip: If you're planning a mega-adventure, shoot for selecting your destination, and diving into early prep work, about twelve months before your estimated departure.

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List Dream Destinations

Planning the vacation of your dreams

Begin the adventure by having everyone in your family make a list of places they’d like to see, and why. Little ones can draw pictures of the types of locations they’re interested in exploring.

Share the Ideas

After the lists are made, have a family meeting where everyone shares their destinations, and reasoning behind each choice.

Tip: If you find it’s too overwhelming for your family to have seemingly unlimited destinations to choose from, add simplicity to the process by considering the personalities and travel preferences of your family members, then coming up with a list of 5 to 10 destinations you can all choose from.

Define Your Family Travel Values

Camping by a lake

As part of your initial family travel talk, list your family travel values. For example, list out the reasons your family members want to travel. What does each person hope to gain from travel? What does the family system hope to gain? This brainstorming may lead to the realization that your family wants to engage in volunteer-focused travel, immerse themselves in nature, dive into physical challenges, say yes to total rest and rejuvenation on a beach, or go somewhere that’s likely to ignite creativity.

With your family travel values at the forefront of your mind, reexamine your destination options, discussing which locations align with your values.

Research Potential Destinations

woman with a globe researching destinations for her next trip

Once you’ve whittled down your destination options to two or three locations, assign each family member (those old enough to use Google) a destination to research.

After you’ve collected information about the culture, food, prime sights, activities and more for each destination, gather for another meeting. During this discussion, have family members present their destinations, and why they think they’re in sync with your family travel values. Finally, work together to settle on the site of your next family adventure.

Tip: If someone is disappointed their destination-of-choice wasn’t selected, remind them that you’ll keep your list of ideal destinations and use it to inform other trips.

Celebrate the decision!

Family jumping on sand dunes while exploring a new location

When the destination has been set, celebrate this big step by going out to a restaurant that serves dishes from your location of choice, watch a movie about (or based in) that area, have a dance party with music from that culture, or engage in any other activity that amps up your excitement for the adventure.

Essential Tip: After you select your destination, determine if the location will require passport renewals, an international driver's license, visas, vaccinations, or other documentation requirements. Know that many international destinations require your passport be valid for at least 6 months after your return flight.

For example, if you're returning from your trip June 1st, your passport needs to be valid until at least December 2nd. We've heard numerous travel horror stories about families not being allowed on an airplane because their passports didn't meet this requirement. In addition, be sure your driver's license won't expire before your trip is over - a mega-hassle we've personally experienced.

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