Planning spring break travel is no small feat — especially for families.
If you’re aching for a beach vacation, you need to decide if you want to stray off the beaten path or endure potentially drunk and unruly college kids. If you’re dreaming of a mountain getaway, you may encounter late winter weather problems.
Visiting a big city when everyone is out of school? Well, who knows what kind of issues you’ll encounter there. And no matter what type of trip you book, you will probably run into decreased availability and higher prices.
Even then, there’s no guarantee your family will even like it. So, what’s a mom or dad to do? Consider this list of spring break do’s and don’ts to lessen the chances of a spring break disappointment.
SPRING BREAK DO’S
DO consider multiple destinations for the best price: If your spring break travel plans have a budget attached, you’ll want to be as flexible as you can be. Yes, this includes considering multiple destinations or even alternate destinations close to where you want to be.
Depending on your travel dates and where you hope to go, the price difference could be huge.
DO pick a trip your entire family will love: The best way to keep everyone happy with your vacation choice is to strive to find an option that appeals to everyone. This could mean choosing a somewhat neutral trip — like a beach vacation or a trip to your favorite resort.
Perhaps one kid loves swimming and other loves playing tennis. By choosing a trip that offers both, you can get everyone on board.
DO let everyone pick an activity: No matter where you travel, it’s smart to let everyone — including kids — pick at least one activity for the group. This helps everyone in the family feel some ownership over the trip and how it turns out.
It also gives everyone the chance to share their version of fun. One kid might choose miniature golf, and another could choose a sunset cruise. Either way, you’ll all try something new and experience it together.
DO consider a cruise or all-inclusive trip: All families should at least consider an all-inclusive trip for spring break. By choosing a travel option that includes meals and entertainment, you can save money and make travel budgeting easier.
All-inclusive resorts offer a good option for families since they include meals, drinks (and alcohol), and most entertainment options in your nightly rate. Cruises are a good option, too. They don’t always include alcohol, but they do include your cabin fare, food and most entertainment options in your cruise fare.
Some cruise lines, like MSC cruises, even let kids under 12 cruise for free.
SPRING BREAK DON’TS
DON’T return to a place that was just “OK”: If you’ve had some so-so spring break trips in the past, the last thing you need is a repeat. That’s right; trying something new can break the monotony and possibly help you have a better trip.
So, make sure to explore new destinations, resort areas and even hotels before you settle. Who knows, you might just find a new family vacation spot that everyone loves.
DON’T book without shopping around: No matter what you do, you should plan on checking at least three to five travel websites before you book any trip.
Not only do prices vary on various travel sites, but you could earn special benefits, too. Websites like CheapCaribbean.com, Expedia.com and Priceline.com are great for shopping spring break packages that include both airfare and your hotel.
You should always check with the vendor (airline or hotel) to see if you can get a better deal (or special perks like free breakfast) by booking directly.
DON’T forget about vacation condos and AirBNB: Sharing a single hotel room with kids can feel a lot less like vacation and a lot like hell. The best way to get yourself more room is to book a vacation condo instead.
With a vacation condo, you’ll have a full kitchen to make meals, plus a living room to spread out in. Better yet, you might get a place big enough for all of you to have your own room. To find deals on vacation condos in your favorite Spring break spot, shop around on VRBO.com or AirBNB.com.
DON’T try to pack too much in: The best vacations are the ones where everyone has some time to relax. If your itinerary is filled from dusk ‘til dawn, your family might resent you.
Make sure to leave some time for everyone to enjoy their version of vacation — whether that includes a day to read on the beach or free mornings most days of your trip. If you’re really daring, you can plan nothing and let the trip unfold one day at a time.