While a spontaneous road trip is a lot of fun, most vacations require a bit of planning. In fact, many desirable destinations are so popular that you need to make your reservations a year in advance. Therefore, it is a good idea to sit down once a year and talk about your plans for the upcoming year.
There is no right or wrong time to plan your vacations, but there are a few “natural” windows. One is at the turn of the calendar year, and the other is at the end of the summer. Both of these are times when planning tends to be top of mind.
If you have a spouse or partner, begin with just the two of you. Map out what you generally have in mind. Remember to consider the school calendar, work commitments, holidays, family obligations, etc. Next, loop in older children, parents, grandparents, or anyone else who needs to be involved in the planning.
Finally, make a list of the tasks that need to be accomplished to secure the vacation, such as “research venues,” “make reservations,” “purchase tickets,” “put down a deposit,” and the like. Decide who will be responsible for which task, and schedule a follow-up meeting to add in a bit of accountability.
Vacations are important for bonding, refreshment, and perspective, so make this an annual priority. Once the big decisions are made, you will feel less stressed as the year unfolds.
Do you map out your vacations a year in advance?
23 thoughts on ““Selfie-Discipline” #27 – Plan Your Vacation Schedule”
We actually do plan our vacations ahead each year as my husband needs to put in for his vacation time at the beginning of each year. Still, I agree this is important to do and great bonding time indeed 😉
Janine Huldie recently posted…5 Absolutely FREE Things to Do at Walt Disney World with Kids
It is a great bonding time, Janine. I love this comment! It gets you and your family together in the process of happy anticipation:)
We tend to be a bit relaxed about the when of our vacation planning, but we DO plan. It is helpful to have the initial discussion about the where and when. From there my husband and I usually divide up the action items. Although more often I am the one that handles the basic details, research, and reservations. But we check-in together to discuss before any final decisions are made. I have to admit that just reading your post made me excited to think about vacations. We have one coming up soon. We’re going to Costa Rica. It’s a birthday gift from our daughters. They are planning it, so our job will only be to pack. We usually take a mini trip in the spring or summer for our anniversary. It’s too early to start planning that trip. It’s always one of my favorite times of the year- going away just the two of us.
Linda Samuels recently posted…How to Choose Words That Will Positively Affect Your Fresh Start
Your daughters gave you a trip to Costa Rica? That is just totally terrific! I love that all you have to do is pack – such a loving gift. I think shared anticipation can be part of the fun, and as Janine commented, a true chance to bond. Wow, I hope you have a wonderful, relaxing, refreshing and exciting trip!
This is an easy one for me. I like to plan what beach (or other relaxing place) I’m going to visit in the middle of winter. I like dreaming of warm sunshine when it’s cold outside. Yesterday I talked to my best friend and we began planning for our Fall get-away and I already have plans to visit a beach this summer!
I’m with you, Janet. I’m always dreaming of a beach vacation in the winter. Our family was better about this when our children were little because we had to plan around the school breaks. However, we are trying to get back into the habit and enjoy the process again. A fall girls trip sounds like a lot of fun to me:)
I’m with Janet! I love to travel to beaches and generally do so in the winter so I can get a sunshine boost. I typically will plan this winter get away in the summer so that I know I have something to look forward to once winter sets in. Even better if I can coordinate with my son and his family!
Diane Quintana recently posted…Fail to Plan, Plan to Fail
Maybe we need to convince NAPO to do a winter “conference on the beach.” I bet it would be well attended!
Since you asked, in October we booked a cottage for a week next summer! Normally we wouldn’t do it that far in advance, but my husband happened to notice that the week we wanted was already booked, so we figured we’d better grab a different week while we still could!
I feel like the need to book early seems to be growing each year. Sometimes we can get a good deal at the last minute, but for many popular destinations, it is book early or miss your chance. A cottage vacation in October sounds like a dream – a great trip to anticipate over the ensuing months!
Great tips, Seana! In my family, once the school year calendar is available, I add it to our shared family calendar. We then all look at work schedules and other commitments before choosing the dates when we’ll take a vacation. From there, we all discuss where we’d like to go as a family.
Nancy Haworth recently posted…My Favorite Laundry Room Organizing Products
Yes, for so many families, the school calendar is the “starting point.” Everyone has some externally-imposed restrictions on vacation time, so it is wise to get those on the calendar first, and then start to dream around them!
I’m a fan of deciding on vacation six months ahead of time. But, now, with the kids in college, we have to adjust how far in advance, we can schedule these family vacations. It’s a little harder with all the different schedules, but I hope to have an idea in the coming months. Fingers-crossed.
Sabrina Quairoli recently posted…Last Minute Clutter Free Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas
We’ve had some struggles trying to plan with adult children too, Sabrina. The only time we have been able to “count on” all having time off is the week between Christmas and New Years. Summers have been up in the air for one girl or another for many years now. For the two of us, we need to decide if we want to try and visit any particularly popular places where booking early is necessary.
Usually we don’t. We’re terribly last minute and chaotic sometimes. That said, this year there are four big birthday milestones within our two families so there will be travel and budget stuff. Plus I want to go away 2-3 times in the summer. So today I actually said to Cassidy, “Let’s sign the kids up for at least half the summer camps right NOW (before they sell out) and then know what weeks we have for travel!”
I’m growing up!
If you’re lucky, you will get an “early bird” rate for the camps as well. We’ve had to spend more and more time on planning and communication as our children have grown into adults. It gets complicated… happy birthday to all those celebrating “big” numbers in 2020!
This is a good reminder to think about what trips or weekend getaways we can do this year. It’s good to plan ahead because I know that last year we missed a fun weekend event because other things got in the way. Ugh!! I can be a bit of a last minute planner. Good reminder and something to work on.
Kim recently posted…Make S.P.A.C.E. For You
Sometimes we miss out on fun experiences if we wait too long. Not every trip needs advance planning, but even holding the time in the calendar increases the odds of following through on our good intentions!
I’m a singleton, but generally do a girls’ getaway with a friend every year or two. Luckily, that means I don’t have to take many other people’s commitments into account, but almost everyone else does. You isolated the key, essential considerations for getting a trip into shape, Seana! Great job!
Julie Bestry recently posted…Organize for an Accident: Don’t Crash Your Car Insurance Paperwork
Coordinating schedules is always the hardest part, regardless of who is involved. A couple of people mentioned “girls getaways” in response to this post, so I definitely think these trips are important. So fun!
This is an easy one for me. That’s because twice a year, no matter what, except if my first grandchild is being born, I travel to Los Angeles to visit friends and family. I always head west around President’s weekend and then again in July or August. It’s a no brainer for me and I just love being there!
How nice to have that rhythm to your vacation schedule. Sounds like wonderful times for sure!
Planning is so important before going on a big trip! Whenever I go skiing I always try to plan ahead, have everything ready and organized for when I leave. Loved the idea of giving everyone a responsibility so in the end the process is much easier. Thanks for the advice!
Amir recently posted…Best Wireless Headphones for Skiing: 3 Top Picks For Enjoying Music on The Mountain