How to Plan a Memorable Family Vacation in 2023: Expert Advice from Travel Advisors

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Key Takeaways

  • Travel advisors stress early planning, flexibility, realistic scheduling, downtime, and engaging children for successful family vacations in 2023.
  • Start planning and booking early due to high travel demand, emphasizing flexibility amidst uncertainties in travel conditions.
  • Prioritize fewer activities, downtime, and cultural immersion for a well-balanced and enjoyable trip.
  • Explore road trip adventures for flexibility, financial benefits, and an off-the-beaten-path experience.
  • Double-check passport validity, avoid overpacking, and involve children in planning for a smoother travel experience.

Travel advisors share top tips for planning family holidays in 2023, emphasizing flexibility, early booking, realistic scheduling, and engaging kids.

Family Vacations 2023: Mastering the Planning Process

A recent story by TravelPulse noted that organizing a family vacation can seem daunting, whether a lengthy international journey, an all-inclusive resort holiday, or a cruise. Despite the abundance of travel advice on social media and YouTube, reliable and impartial guidance must be available. Here is where the expertise of travel agents and advisors becomes invaluable.

Travel agents provide custom advice based on the type of family trip you envision. They guide you through potential travel hiccups, provide packing tips, and assist in crafting a suitable itinerary based on your travel style. These services are typically free, as agents earn revenue from travel bookings commissions.

Per the TravelPulse, here are insights from eight American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA) members for a memorable family getaway in 2023.

Start Early and Embrace Flexibility

In the report, Belle Vie Travel’s Tonya Waite strongly encourages families to initiate planning and booking for accommodations, flights, and attractions well in advance. It guarantees availability and better pricing. Waite also stresses the importance of flexibility, especially in the current unpredictable state of air travel.

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According to Deloitte’s 2023 Travel Industry Outlook, travel demand will remain high as consumers seek to compensate for lost time and experiences. However, public health uncertainty, labor shortages, and climate change challenges may pose disruptions and delays. Therefore, Waite advises travelers to be prepared for changes and have backup plans.

Don’t Overdo the Planning

Ilisa Oman of One World Family Travel, LLC advises against cramming your vacation schedule. There is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” She recommends scheduling fewer activities and leaving room for spontaneity, leading to fun and memorable experiences with less pressure and stress.

Oman suggests in the report prioritizing quality over quantity when choosing destinations and attractions. She also recommends researching the local culture and customs of the places you visit to enrich your understanding and appreciation.

Incorporate Downtime

Chuck Lionberger of MEI-Travel (IC affiliation) underscores the importance of downtime, especially when traveling with young children. He suggests planning the morning activity and then retreating to the hotel by late morning or early afternoon. This period allows everyone to relax, nap, or engage in leisurely activities before heading out later in the day.

Lionberger says that downtime can also help avoid burnout and fatigue that can ruin a vacation. He adds that some hotels offer amenities and services that cater to families, such as kids’ clubs, pools, playgrounds, and babysitting.

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Abandon Hopes for Last-Minute Deals

Lesley Egbert of Live Longitude Travel points out that last-minute deals are largely obsolete, particularly with travel demand at its peak. She advises planning trips in 9-12 months, especially for high-demand destinations like Japan and Africa.

Egbert says booking early can also help secure better rates and availability for flights, hotels, car rentals, tours, and cruises. She also recommends working with a travel agent who can monitor price changes and offer flexible cancellation policies.

Opt for a Road Trip Adventure

Senora Kelly of Paradise Travel Services proposes considering a road trip for its financial advantages and added fun. She suggests packing a cooler with refreshments and studying the route to point out places of interest.

Kelly says road trips offer more freedom and flexibility than flying or cruising. They can also allow families to explore off-the-beaten-path destinations and enjoy scenic views.

Double-Check Passport Validity

Shelley Morse of Horizon Vacations reminds parents to verify their children’s passport expiration dates before planning international trips. Children’s passports have a five-year validity compared to adults’ 10-year validity. Morse also mentions a six-month validity requirement from the travel return date for many destinations.

Morse says renewing passports can take several weeks or months, depending on the demand and processing time. She also advises checking the visa requirements and entry restrictions for each country you visit.

Don’t Overpack

Linda Toth-Winterkorn of The Trip Goddess advises in the report against overpacking. She suggests reducing luggage and avoiding checked bags, saving on baggage fees and waiting time at the airport.

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Toth-Winterkorn says that packing light can also make traveling easier and more comfortable. She recommends packing cubes or compression bags to organize your belongings and create more space. She also suggests checking the weather forecast and packing versatile and layerable clothing.

Engage Your Children in Planning

Angie Brandt of Both Worlds Travel emphasizes the benefits of involving children in the trip-planning process. She recommends researching popular local food or exciting museum exhibits at your destination. This involvement boosts their excitement and prepares them for the journey.

Brandt says engaging children in planning can help them learn new skills and gain confidence. She suggests giving them a budget and letting them choose some activities or souvenirs. She also advises creating a travel journal or scrapbook to document their experiences.

What We Think

The tips from travel advisors offer a comprehensive guide for families planning 2023 vacations, emphasizing foresight, adaptability, and immersive experiences.

Early planning and embracing flexibility mitigate potential disruptions, allowing families to focus on quality experiences rather than a packed schedule. Road trips provide a flexible and enriching alternative, while careful passport checks and strategic packing streamline travel logistics.

Engaging children in planning fosters excitement and learning. These insights promise well-rounded, memorable family holidays.

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