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How to Include Family in Planning from Start to Finish

Dr. Jen Hartstein

Travel tips from Dr. Jen Hartstein

There are many ways to include your family in the travel planning process — whether it's before, during or after the trip. Here's a list of ways your family can come together, learn, bond and prepare for all phases of your trip.

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Trip Wish List

Create a family wish list or collage for the upcoming getaway! Use inspirational photos of the location, activities and food to make the process more creative.

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Take a Vote

Have each family member write down five destinations, activities or landmarks they want to visit. Feel free to set parameters, depending on your budget and length of the trip. You can narrow the choices down and then have a family vote!

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Learn Together

Once the trip is planned, set aside quality time to research the destination, its history and culture. Taking time to learn about the destination together will build excitement, keep you and your family informed and educate everyone on what the world can offer us when we venture outside of our comfort zone.

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The Pre-Trip Jitters Chat

Discuss overall feelings about the trip: What is everyone excited or nervous about? This can help ease and diffuse anything that may pop up during the vacation.

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Pack Together

Invite your family members to participate in packing for the trip. They can oversee choosing, organizing or folding clothes into a suitcase or manage the packing checklist.

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Review the Itinerary

Talk through the trip itinerary together as a family to help build excitement.

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Plan a Day

Depending on the age of the children traveling, let them take charge in planning one full day for the family. Provide them with a budget and let them run with it.

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Daily Check-Ins

Keep a checklist of activities you want to do each day and cross it off once it's done for a fun sense of accomplishment — and to keep track of memories.

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Daily Debriefs

Discuss the day's activities each morning, laying out where you're going, what you're doing, and what you'll need. This can help keep the family organized and keep everyone excited for the day ahead.

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Daily Reflections

During dinner, discuss the highs and lows of the day. Talk through what made the day so fun, or what could be changed. This can also be a good time to switch things up that aren't working for the family.

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Hold a Post-Trip Talk

Have the family debrief to share your favorite parts of the trip, or what the family could have done differently. Reflect on your favorite and not-so favorite days to learn about what you loved and what could have gone better.

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Make a Memory Book

Encourage everyone to pull pictures from the trip to create a memory book. Take inspiration from the wish list or collage your family made and put together a book of memories that your family will be able to cherish forever.

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Continue to Learn

Take what you've learned from the trip and extend it into your every day, post-vacation life. It can be a piece of culture, the native language (if applicable) or anything from your travels!

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