A father and two sons hiking through the woods A father and two sons hiking through the woods

Travel Planning Tips By Children's Age

Dr. Jen Hartstein

Travel tips from Dr. Jen Hartstein

Travel planning doesn't need to be limited to family members of a certain age. There are ways to include your family whether they're young — or young at heart!

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Pre-Schoolers and Younger

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Get Inspired
Before the trip even begins, read books or show movies about different places and cultures to the kids going on the trip. This gives children a basic understanding of how diverse the world is and how through travel, you're able to see and experience everything that other places and cultures have to offer.

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Count it Down
Create a countdown calendar and have the child going on the trip cross off each day leading up to the trip. This will give them a better understanding of when the trip is happening and spark excitement!

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School-Age Children

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Try Out a New Cuisine
Once the destination has been picked, choose a night that your family can cook a recipe that is authentic to where you're headed. We know some kids can be picky eaters, so this provides a great opportunity for them to try a new cuisine beforehand.

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Collaborate, then Assign
Collaborate in choosing a destination. Then assign each child a vacation day to plan. Allow them to choose where to go, what to do, and where to eat. This gives them a sense of freedom, knowing they were able to help make your trip memorable. If the children traveling with you are on the younger side, set some guardrails and help with the research as you choose some hot spots together.

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Hold a Packing Party
Sit down with the kids going on the trip and make a list of what they'll need (and, let's be honest, want) to pack. Divide the list into categories that will help them organize their thoughts, and then have them pack by themselves. By having them take the reins a little, you are giving kids some freedom and responsibility.


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Planning Ownership
So, you've picked a destination! Now, allow the teenagers to be part of the planning process by making plans. Whether it's a dinner reservation or buying tickets to a show, giving your teen ownership provides them a first glance into the magical world of planning.

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Setting the Budget
Consider having the teen who is traveling with you manage the trip budget. They can use a travel budget app or worksheet to ensure everything stays on track. If you don't feel comfortable sharing a budget with your family, show them potential examples so they can gauge the spending level you're envisioning or work to set parameters.

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Give Everyone Time to Share
Listen to your teen, interruption-free when they share ideas; even if they're unrealistic or out of budget. Allow them time to voice why they think their ideas would be a good option, so they don't feel like their opinion doesn't matter.

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Imagine Your Plans Together

Need some inspiration as you plan your next family vacation? Download the resources below for some fun-filled activities that will get everyone excited about your upcoming trip.

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