Picking the right travel resort for the whole family
-Kristen J. Gough
It’s never too early to plan for your next vacation, and whether you’re thinking of a fall getaway or a springtime retreat, these tips will help make your future family vacations fun for everyone. Writer Kristen J. Gough came up with this terrific tip list after her family took a recent trip to the Crystal Mountain Resort near the shores of Lake Michigan:
We’ve all had those family vacations that feel more like work than fun: Either the kids don’t have enough to do or they have too much to do, leaving you exhausted from toting them from one thing to another. After several failed attempts at the perfect vacation, our family discovered a few hints for making the trip fun for everyone.
Stay more than one night. Who likes unpacking? I don’t. The stress of knowing you have to pack up the next day often kills any vacation fun for me.
Avoid the weekend. It’s not easy to make everyone’s work/school/life schedules align to vacation during the week, but if you can go on weekdays, you’ll not only avoid the crowds, but you can also save some cash.
Opt for the bigger room. So you found an amazing deal on the room with two double beds and you figure all three of your kids can cram into one bed at night. Good luck sleeping. I’ve found part of the fun of a vacation is kicking back and watching TV together in the hotel room. Resorts often have a variety of rooms to choose from – single rooms, suites, condos. See if you can negotiate for a bigger room at a better price if you stay for a few nights instead of just one or two.
Look for kid-friendly sites nearby. Our resort lay within a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. During the day, we took scenic drives through the park, went to the beach and took a try at climbing a huge sand dune (yeah, I only made it halfway, but the hike made for great pictures). Granted, most resorts are near area attractions, but they’re not always right for your kids. Mine love beaches and historical sites. But if yours beckon for roller coasters and Ferris wheels, check out places close to amusement parks.
Find resorts with their own attractions. Resorts are their own destinations, or at least they can be. To make your stay worth the time and price, look for resorts with enjoyable activities on the property – and I’m not talking about just a pool.
Do your homework – with your kids. Help your kids get excited about your trip by involving them in the vacation plans. Sure, they won’t be making the reservations, but check out sites online together and make sure you know what your resort offers so that you don’t miss anything.
Order room service! Vacations should involve a little indulgence beyond just having maid service. At least one night, order a special snack or a decadent dessert.
For our family, travel is all about reconnecting with one another away from all of the craziness of work, school assignments, laundry, soccer practices and such. Choosing a resort that helps us have fun together, not just get away, makes for our ideal vacation. What’s yours?
Kristen J. Gough writes about a variety of family and parenting topics – that is, when she’s not chasing around her own three children.