I love reading quotes from guests who went on a Backroads Family Trip. At the risk of sounding corny, they often warm my heart and make me well up with emotion. One such quote came across my desk recently and it struck a chord:
"As my 13-year-old daughter Lucy put it, 'Dad, the trip couldn't have been any better, I didn't want it to end. Rated a 15 out of 10.'"
Is there anything better than hearing your teenager tell you that you made a great decision (words you likely don't often hear)? Better yet is hearing that they had the best vacation ever and it was with you--wow!
Sure, family vacations are all about bonding and fun times together, but if your kids are truly having a blast, there's no better reward. So how do you repeat the magic? How do you plan another "best family trip ever"?
The key is to get everyone involved and make most of the decisions before you go, so the choices you do make on your trip are as simple as what to eat off the menu.
If you can give everyone in the family some say in planning the vacation, then they'll each feel invested in contributing toward a fun trip. But you'll still need to take the lead and call some shots (just don't let the kids know you're doing it!). First make a budget, then call a meeting, send out texts or emails, or simply ask them the following questions:
1. What type of experience do they want on their vacation? Adventure, culture, organized activities, a sense of journey, amusement parks, museums, beach time, water sports, biking, hiking, etc.
2. What interests them most? History, culture, nature, cities, national parks, being active, shopping, food, etc.
3. Where do they want to go? Based on your budget and your own personal preference (you deserve that much!), offer your kids some ideas on a state, region, country or continent to visit.
This should be enough information to come up with some solid ideas on what everyone wants to do and where they want to go and, with any luck, you'll have quite a bit of overlap between everyone's desires.
You can make a final decision in quite a few ways. Once you've narrowed the destinations down to a few possibilities, you can give the kids a final choice. Or, you can choose the destination and let them select some activities. You could also let them decide the destination and you can plan the activities. The important part is letting your kids feel like decision-makers.
Now that everyone in the family is sure to get something they want out of your vacation, it's bound to be your next "best family trip ever."