The holidays are the perfect time to start planning a family vacation. Friends and loved ones are gathered together, winter weather is setting in, and in a few months a sun-filled getaway will be exactly what everyone needs to feel recharged and reconnected. To help us plan a trip that the whole family will enjoy, we reached out to Julia Douglas of Jetset World Travel for advice; here are her recommendations:
- Never underestimate experience. Lean on someone who’s “been there and done that” before leading little ones down a road less traveled. A travel specialist who knows the destination, resort, rooms, amenities, and even flight routes will save you time, money, and frustration.
- It does not pay to wait. While you may get clearance pricing on hotels within a week of travel, the premium you pay for airfare and the limited availability you encounter in other areas will have you paying a pretty penny in the end. For peak travel periods (Christmas, New Years, and spring break), we recommend booking six months in advance or more to ensure you get the best of the best.
- A few of the basic criteria I take into account based on kids’ ages are whether kids eat for free at a resort, if there is complimentary kids’ programming, and if there are connecting room options. These factors can quickly rule out a resort for families.
- Think about how property logistics will affect your stay. While properties built in to bluffs or positioned atop peninsulas offer beautiful panoramas, they aren’t the most family-friendly to navigate. Height equals hills, and stairs, and meandering paths mean extra work going up and down. If you travel with a sizable entourage, you’ll spend considerable time moving between beach and bungalow, eroding time spent relaxing. Also, all beaches are not equal. Geology plays an important role in the quality—and color— of sand, the surf, the access, and more.
- Take the distance from the airport to the hotel into consideration. A tolerable distance depends on how long you’ve been en route, the children’s ages, and the road conditions and vehicle used. If you’re planning on renting a car, I recommend arranging to have it delivered to the hotel on day two and utilizing a professional driver to get safely and efficiently to the hotel upon arrival. Personally managing beaucoup bags, Hertz buses, and baleful children is a tragic way to start a vacation!
Expert tip from Julia Douglas of Jetset World Travel in Aspen, CO.