Planning a Vacation? Let the Kids Help.

Melissa Kossler Dutton

Complaints about the museum your family is visiting. Whining about standing in line for an amusement park ride. Grumbling about a road trip dinner stop.

Sound familiar? As parents, we know that traveling with children does not always make for a relaxing vacation. However, you can increase the likelihood that children will behave and enjoy themselves by enlisting them in the planning.

Once you’ve chosen a destination—or, better yet, when you’ve narrowed it to a couple—ask the kids for their input. Of course, you want them to have informed opinions, so find fun ways to engage them in discussing the family’s travel plans. Try checking out library books about the place you intend to visit, watch a movie set in the region or read travel articles about it. Go online to the local visitors’ bureau and sign up to receive free materials and emails about the area.

The Discover Corps, a travel company that organizes family trips with a purpose, suggests researching attractions related to your children’s interests. For example, find out if there’s a planetarium for your space-obsessed daughter or a behind-the-scenes zoo tour for your budding veterinarian. 

Once you’re familiar with the sights and attractions at your chosen destination, create a list of what appeals to your family. Narrow the options with a vote or allow each person to plan a day, depending on your timing and budget.

If the plans call for driving, be sure to check out road trip tips in this Columbus Parent article