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Essential Tips for Planning Your Ultimate Family Summer Adventure

Updated: 2 days ago

The Joy of Family Summer Adventures

Summertime is a unique bonding opportunity for families of all shapes and sizes. Whether you are ready to explore new destinations with your teenagers, go camping for the first time with your toddlers, or head out on a road trip with your parents, family summer adventures are the perfect way to create lasting memories. In this blog post, we will share our favorite creative ideas and practical tips to ensure everyone has a safe and fun time. Let’s make this year’s family summer adventure one to remember! 

Choosing the Perfect Destination

One of the most challenging parts of planning a summer adventure is choosing the best destination for a family vacation. Before we share some of the most popular family-friendly destination ideas, let’s talk about some of our pro tips for selecting a destination.

The Dream Vacation

Ask each of your family members what their perfect vacation would be and make a list of the things they want to accomplish while they are there. Does Dad just want a quiet place to read, or has he always wanted to visit Montana? Do the kids want to go swimming or head to a theme park? Create your summer holidays bucket list and figure out which activities and places to visit are most important. The best destination for a family vacation will have a little bit of something for everyone

Age-Appropriate Activities



Stay Healthy

Pet-Friendly Accommodations

Disconnect to Reconnect

Planning Local vs. International Trips

Local Trips



Typically, it’s less expensive to travel within your own country, and you may not need special passports or visas. You won’t have to deal with currency exchange, and you already know the language. It is much easier to bring pets along on your summer adventure.

It may not feel like much of a break from your typical routine. Overall, it will be disengaging and more predictable. In some cases, tourist destinations will have more expensive food and souvenirs.

International Trips



If you want to plan a summer escape, nothing is as effective as overseas travel! Immerse yourself in a new culture, cuisines, customs, and languages. There are more opportunities for the whole family to experience holistic learning, and it might change their view of the world.

It can be challenging for younger children to travel long distances, and it can be cost-prohibitive. More preparation is required for international trips, so you will need plenty of time to plan ahead if you don’t already have the appropriate passports and vaccinations.

Top Family-Friendly Destinations

No matter where you choose to travel, each of these destinations offers the opportunity to spend quality time together and make memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some of the must-see places in the US and family-friendly destinations around the world. 

  • Orlando, Florida: Home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Kennedy Space Center, Gatorland, and so much more.

  • Yellowstone National Park: Visit this Park from Wyoming, Montana, or Idaho and enjoy incredible scenes from geysers to bison to grizzly bears. 

  • Washington, D.C.: Enjoy an educational trip in summer with a visit to historic landmarks like the U.S. Capitol and Lincoln Memorial and a visit to the Smithsonian Museum.

  • Niagara Falls: Enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime view of the magnificent Niagara Falls. 

  • Vancouver, Canada: Don’t miss a visit to the gorgeous Stanley Park and enjoy delicious food, a visit to Coal Harbor, and so much more.

  • Tokyo, Japan: If you are traveling with kids who are school-aged and older, they will love a visit to Tokyo! Enjoy immersive anime museums, expansive toy shops, amusement parks, and more.

  • Sydney, Australia: Enjoy family-friendly beaches all year round, Taronga Zoo, Sydney Opera House, and an abundance of theme parks and museums. 

  • London, England: Enjoy Harry Potter tours, historical landmarks, theater shows, incredible museums, and so much more.

Travel Tip: Bring your summer adventure home with you! If you are traveling to a destination for the first time, take plenty of photos and consider creating a Photo Book to display on your coffee table. This makes it easy to relive your travel memories and share those special moments with all your guests.

Budgeting and Financial Planning

It’s essential to set a budget plan when you start thinking about your summer adventure. Whether you want to spend less than $1,000 or your budget is reaching 5-digits, it’s important to keep track of how much you plan to spend. 

Start by assessing your overall financial situation. Write up a plan for how much you can afford to set away each month toward your summer vacation and how much is in your estimated budget. 

Set a budget, start saving, and keep track of every cent! Get the kids involved and create a visual tracker, a vacation fund jar, or (if they are older) set up a spreadsheet that everyone has access to. This can be a fun way to teach kids about finances - with the bonus that it has a super fun reward at the end! 

Break down all the costs for the trip and set spending limits. Track your spending throughout your trip or move the money for the vacation into a special account that will only ever be used for that purpose, with its own card, so it’s impossible to overspend. You can even set up a digital travel planner where each person can add activities that they would like to include and make sure it all fits in the budget. It might also be helpful to utilize apps like TripIt to plan your itinerary. 

Include costs such as:

  • Travel: Flights, car rentals, gas, public transport, and other travel-related costs like baggage checking or pets.

  • Accommodation: Hotels, vacation rentals, pet boarding, house-sitting.

  • Food: Groceries, dining out, travel snacks, and splurge dates.

  • Activities: Attractions, tours, tickets, and other forms of entertainment.

  • Medical: An emergency kit, medical and travel insurance, and medications (for example, if someone gets seasick).

  • Miscellaneous: Souvenirs, tips, and other unexpected expenses.

Tips for Saving Money for Your Perfect Vacation

  1. Start Early: Begin saving well in advance of your trip and put the money into a dedicated savings account (so you don’t accidentally spend it!)

  2. Cut Unnecessary Expenses: Can you save $40 a month by skipping a few unused subscriptions? Review your monthly expenses, find a few areas to cut back, and put that money toward your trip.

  3. Use Cashback and Loyalty Programs: Take advantage of rewards programs to save money on travel essentials or even on booking flights and hotels.

  4. Have a Garage Sale: Free up space in the house and put a little extra money toward your summer adventure! You might also consider selling items online, having a lemonade stand, picking up a side hustle, or even recycling items for cash.

  5. Plan for Home-Cooked Meals: Making meals from scratch, instead of eating out for every meal, can save you money while traveling.

  6. Check for Flight Discounts so you can buy your tickets at the perfect time. Use websites like Google Flights, Kayak, or Skyscanner.

  7. Look for Family Packages that offer free activities, all-inclusive deals on family suites, free meals, and more. Check your local travel agencies, cruise lines, and kid-friendly resorts.

Travel Tip: Now is the perfect time to start your travel journal. Keep track of all the budget ideas that worked for your family and which ones didn’t. This will make next year’s vacation easier to plan and prepare for.

Packing List for Your Summer Essentials

Ensure you have everything you need with our comprehensive packing list! From lightweight clothing essentials and toiletries to health and safety items, travel documents, and tech gear, we've got you covered. Don't forget those comfort items that make travel enjoyable. Download our packing list now and travel stress-free, knowing you're fully prepared for every summer adventure!

Travel Tip: If your kids love taking photos, giving them a disposable camera at the start of the trip can be a fun way to see your summer adventure from their perspective. After the vacation is over, you can scan the developed photos and save them on your Google Drive to easily upload them to the SimplePrints app. If you are traveling with multiple kids, such as a group of cousins or a troop of Boy Scouts, consider making Mini Photo Books to share with all of them!

Our Top Tips for Making Your Plans for the Summer Go Smoothly:

Hopefully, you are feeling inspired to start planning summer holidays with your family or, if you aren’t the planning type, you are ready to have spontaneous adventures. We’ve shared most of our tips for planning your perfect vacation, but there are a few other things that you will want to consider before you hit the road. 

  1. Use labels to keep track of your belongings and easily find things in your bags. 

  2. Give smaller children plenty of forewarning when you are changing hotels, cities, and plans. Keeping them in the loop will make transitions easier, and keeping a routine can help avoid tantrums.

  3. For longer road trips, look for rest stops and playgrounds where you can stop and let your kids get the wiggles out.

  4. If hotel space is limited at your destination, look for alternative accommodations such as camping cabins, farm stays, RVing, treehouses, houseboats, and bed & breakfasts.

  5. Bring a few physical books to read, and also consider downloading some audiobooks and eBooks from a library app such as Libby. You can access these even when you are offline, making it possible to bring plenty of reading material (without taking up all your bag space).

  6. Simple card games, like Uno, can be a hit on road trips with teenagers. 

  7. Mess-free snacks, like trail mix and granola bars, can be a lifesaver on the road.

  8. Make use of reusable containers when packing food and other small items to reduce plastic waste.

  9. Travel by train and bus when possible to reduce your carbon footprint(and beat the traffic).

  10. Use lightweight stainless steel water bottles for the whole family to avoid buying plastic water bottles.

  11. Lead by example and make sure to clean up after yourself, pick up litter if you see it, and always leave your hotel rooms and restaurant booths clean.

Making Memories: Documenting Your Trip

It’s important to enjoy being in the moment when you are on vacation, but it’s also important to savor all those moments after you get home! Here are some of our best practices for documenting your trip. 

Photography Tips

Candid Photos

It can be hard to wrangle the family for a group picture when everyone is eager to explore! Make candid moments your bread and butter when you are traveling. Keep your camera ready and snap photos whenever possible. And don’t forget to delegate tasks and let someone else take the pictures once in a while! You don’t want to get home from your summer adventure and discover that you aren’t in any of the photos.

Natural Lighting

Bring a Tripod


Travel Journal Ideas

Bring a Travel Journal: Give each of your children a travel journal and bring one for yourself. A pocket-sized notebook will do just fine. Jot down funny things your kids say when they see something for the first time, interesting experiences that you have, and names of towns or places that you go through that you enjoy. Even a few sentences a day can help bring you right back to your summer adventure once you are home. And these memories make for great captions for your Photo Books later!

Make it Fun: Bring a pack of colored pencils, stickers, and tape so that your children can get creative with their journals. Use the tape to save things inside the journal like dried flowers, ticket stubs, polaroids, or other small keepsakes from your trip. You can also use washi tapes to add more fun elements.

Mix it Up: Use a variety of photographs, such as landscape photographs, group shots, candid shots, and close-ups in your Photo Books.

Create a Travel Journal Photo Book with SimplePrints

Creating a Photo Book Travel Journal using the SimplePrints app is a great way to preserve and share your family’s travel memories. Follow these simple steps to get started:

  1. Download the free SimplePrints app for iOS or Android.

  2. Create a new project and upload your photos from Google Photos, Drive, Dropbox, Social Media, and more.

  3. Choose a layout, add collages, and add captions.

  4. Review your project and order your Photo Book!

Check out our quick start guide if you want a visual walkthrough of the whole process.

By following these steps and tips, you can create a beautiful and memorable Photo Book from your favorite summer adventure that your family will cherish for years to come.


Blogger: Cameya Martin

Cameya Martin is a mother, a wife, a self-identified horse-girl, and a writer. She writes articles for small businesses, memoirs for people, and fiction for herself.

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