6 tips for summer family fun

May 23, 2008 at 4:45 p.m. ET

You look forward to it all year. It's time to plan your annual summer vacation. However, traveling with your family can sometimes be more stressful than hoped. In order to minimize the stress and maximize the fun for everyone involved (including yourself), take a cue from AAA and plan a trip you'll all remember.

Happy Family on the Beach

Family input

When planning your trip, make it a family discussion. Ask everyone involved where they'd like to go, what they'd like to do and what they're interested in seeing. Having input from the entire family will ensure everyone's vacation needs are met.

Utilize nap time

When you're driving to your vacation spot, try leaving an hour before your kids' nap time -- and if you're flying, take the red eye. The goal is to get your kids to sleep through the bulk of your travel time.


Another way to keep your kids occupied during the time it takes you to get from point A to point B is to bring their favorite toys.

However, when choosing which toys to bring, make sure they are easy to transport and don't break easily. Also bring extra batteries.

Document your trip

A great tip is to give everyone a disposable camera to document the vacation through everyone's eyes. This will help to keep everyone involved in the trip. Everyone can the photos afterwards and relive your getaway.

Nice and easy

Don't over plan your trip. Sightseeing is great and you'll want to see as much as you can, but packing too much into your day can burn you out and can make everyone crabby. Overdoing it can also make it harder for your kids to remember what they saw. Pick a couple of activities and see how the day pans out. If there's more time and everyone's up for it, add to your itinerary.


Each day talk with your family about what the best part of the day was. Don't force the discussion, but if they're open to it, finding out what their favorite experience was will help reinforce their memories.