The Griswolds tried to have a great Family Vacation, but even though their travails were hilarious on the big screen, nobody wants to endure those crazy experiences. Rather, we prefer to have actual fun, rather than comic disasters, when we head out on a family vacation.
Below are some practical safety tips to ensure your vacation looks nothing like the Griswold’s trip to the Walley World theme park.
- Make a plan: of course everyone wants to be spontaneous and romantic, but a family vacation isn’t usually the place for that approach. Instead, you’ll be far better off making a plan and – generally – sticking to it. One idea is to have one big activity and one small activity planned for each day. The big activity might be something like white water rafting or deep sea fishing, which usually take several hours, if not half a day, to accomplish. The “small” activity could be a movie or eating someplace special or seeing a specific landmark. Don’t forget to take a selfie!
- Get a prepaid card: do you prefer to carry cash or a credit card? Finance gurus like Dave Ramsey would tell you to always only use cash, because we tend to spend less when we can see it going away. While that’s true, it’s also easy to lose cash. When you lose a prepaid card, you can cancel it and get your money refunded. In addition, the card sets a limit on the amount of money you’re willing to spend during the vacation.
- Check the car out first: there’s nothing worse than a flat tire or busted radiator in the middle of Death Valley? The week before your vacation, have the family car thoroughly inspected and serviced, as well as securing roadside service from your car dealer or AAA. Doing so will help ensure that your family is safe while driving across the fruited plains. You might also consider renting a car for this special occasion.
- Plenty of phone chargers: you might spend some time singing “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall,” but if you have kids who have portable devices, they’re likely to spend much of the road trip time playing on their electronics. Double USB charging plugs and iPhone or Android charging cords are cheap and readily available at grocery and drug stores. Stock up before you leave, and remember, “ABC” – always be charging. During an emergency, the last thing you need is a phone with no battery life left.
- GPS Location Apps: Got kids? Got kids with phones? Make sure you and your kids are sharing your location, either through the iPhone’s text app or through another mobile app such as Life360. If you get separated as a family in your hometown, you kinda know where to look, but getting separated in a foreign location can really put a downer on your vacation vibes.
- Travel insurance: You insure your home, your car, your health, your life, even your pets! So why don’t you purchase travel insurance? Whether you purchase it through your credit card or through actual insurance from your home, auto, and life broker, the piece of mind that comes with knowing you can replace almost anything that gets lost, stolen, or broken during a vacation is priceless.
- No social media: What? I know what you’re thinking, but hear us out. If your entire family goes on vacation, then you’re announcing to the world that you are on vacation. Meaning, you’re not at home, and nobody’s keeping your home safe. Save the social media posts for after you arrive home, then share away!
Finally, if you really don’t want to be just exactly like the Griswolds, call your destination prior to your departure to make sure they’re actually going to be open, unlike Walley World.