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5 Tips For Taking Your Family On Vacation

Climbing above Lake Michigan, at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,
File Photo
Climbing above Lake Michigan, at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore,

This story was originally published Jan. 16, 2014.

So, you're planning the next big family vacation. There are a lot of questions to consider: Where to go, what to do, who to invite. In this encore presentation of Going Places, KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley shares advice for families looking to travel together.

1. Know Your Audience

The age of the travelers and their ability will play a factor.

"Look at any mobility issues," Brumley said. Obviously, you don't want to book a hiking trip if a member of your family has trouble walking long distances, but think about more subtle issues, too. How much movement will you have to do at a theme park? Are there activities that children will enjoy?

2. Weigh The Benefits: Rigid Itinerary Or Independent Travel? 

Cruises, for example, have their ups and downs.

"The downside is you're going to be traveling with a large group of people, and oftentimes the population of the ship is larger than the place you're visiting, but it can be carefree and mindless," Brumley said. 

3. Let Family Members Research Ideas

This gives other members of the family some ownership over the vacation. Encourage them to do some homework on lodging and how all the members of the family would get there, especially if they live in different places. 

"I pitch the idea," Brumley said. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't." 

4. Don't Stay Together All The Time 

Create a degree of independence among the travelers. When Brumley's family went to Italy, they would break up from time to time and do things in smaller groups.

"But at the end of the day we all had great stories to share, and we'd come together and have dinner," he said. "You don't want to make it a forced march."

5. It Doesn't Have To Be Expensive 

Instead of a four-star hotel (although those are great), look for alternative lodging arrangements like Airbnb and VRBO (that stands for Vacation Rentals By Owner).

"You'd be surprised how little a place costs to rent overseas," Brumley said. "You can get a Paris apartment for €90 [90 euros] a night." Renting an apartment can mean having a kitchen, which can reduce your food costs, especially on longer trips.


Going Places is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.