I am a firm believer that organisation is key when it comes to having a successful, big family trip.

While spontaneity works well for some, it is not ideal when traveling with a large family. The last thing you need is to arrive to your final destination, only to find that Timmy forgot his important prescriptions.

I am a checklist person; always have been, always will be. I have a checklist I use for packing clothes, a list for packing equipment, and a checklist of priorities to complete before my departure.

The last list includes making sure that I have a neighbour getting my mail, ensuring that I’ve made reservations for my dog to stay with a family member while I’m gone, and making sure that my bank knows the locations to where I’ll be traveling.

There is nothing worse than being on a big family trip and having to deal with a issue regarding your debit or credit card— it pays to plan ahead.

Below are some of the most important ways in which you can ensure you have a fun family vacation.

Organising Departures

Visualise your entire trip from the moment you set foot outside of your home. If you’re flying, ensure your vehicle is big enough for all the luggage being brought. Also, plan ahead for arrangements to leave your vehicle at the airport.

If you’re driving the entire way, make sure to fill up on gas before hitting the road. A stop within the first half hour sets precedent for continuous stops along the trip.

Plan for the Worst, Expect the Best

Don’t be a Debbie Downer; however, have contingency plans established. Moreover, budget in some emergency cash.

Having a few hundred additional dollars, in cash, can be the difference between a great vacation and ending a vacation on a sour note due to unexpected charges and expenses.

Another way to prevent a family vacation from going up in flames is to purchase American Express trip insurance plans. Whether you have a medical emergency, trip cancellations, or trip delays, good travel insurance will remove the financial sting from your travel woes.

Establish a Game Plan

Taking the time to poll your family before embarking on a trip will cut out all the bickering and indecisiveness during the trip. If everyone is on the same page, you don’t have to worry about unnecessary arguing and wasted time. More importantly, this allows you to properly budget. Knowing what attractions, museums, and restaurant you’ll be attending will allow you to better estimate costs.

Whether you’re packing ten people in an RV for a trip across the country or flying first class around the world, a proper plan will take the headache out of traveling, allowing you to enjoy your destination…and more importantly, enjoy stress-free time with your family.

  • cheers jess. great to have those lists


  • I am a list person. I have several lists saved on my computer and I just update them to suit the type of trip we are doing


  • because we have a large family, i ask each person what they would liketo do. we then have an itinerary so theres no arguments later


  • yep be prepared for anything and everything when on a trip


  • For me it’s lots of lists, that keep getting rewritten and checked off. Withtout my lists I would be a mess!


  • I’m a horrible planner!! I leave most planning to my sister if it’s a family holiday :)


  • Love ticking things off my list.


  • We travelled to Europe for a month last December with our kids 9,8 and nearly 2, my biggest tip is to get the kids doing some research. For a month before the trip, we set aside 15 minutes after dinner where we each had to give 5 facts on one of the cities we were visiting. The kids used the Lonely Planet not for adults books which we borrowed from the library, brilliant books, while my husband and I used google for our facts. They were both much more involved once we got over there as they knew what to look for, they were able to be involved in deciding where we visited, not just Disneyland. They got so much out of Versailles and the Louvre for example and were far more into Rome than we were. We also got the audio tours wherever available in English, didn’t bother with kids ones though as they said they were boring. The trip was brilliant and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.


  • Thank you for sharing a good read and great tips


  • great tips, we have a big road trip planned, so might need to start making some lists :)


  • First Aid Kit is a priority – keep one in your vehicle and update supplies in regularly. Some kits actually have a use by date on them. If you are travelling by different means at least take some first aid gear with you, even if you put it in waterproof containers in case of a leakage.
    If travelling by car carry a blanket in the interior with you. Push it under a front seat if you have to. If one of you get sick or have an accident you may need it. You may be able to put a few small bandages in your glovebox in case of an accident. If you are unfortunate to have an accident and get rear ended you may not be able to open the boot.


  • Great list and tips to follow before heading off for vacation.


  • I will use these for when we go on our first big adventure thank you


  • ‘Plan for the worst’, then enjoy what ever comes is my motto.


  • I’m going to use some of this for my next trip with the kids :) Thanks for that!


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