- Written by Kelsey Blodget
Parents know: Family trips are often far from relaxing, and what's meant to be a dream vacation can all too quickly turn into a nightmare. But ensuring your trip goes smoothly is easier than you think. As long as the kids aren't bored, and the parents aren't stressed, families can avoid the bickering that all too often causes a trip to go awry. Easier said than done, of course, but picking the right hotel will go a long way toward tantrum-proofing your vacation. Avoid these five common mistakes when planning your trip, and you'll find yourself headed for family vacation bliss.
Top five things parents forget to consider:
1. Your kids' interests: Kids are just as picky about their vacation, if not pickier, than adults, and it's worth taking the time to ask them what they want to do. Are they going to be happy in a big city or at the beach? What do they want to do when they get there? You can find a hotel these days with almost any amenity, from trapeze lessons to roller coasters to water parks, so their requests might be easier to fulfill than you think. The important thing is to get them just as excited about the trip as you are.
2. Your kids' attention spans. Some kids can entertain themselves all day with sand, a bucket, and a shovel. Others will grow bored within minutes. If your kid needs lots of stimulation, steer clear of the quiet beach bungalows and consider an activity-packed megaresort.
3. Your own needs: Some parents think that a family vacation has to be all about the kids. There's no quicker way for parents to stress themselves out than to forget to take care of their own needs -- and stressed parents equal unhappy kids. Many resorts have plenty for kids and adults to do.
4. The whole cost of the trip. Pricing out just the cost of the airfare and hotel isn't enough -- you need to factor in taxi fare, activity costs, and food costs, or you might end up in a situation where you're running way over budget. And don't rely on general estimates -- get a sense of what these costs will really be to avoid money worries when you arrive.
5. Max room capacity and extra person charges: It can be tough to find rooms that allow families of five, but be careful about assuming the hotel will overlook it, or that you can sneak in an extra kid -- for fire code reasons, many hotels follow their max capacity policies strictly. Hotels also often charge for third or fourth guests, or for the use of rollaway beds, so be sure to find out those fees before you book the trip.
Blodget is an editor at Oyster.com, a hotel shopping website that makes trip planning easy, with in-depth, expert reviews, hundreds of honest photos of every hotel, and easy filtering by price, amenities, and rating.