Family travel writer Rainer Jenss shares his New Year’s resolutions when it comes to planning trips with his family.

For 2012,  instead of making my usual bucket list, I’m concentrating mostly on which places and activities are going to benefit my kids and enrich their lives. With that in mind, here are a few questions I ask myself when evaluating a trip idea:

  1. What kind of trip will bring the family closer together? Given our busy work and school schedules, we make it a priority to spend our vacations in each other’s company.
  2. Which destinations will strengthen our connections to wildlife and nature? Going to a zoo or aquarium is a great start, and you can take it even further by hiking in a state or national park or snorkeling in the Caribbean.
  3. What activities will spark their curiosity? Sometimes it’s a simple as trying new foods.  You might not think the kids will like steamed dumplings, but you’d be surprised what a visit to Chinatown can do to expand their palates.
  4. Where can we expose our kids to new cultures and perspectives? This doesn’t necessarily require leaving the country.
  5. Where can we learn new life skills? Surfing in Hawaii? Horseback riding out West?
  6. What activities will enhance the kids’ education? We looked at their upcoming curriculum:  American history, volcanoes, Greek mythology. Great trip ideas there.
  7. How can the trip promote self-discovery? You can learn a lot about yourself by visiting a house of worship different than your own.
  8. Will we meet new people? We have formed lasting friendships with people we’ve met while traveling.
  9. Is the itinerary/destination safe? Everyone has their own threshold, so respect it.
  10. Will the kids have fun? Trust me from experience; don’t underestimate what kids will enjoy.

What about you? What factors do you weigh when booking a trip for your family?

Follow Rainer on Twitter at @JenssTravel

Related:

[Photos: Best Family Trips]

Comments

  1. [...] Planning: 10 Questions to ask before booking your next family trip [...]

  2. Nancy D. Brown
    San Francisco, California
    January 12, 2012, 6:48 pm

    So happy to see that learning new life skills like horseback riding out West made your list. I’m a travel writer based in Northern California and my blog specializes in horseback riding vacations. Feel free to check out Writing Horseback dot com when you and the kids are ready to explore your next trip.
    (Not selling anything. Simply a resource blog for horse lovers.)

  3. Monica at Yampu
    Vermont
    January 12, 2012, 4:49 pm

    Really great blog! You asked great questions. I just wanted to say what a great photo, it looks like the Galapagos. We took the kids to Galapagos one year just after my daughter studied birds in school and she understood so much more after doing that study in school. She spotted a bird feeding it’s baby and got my attention, then the whole group watched as another group of birds tried to steal the baby’s food, what a great experience it was! Life is so busy but family travel brings us together.