Come school holidays, the families across India pack their bags to go on a vacation. Although these holidays last only for a week or two, for some, especially mothers, it is the only break from daily chores, and probably one time, when they get a hot, fresh meal prepared by someone else! The trip can be more exciting if you have a group of family members rather than just a few people.
It is true that we Indians are misers when it comes to spending on vacations, but this does not mean that we should skip them altogether. Also, there is no need to let one or two bad experiences, take out the charm of holidaying from us. The fun and frolic on a trip with family members is an experience that we must indulge in at least once a year.
Here is a three step guide to help you out:
1. Is a road trip right for you family?
There are many factors that decide if you should cover the distance through a vehicle on your own or by hiring a service. If you are considering on a road journey keep a few things in mind, like:
•The distance that you are going to cover: Too long a distance is not suited for family travel. The members, especially kids, cannot travel continuously for more than 4 to 5 hours in a car.
•The place where you are going: If you are visiting a hill station, you should take your vehicle because you would need to go to different places and not everyone in your family would be willing to climb on foot.
•The size of your family:If you have a small family, a road trip is much more convenient. However, if you have a large family, there is going to be a fight for space (or the window seat), so think before you set out on your journey.
•The size of the vehicle: If you are taking your personal vehicle, size does matter. Most family cars are not designed for off road travelling or the bad roads of our country. You should always check the road condition and make an informed decision.
2. Preparing a well planned budget
Once you have decided on the destination, the means of travelling and the members who are going, it is time to make a budget. Although not every expense can be calculated beforehand, you must have a rough idea about how much the whole trip is going to cost. If your trip includes extended family, it would be wise to share expenses. Sit with your family, take out a pen and paper and calculate the major expenses like:
•Accommodation:If you are visiting a tourist place, make sure you know about the current tariff. The ‘on season’ and ‘off season’ rates vary greatly, so call up the places where you are planning to stay and ask for price and availability.
•Food: Eating out is one of the major expenses during a vacation. Keep a separate budget for it. You can also book in at a place where a meal or a breakfast is complimentary.
•Shopping: Women have an affinity for shopping and therefore, must always keep some money aside for this. Moreover, new places tend to excite us and make us buy things which we do not need. Spend a day or two in the market/ shopping area and notice if there is a difference in the price or quality from shop to shop.
•Expenses for kids: When you take along your kids on a vacation, be prepared for buying toys, games, books, comics, posters, chocolates, etc. Although you must not give in to all of their demands, you should also refrain from saying “no” to everything. If you have money to buy your things, you must also have money to buy their things. Otherwise, they will feel cheated.
•Extras: Take out a sum of money for important things like car repair, medical expenses, a sudden plan to spend an extra night, etc.
3. Don’t forget the best part- Enjoying with your family
If you spend a fortune on the vacation and don’t spend quality time with your family, then sadly, that money has gone down the drain. A family trip means enjoying with each and every member of the group. This is possible only by a lot of care and willingness to accommodate different needs in your travel plan. Here is a list to help you out:
•Don’t travel continuously for more than 6 hours if you have kids or older people on board. Children are not in the habit of sitting in a car for hours and may get irritated. Take short breaks throughout your journey and stop for food, drinks as well as for going to the bathroom.
•While planning the destination, include everyone in the decision. A family trip means that the whole family must enjoy and so, it is important that they all have a say.
•Make a small first aid kit and add over the counter drugs like pain killers, medicine for motion sickness, fever, etc.
•Keep a pack of snacks and juices for your kids. Keep games, cards and things which your family enjoys the most.
•Don’t forget your camera. Keep extra cells, batteries or chargers.
Make the most of the trip and have fun with your family. The big Indian family must not meet just at weddings, but on vacations as well. Keep a calm and flexible attitude when travelling with so many people, because differences are bound to occur. Give space to your children and an extra care to parents. Pack lightly, spend wisely and have a great holiday!