When traveling with family, there are so many things to worry about. You need to make sure that you are bringing along everything that you need. You may be concerned that your kids may not handle the flight well, or that they may not enjoy all of the activities that you have planned. You may also worry about price, and will want to ensure that you get the best prices available. Booking family vacation packages can be a good way to save money while getting much of your vacation planned in one step.
If you are considering a family vacation package, there are some things you’ll need to consider. There are lots of different options, and various things are typically included in the package cost. Regardless of the type of vacation experience you are looking for – national parks, water parks, theme parks, or a beach vacation, you may be able to find a vacation package that is perfect. Here are some things to consider and ask when booking family vacation packages.
Disclosure: We received a complimentary media preview of the Adventures by Disney New York City Long Weekend adventure and have worked with JetBlue Vacations (as well as booked our own trips with both). This post contains affiliate links. A purchase through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us. All opinions are my own.
Tips for Booking Family Vacation Packages
Types of Family Vacation Packages to Consider
There are a variety of different options for families – here are the various types of packages that you’ll find.
Guided Family Tours
We loved taking guided family tours, especially to Europe. These tours typically include hotel, at least some meals, admission to tourist attractions and activities, transfers, and your guide. All or most of the trip will be planned for you, and you’ll be traveling with other families.
We’ve been on three family vacations with Adventures by Disney, and have always enjoyed being on a guided tour. It’s so relaxing to have someone else deal with organizing and planning, and the kids love meeting new friends while on vacation. We’ve always been able to spend quality time as a family on these trips, especially because we don’t have any stress.
When booking a guided tour, look for one that focuses on families. You’ll want your trip to include family friendly attractions as well as family resorts or hotels.
With a guided tour, you may have to pay for tips, flights, incidental meals, and any activities that aren’t planned, but always check with your provider.
Airline Vacation Packages
If you are looking for more flexibility in your plans, you may want to look at various airline vacation packages. We’ve booked them through JetBlue Vacations and Southwest Vacations, and have always saved money.
Airline packages typically include airfare and hotel, with the option to include rental car and activities. You’ll be able to choose your own dates and flights, as well as hotel and type of hotel room, and rental car type.
Depending on the specific airline package, you may also be able to get frequent flyer miles for your trip. With JetBlue Vacations, we get a good amount of miles everytime we book, which is a great way to stock up for our next vacation!
With discount websites (like Groupon), you may find great package deals. These are typically for specific dates and hotels and may include restrictions. You can definitely get a great deal, but it’s important to review the fine print to make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing.
You may also be able to book family vacation packages on aggregator websites like Kayak and Expedia. These packages will be similar to the airline vacation packages, but you’ll be able to choose your airline. Like airline packages, these typically include hotel, airfare, and rental car (if you choose one).
Sites like Hotwire.com and Priceline.com also offer vacation packages. These sites typically include some sort of “blind” component, so you may not know the flight times, airlines, or hotels when committing. These can sometimes be a great deal, but make sure that your plans are flexible, and that you are able to book for a whole family, and not just two people.
Travel Agent Packages
Travel agents, including online travel agents, sometimes offer vacation packages for clients. These may include all-inclusive resorts along with airline tickets and transfers to the resorts. There are often great options for kid friendly resorts in Punta Cana, Mexico, and the Caribbean.
In my experience, these packages don’t always usually include activities. Because you’ll often speak directly to the travel agent, you’ll be able to get some advice on the best vacation ideas that won’t break the bank.
Disney Vacation Packages
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? You can book a Walt Disney World vacation package right from Walt Disney World. Options vary, but you can typically include theme park tickets, resort hotel, airfare, and even the Disney Dining package. If you are planning a Walt Disney World vacation, this might be a great option for you. They can be booked through a travel agent specializing in Disney, or directly from the Walt Disney Company.
Southern California Vacation Packages
Planning a trip to Southern California? Get Away Today offers Southern California vacation packages that include theme park tickets (options include Disneyland, LEGOLAND Carlsbad, and Universal Studios Hollywood) and hotels in the area, including San Diego. You can save $10 by using our discount code FTM10 and this link.
With these packages, you can choose the dates of your trip, and will purchase your airfare separately. You’ll also make all other plans on your own, so you’ll have lots of flexibility.
Things to Consider When Booking a Family Vacation Package
Regardless of the type of family vacation package that you book, you’ll need to consider some things. Make sure you ask all questions in advance, before committing. It’s also important to budget for incidentals or anything else that isn’t included in the package price. You’ll want to make sure you have enough saved for your trip.
What is included?
Find out what is included in the package price, and what will need to be purchased separately. For instance, on our Adventures by Disney trips, we were reasonable for airfare, a few meals, incidentals, and tips for our guides. It was important to know that other gratuities were included – that way we didn’t have to worry about having small bills on us for the doormen and drivers.
If you are responsible for airfare, it’s a good idea to look at options and prices before committing to the package. You don’t want to find out that flights are unavailable or too expensive when it’s too late to change the plans.
When are the payments due?
When you purchase a package deal, you often need to put down a deposit, and then make a final payment. Make sure you understand when the various amounts are due, and make note in your calendar.
What are the cancellation policies?
When purchasing a family vacation package, you often have to pay everything in advance. Therefore, you’ll want to understand what the cancellation policies are. You may consider buying travel insurance if your trip is expensive. Your vacation provider may offer it, or you can always buy some independently.
What types of flights are included, if any?
I’ve booked vacation packages that include flights, and some that do not. The flights definitely vary – I’ve been booked on both commercial and charter flights. Make sure you understand what type of plane you’ll be flying on, and if there will be additional fees, like a fuel surcharge, baggage fees, or seat assignment fees.
Have you booked a family vacation package? What was your experience?