After the long winter months, a spring break getaway can be a great rejuvenator for your whole family. In all honesty though, travel planning can be daunting even for those who revel in doing the research and making bookings. There are so many details to think about—you have to figure out exactly where you want to go, what you want to do when you get there, what you need to pack and how you’ll get around and… (take a deep breath here).
To help you make all those decisions, get organized and outsmart travel kinks, we’ve put together these essential travel questions to ask yourself when planning your family’s vacation.
Where will you go?
It probably goes without saying but finding a destination that’s suitable for the whole family is really important. Two key factors that go into this decision are your budget and the amount of time you have. Consider these things to help narrow down your options:
- Look for destinations that have activities that your children will enjoy, but ensure there are fun and relaxing things for adults, too. Afterall, who says spring break is just for kids?
- Make sure there are enough activities that suit your family’s preferences. You don’t want to end up in some picture-perfect place for a week that has lots of activities but none that your family wants to do.
- If you want to get away but don’t want to travel far, there are beautiful spots throughout BC that make for amazing family vacations. And if you want to get there fast, BCAA Members can save 10% on flights to areas such as Kelowna, Victoria, Tofino and Vancouver with Pacific Coastal Airlines.
Where will you stay?
Your travel destination needs to suit your family and so do your accommodations. Ask family and friends who’ve travelled to your destination before about the accommodations they used. In addition to online customer reviews, check reviews by travel experts including those made by CAA and AAA inspectors for the CAA/AAA Diamond Rating System. Here are other questions to ask yourself:
- How much space will we need?
- What are our sleeping arrangements?
- Are there restaurants onsite or nearby?
- Is there a pool (indoor or outdoor)?
- How close will we be to the activities or attractions we want to experience?
You can find a gem of a hotel within the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean using our CAA/AAA TourBooks® digital travel guide. With an exhaustive inspection of hotels and restaurants, single diamond rated establishments provide good quality experiences and are affordable.
How will you get there?
If you’re driving to your spring break destination, get your car checked by an automotive professional as soon as possible to ensure your vehicle is safe and any repairs can be fixed in time for spring break. BCAA Auto Service Centre provides full auto service and repair, and offers a 98-point Vehicle Safety Inspection to ensure your ride is in top form for a long drive. And we’d be remised if we didn’t mention that a BCAA Membership provides roadside assistance 24/7 throughout Canada, the US and Europe to ensure you and your family stay safe on the road.
When it comes to flights, bus rides or train reservations, make sure all the details are sorted ahead of time. If you’re flying, check out our airport tips to help you and your family navigate through check-in and security without a hitch.
What will you do each day?
Having an itinerary of the activities you and your family will do each day will help ensure your time is well managed and everyone gets to do something they like.
You don’t have to stick to it exactly or jam-pack everything in, which can add stress. But, having any sort of plan will help you avoid losing precious time having to figure out the logistics—and let’s admit—without a plan, there may be arguments.
Here are other tips:
- Book activities or tours ahead of time to ensure you get your preferred day and time. There may also be a discount for booking in advance.
- Be realistic about how many events or activities your family can do in a day. If your children prefer to spend most of their time at the pool, then scheduling just one other main activity may be good enough.
- Schedule plenty of breaks from activities and enjoy some plain and simple down time.
Where will you eat?
Creating an itinerary will also give you an idea of where you’ll be when meal times occur. From there, you can research restaurants in that area ahead of time. Use our CAA/AAA TourBooks® digital travel guide and Diamond Rating System to find a wide array of restaurants in the US, Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
Some hotels offer family deals which may include free breakfast for guests or free meals for children. You can also check out our list of over 100,000 Rewards Partners worldwide for restaurants (fast or sit down) located at your destination and see what Member-savings are available.
How will you get around?
Now that you know where you’re going and what you’ll be doing there, you should figure out transportation for the family. Research transportation options available at your destination such as car rentals, ride-hailing, taxis, shuttle buses or public transportation.
- Be prepared to wait if you’re travelling with a large group. There may be taxi or ride-hail vans that can fit up to 7 passengers, but there may not be many available.
- Download and sign up for taxi or ride-hailing apps before you leave home to ensure you’re able to request service as soon as you arrive at your destination.
Do you have a child in a car seat or booster seat?
If you’re travelling with children under the age of 9, understand that car seat safety still applies on vacation. Make sure to bring the appropriate child car seat or booster seat along with you.
If you’re travelling by plane, check with the airline to see if you can use your child car seat on the flight or check it through to your destination so that you don’t need to rent one when on vacation. Using a child car seat that you’re familiar with makes it easier for you to install into different types of vehicles when you reach your destination.
For more information about how to properly install a child car seat or booster seat, along with how to secure your child correctly in the seat, visit BCAA’s Child Passenger Safety resource page on bcaa.com.
How will you stay safe?
Depending on your destination, ensure you and your family have received necessary vaccinations. Also, ask your doctor to note down the blood type of everyone in your family so you have that information in case any of you need emergency medical treatment while on vacation.
Speaking about emergency medical treatment, it’s essential that everyone has travel medical insurance anytime you leave BC. Did you know? With BCAA Travel Insurance, children are covered for free*. Yes, that’s right—when you and your partner have BCAA Travel Insurance, your children are automatically covered at no extra charge. This is available for both single trip or an annual plan. Plus, Members save 10% on BCAA Travel Insurance.
Here are other ways to stay safe:
- If anyone in your family has serious allergies, note what they're allergic to and how serious the condition is, and write it down in the language of your destination so you can provide that information to staff members at local restaurants.
- If your family plans to try out a new sport or adventure activity on vacation, make sure you use the appropriate safety gear.
- Depending on the activity, consider purchasing your own safety equipment or gear and take it with you such as: swimming goggles, snorkeling equipment, closed-toe athletic or hiking shoes, or ski or snowboard gear if you’re doing a spring break ski trip.
How will you pay for all of this?
Create a budget and include all your expenses– transportation, accommodation, food, activities, and shopping to help you understand how much you need to set aside for your trip and avoid overspending. If you’re spending spring break with other families or friends, figure out how to split expenses between the group and how costs will be tracked.
To help you save, a BCAA Membership offers Member-exclusive savings at over 100,000 Reward Partner locations worldwide for accommodations, restaurants, retail stores, attractions, and more. See a list of our Reward Partners and see the many ways you can save.
* Dependent children are free on a family policy with two paying adults. Adults must be aged 59 or younger.