Tips on Getting Your Kids (of All Ages) Involved in Planning Travel, According to a Family Psychologist

(BPT) - With travel mostly on pause, many people are spending time at home with their families, dreaming about their next vacation. This time together creates the perfect opportunity to engage the whole family in planning the next adventure and make memories before the trip even begins.

While, traditionally, parents take the lead in travel planning, a new family travel survey[1] revealed that three in five parents believe children are important resources for inspiration and ideas in planning family vacations.

Further, one-third of those who don’t involve their children in travel planning say they would like to. Luckily, there are many ways to get your kids (from toddlers to teenagers) involved in the planning process, including a new family travel planning website.

The site, BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com, was created by The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card in partnership with renowned family psychologist Dr. Jennifer L Hartstein, PsyD to engage and empower the whole family to be a part of the travel planning process.

Families can start by creating their own personal travel profile or “VACAVATAR” (pronounced vei-kei-vuh-taar, VACAVATAR is a mashup of the words "vacation" and "avatar") on the site. After each family member has designed their own “VACAVATAR,” the website generates a list of recommended vacation destinations that best fit the family’s preferences. From there, users can explore other resources like tips for parents and kid-friendly content including coloring pages, travel-inspired word games and book and movie recommendations.

On the site, Dr. Hartstein provides parents with tips on how to involve children of all ages in travel planning, including the below:

Pre-schoolers and younger: Get inspired

Before the trip, find books to read to your children or movies you can watch about different places and a variety of cultures. Young children are naturally curious, and you can help them begin to understand how diverse the world is, and how — through travel — they will be able to see and experience everything other places and cultures have to offer.

School-age children: Collaborate, then assign

With older kids, you can include them in collaborating to choose your family’s destination. Then you can assign each child a particular vacation day to plan. Allow them to use online tools to choose where to go, what to do and where to eat. This gives them a sense of freedom and control, knowing that they are able to help make the trip memorable.

Teens: Planning ownership

Once you’ve chosen a destination together as a family, you can allow teenagers to be an active part of the planning process by not just making plans, but by actually setting them in motion. Whether it’s learning how to make dinner reservations or buying tickets to an event, giving teens ownership provides them with their first glance into the magical world of planning — as well as valuable life skills.

Planning travel together as a family not only provides an opportunity to strengthen relationships and bond but allows children to build on core life skills like cooperation, compromise and communication. The survey found when children get involved in the planning process, the majority (68%) became more excited about the upcoming trip — and most respondents (81%) agreed planning ahead helped the family relax more when on vacation.

While it will take some time for people to begin traveling again, most consumers (85%) surveyed anticipate traveling domestically again in the next 12 months, with 44% reporting that they would take a road trip and 43% saying they would stay in a hotel in the next six months. So if you’re one of them, you could benefit from involving your whole family in planning your next vacation together and creating new memories while you wait to travel again.

To start planning together, visit BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com to learn how everyone can get involved in dreaming about and designing your next trip, together.

BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com is empowered by The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card, a no-annual fee travel rewards credit card, which offers 3X points on purchases at more than 7,000 hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy, 2X points on other travel purchases, and 1X points on all other purchases.


[1] Conducted by The Marriott Bonvoy BoldTM Card among 1,000 American parents or grandparents in 2020

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