Picking the right family vacation destination

De palm island Aruba

How we pick our family vacation destinations

Over the years, through trial and error, we’ve learned how to pick the right destination for our family. We’ve found there is a process that works well for us, and we want to share the 4 steps with you today on how to pick the right family vacation destination.

Step 1 – Use google flights first

Typically we know when we want to travel, and sometimes we even have specific dates when we want to leave and return. For us with full-time careers and kids in school, this sometimes means we need to consider school schedules and our availability around our careers.

A couple weeks ago we decided that we wanted to go somewhere in November – but we didn’t know where. So we went to google flights, put in YVR (Vancouver) as our start origin and google flights automatically brought up flight destinations and prices for the entire month of November.

This step always gives us options that we hadn’t considered.  We then are able to scan the options, mainly looking for good deals and direct flights, so we can narrow down a few destinations that will work for our family. In this case, we narrowed our options to China (Shanghai) and Columbia (Bogota).

Sunset Aruba

Step 2 – Pick the right destination for your family

Once we have our destinations narrowed, we pick a destination that works for our entire family. And what we mean by this is:

We pick destinations that the whole family will enjoy.

This step is so important! Don’t pick a destination that’s only adult focused or your kids won’t have fun. And don’t pick a destination that’s only about the kids – you want to have fun too!

Shanghai was a fit because it has Disneyland which is fun for the kids and it has lots of great day trips out of the city which is fun for the whole family. Columbia is great because it has beautiful beaches which the kids will enjoy, and we liked the fact that it’s an up and coming destination which is extra exciting for us.

Step 3 – Try to offset the cost with a rewards program

A big factor in picking the right destination for our family is the ability to offset costs using our Aeroplan miles. This can often be the deciding factor if we are conflicted between destinations since we are purchasing four round-trip airfares. This can be very costly! By using our Aeroplan miles for the flights, it allows us to save our money to use on the trip for activities, hotels, and food.

Connor on a plane

Step 4 – Picking the right hotel

Research the tourist areas once you’ve chosen your destination, and pick an area that is centrally located to the main attractions. If you can get a hotel that’s in a walk-able area, that’s the most ideal – especially when traveling with kids.

We also choose our hotel based on the room selections available. For us, when our boys were ages 1 and 3, we wouldn’t consider a hotel unless it had a 1 bedroom option because we wanted everyone to get a full night’s sleep. Now that our boys are older at ages 3 and 5, we all get our necessary sleep in a standard hotel room so we do have more hotel choices.

When selecting a destination, countries who have a lower cost of living means that your dollar will go further. For example, when we went to Aruba recently the hotels on average were $300 CAD a night. Whereas when we look at Shanghai, we can get a nice hotel for $120 CAD.

Here’s a useful infographic by Loan and Go with a few other items to consider when planning the right family vacation:


Picking the right destination for your family can be really fun. If you’re kids are older, get them involved! Ask them what they want to do, plan together, and enjoy your trip! For us, our memories that we make while traveling are some of our most memorable.


This article was sponsored by Loan and Go, all opinions expressed are my own.


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