Do you have a family trip on your bucket list? Whether you’re heading to explore our nation’s national parks, returning to your favorite beach or going head first into a major metropolitan area, advance planning is the key to a successful trip for the entire family. Take these recommendations and tips from the travel industry’s top professionals to ensure the details of our trip are secured prior to your departure.

The first step is to determine your budget and set your dates. If you plan on driving instead of spending a huge sum on multiple plane tickets but are not confident your car has the horsepower left to make the journey, consider taking advantage of the awesome deals offered by Groupon coupons and reserving a comfortable, and reliable, car from the trusted car experts at Alamo.  Having peace of mind knowing you won’t be stranded after a car breakdown or dropped transmission will be well worth the investment in your family’s vacation. It’s the first step in making sure your family’s vacation memories are positive ones!

The next goal is to secure accommodations. An increasingly popular option over multiple expensive hotel rooms is the rental of private vacation homes or condominiums. With much more space to spread out and the option to enjoy relaxed family meals together, private homes offer greater flexibility and bang for the buck on family vacations.  Check out the many websites that list private homes for rental at your destination. Know your room count, number of bedrooms, dates and budgets before going online. Pay close attention to the online reviews. Prior renters are generally very frank about the specifics of the property and the experience they enjoyed. After you have narrowed your selection to a few properties, contact the owners either by phone or email. Confirm the amenities, if the grill is gas or charcoal, check in arrangements, bike availability, etc. Never send any deposits or payments until you’ve connected with the owners.  Every industry in susceptible to scams and that includes online vacation home rentals.

Best of luck to you and your family as you head out for a memorable family vacation!