Travel

Picking the Perfect Family Vacation Package: Your Essential Guide

by Dana Meltzer Zepeda


Picking the Perfect Family Vacation Package: Your Essential Guide
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Sometimes you just need to get away from it all, but planning the perfect family vacation can feel like a daunting feat. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place to have all of your questions answered about how to book the best family vacation package, regardless of whether you’re fantasizing about an overwater bungalow in the Caribbean or a rustic lodge at the Grand Canyon.

 

Here are our top 10 picks, from budget to luxury travel, for family vacations that bundle hotels, car rentals and flights together to give you the most bang for your buck. Read on for all of the details on how to score the ultimate family vacation package without breaking the bank.

 

 

Best Disney Work Family Vacation Package: Best Western Lake Buena Vista

 

Best Affordable Family Vacation Package: Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas

 

Best Hawaiian Family Vacation: Aulani Disney Resort & Spa

 

Best All-Inclusive Family Vacation Package: Beaches Turks & Caicos

 

Best Bahamas Family Vacation Package: The Atlantis, Paradise Island

 

Best Caribbean Family Vacation Package: Circus-Themed Pool At Club Med Punta Cana

 

Best European Family Vacation Package: Park Plaza County Hall London

 

Best United States Vacation Package: Embassy Suites By Hilton Washington D.C. Georgetown

 

Best Affordable Vacation Package: Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge, Branson, Missouri

 

Best Adventure Vacation Package: Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

 

Best Costa Rica Vacation Package: The Springs Resort And Spa At Arenal

 

 

What to Consider When Booking a Vacation Package

Planning the perfect family vacation is undeniably exciting, but booking a trip can also be a nerve-racking process. So do yourself a favor and consider these things first:

 

  • What does your family hope to gain from your trip?

Do your kids prefer surfing or skiing? Mountains or islands? Given the choice, would they rather stay Stateside or travel abroad? These are all important questions to ask yourself — and your children — before you ever even sit down to start researching your options.

 

  • What are your family’s likes and dislikes?

If you have a child with food allergies, you may want to consider booking a vacation rental with a kitchen instead of staying at a hotel where you’ll have to eat out for every single meal. Are your kids art history buffs? In that case, a big city filled with museums may be the best place for you. If not, maybe a beach vacation or ski lodge is more your speed.

 

  • Are your passports up to date?

If you’re traveling abroad, be sure your passports are valid. Check out services like RushMyPassport.com (www.rushmypassport.com) to save yourself the hassle of standing in line all day trying to score a last-minute appointment if you’ve already missed the deadline to renew by mail. Trust us, if you’re in this predicament, it’s well worth spending a few extra dollars to get yourself out of it.

 

  • When are you traveling?

Decide whether you have enough flexibility in your schedule to travel during the “off” season. If your kids are still babies or toddlers, the answer is probably yes. So do yourself (and your wallet!) a favor by booking a family vacation package to the Bahamas in October rather than December. You’ll still enjoy great weather without the hefty price tags that usually accompany school breaks like Christmas and summer vacation.

 

What is your budget?

Last, but not least, sit down with your spouse or partner to decide whether this trip will be a splurge or steal. If it’s the latter, set a realistic budget and stick to it! Spending what you can afford will help everyone relax and enjoy your trip without worrying about money. Remember, there are just as many affordable family vacations as there are luxury ones, so rest assured you’ll find something perfect soon.

 

 

Now, that you’ve narrowed things down, are you ready to start planning? Here are the best family vacation packages available from Hawaii to the Caribbean to Europe and everywhere in between. Safe travels!

 

 

1 of 11 Image Credits: Best Western Lake Buena Vista

Best Disney World Family Vacation Package

Best Western Lake Buena Vista

Price:$127.00

If your motto is “go big or go home,” there’s nothing bigger than Disney World for a family vacation. Mickey and friends offer up plenty of excitement for kids young and old. From live character meet-and-greets to princess-filled parades to classic rides like Finding Nemo and Space Mountain, there are plenty of reasons why the Mouse House is a longtime favorite destination. The Best Western Lake Buena Vista is close enough to Disney World to watch the fireworks but far away enough to save you hundreds of dollars per night compared to official resort properties. This clean, budget-friendly chain is walking distance to Disney Springs, offers a free shuttle to and from the parks and boasts adjoining rooms and an outdoor swimming pool. Rate: Rooms start at just $127 per night and can be bundled with airfare for even bigger savings.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Location location location! You're a part of Disney Springs without the big price tag! A pleasant walk to Disney springs or a short shuttle ride! The service from staff was excellent, very friendly and welcoming. The view from our room was lovely. For the price, this hotel was great.”

2 of 11 Image Credits: Circus Circus Hotel

Best Affordable Family Vacation Package

Circus Circus Hotel, Las Vegas

Price:$105.00

It used to be that Las Vegas was the go-to destination for bachelor parties, shotgun weddings and aspiring showgirls. These days, though, it’s one of the best cheap family vacation packages out there. Your entire family will love watching knights joust at the Excalibur Hotel, riding in a real gondola at The Venetian Hotel and hitting the arcade at Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, a reasonably priced resort with three waterslides, two outdoor pools and a real daily circus at no additional charge Rate: Rooms at Circus Circus start at just $105 per night and kids stay free. Get even more bang for your buck by purchasing a package with a rental car and airfare.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Circus met all of my expectations. It was a real blast staying there, and I'll definitely be back.”

3 of 11 Image Credits: Aulani Disney Resort & Spa

Best Hawaiian Family Vacation

Aulani Disney Resort & Spa

Price:$525.00

If your tropical island fantasies include snorkeling, fun in the sun and feasting on pineapple for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a Hawaii family vacation package could be the culmination of all your dreams come true. The Hawaiian islands offer everything from luaus to volcano tours to big waves. The Aulani Disney Resort & Spa includes all of the above and more. You’ll enjoy amenities like a full-service spa, sunrise yoga classes and a world-class golf course, while your kids will go wild for character meet-and-greets, outdoor movie nights, fire pit storytelling and the kids splash zone. Rate: Rooms start at $525 per night, but you can save hundreds of dollars by bundling your suite or villa with airfare and a rental car.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Gorgeous resort with nothing to spare. Convenience store and souvenir store onsite. Kids loved everything from the lazy pool to the spa area and everything in between.”

4 of 11 Image Credits: Beaches Turks & Caicos

Best All-Inclusive Family Vacation Package

Beaches Turks & Caicos

Price:$355.00

Beaches Turks & Caicos is an all-inclusive resort catering specifically to families. This luxury hotel, which is located in the heart of the Caribbean, is a haven for parents and kids alike. Not only can you take advantage of amenities like gourmet dining at 21 restaurants, four swim-up bars and a 45,000-square foot waterpark, but free child care for infants to teens is also included in the nightly rate. Rate: Rooms start at $355 per person for adults and just $61 per child! You also have the option of bundling your own bundle, which includes airfare. The Beaches website also runs promotional offers, so check frequently online or sign up for their newsletter to have alerts sent directly to your inbox.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“We absolutely loved our stay Beaches Resorts in Turks and Caicos. The staff was amazing and always friendly, the food was good at every restaurant, the atmosphere is amazing and tons of things to do.”

5 of 11 Image Credits: The Atlantis, Paradise Island

Best Bahamas Family Vacation Package

The Atlantis, Paradise Island

Price:$219.00

The Bahamas are infamous for white sand beaches and crystal blue waters, but Atlantis, Paradise Island, is the number one destination for families traveling with kids. This lavish resort includes lagoons, waterfalls, a Mayan temple-themed waterslide park, the world’s largest open-air marine habitat, as well as 11 swimming pools and 5 miles of breathtaking beaches. Rate: Hotel rooms start at just $219 a night, with vacation packages including airfare out of New York City starting as low as $900 per person!

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The Royal Tower was awesome. It is a great place to spend time with your children. The programs at Dolphin Cay made the stay a blast!”

6 of 11 Image Credits: Club Med Punta Cana

Best Caribbean Family Vacation Package

Circus-Themed Pool at Club Med Punta Cana

Price:$161.00

Looking for a Caribbean vacation package that will wow everyone from toddlers to teens? Club Med Punta Cana is a kid-friendly resort in the Dominican Republic that offers fancy features like a real circus school from Cirque du Soleil performers, oceanfront family suites, a dedicated kids’ pool and a private stretch of white sand beach where you can enjoy the view and watch the sunset every night. There’s also a kids’ club, free water activities, kid-themed meals and babysitting. The resort recently underwent a $36-million renovation, so all of the rooms look brand spankin’ new. Rate: Rates start at $161 per person at this luxury resort, which boasts all of the amenities you’d expect from one of the biggest and best-known chains in the hospitality industry. You also have the option to include airfare by booking directly on the official Club Med website.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I absolutely love this Club Med, there are amazing activities - between water sports, circus, sports activities and all the rest, you are sure to not get bored!”

7 of 11 Image Credits: Park Plaza County Hall London

Best European Family Vacation Package

Park Plaza County Hall London

Price:$300.00

If you have Harry Potter-obsessed kids at home, look no further than London for your next family getaway. The Park Plaza County Hall London is a great option for families, thanks to its close proximity to major tourist attractions like the London Eye (you can see it from your window!), the House of Parliament and Big Ben. Don’t miss a trip to Piccadilly Circus, The West End or afternoon tea with your little princess at Harrods department store while you’re in town. Rate: Rates start at just under $300 for a room at the Park Plaza, but save yourself some pocket change by booking a bundle online with airfare at Hotels.com.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Beautiful place and location. Very friendly staff. Breakfast was excellent and elegant.”

8 of 11 Image Credits: Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington D.C. Georgetown

Best United States Vacation Package

Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington D.C. Georgetown

Price:$175.00

Washington, D.C., is our nation’s capital, so it’s no wonder so many parents jump at the chance to take their kids to see the Washington Monument and the White House during school breaks. Not only is this the best place in the country to learn firsthand about how government works, but It’s also a great destination for families to explore world-renowned attractions like The Smithsonian Museum, Georgetown University and the National Gallery of Art. If you stay at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Washington D.C. Georgetown, you can build a customized vacation package with airfare and a room via Orbitz. Rate: Room rates start at just $175 a night for a suite and include free breakfast for the entire family.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Indoor pool was major attraction for the families in winter. Great location for all sightseeing, museums and restaurants.”

9 of 11 Image Credits: Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge

Best Affordable Vacation Package

Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge, Branson, Missouri

Price:$100.00

If you are anyone in your family is a country music fan, head directly to Branson, Missouri. This small town, situated in the Ozark Mountains, is a hotbed for country music, drawing fans from all over the world. Book a vacation package for you and your little crooners at the Marriott’s Willow Ridge Lodge, a picturesque hotel with free cribs, indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a full kitchenette. Rate: Rates start as low as $100 per night plus the cost of airfare and a rental car.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The hotel staff was friendly and helpful. The room was clean and comfortable and the grounds were beautiful and well maintained. This property has daily activities that are suitable for the entire family.”

10 of 11 Image Credits: Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Best Adventure Vacation Package

Grand Canyon Railway Hotel

Price:$71.00

Want a memorable vacation your entire family will never forget? Check The Grand Canyon off your bucket list by booking a vacation package with airfare at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. This recently renovated hotel was designed to look like a historic train depot. Guests can also enjoy family-friendly amenities like a pet hotel, indoor swimming pool and a train depot which takes you directly to The Grand Canyon. Rate: A room with two queen-sized beds starts at just $71 and up, excluding airfare to and from the nearby Phoenix airport.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The location is amazing! Very clean and comfortable. The staff was extremely helpful and friendly!”

11 of 11 Image Credits: The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal

Best Costa Rica Vacation Package

The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal

Price:$500.00

Miles of sandy white beaches, acres of rainforests and world-renowned surfing make Costa Rica a popular destination for families. This lush hotspot is also home to a wide variety of wildlife including monkeys, birds and crocodiles, which are bound to thrill everyone in your entire family. The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal, a luxury family-friendly resort which includes amenities like PS4s, a swimming pool, hot springs and full-service spa. Rate: Rates start at $500 a night excluding airfare, which vary depending on your departure city.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“Incredible. The hotel and facilities are top notch. Will definitely return.”