Letting your kids plan a family vacation should be something you allow to happen often, but at least once. Allowing the kids to plan a vacation gets them off the hook of doing things they don’t want to do, plus you would be surprised at how much they get into the vacation planning. And, when we let our teens plan a vacation this year, it was one of the BEST family vacations we’ve ever had. I’m sharing how we planned our Anaheim Vacation below. Thank you to Kia and Anaheim Vacation House for partnering with us!

Reasons your kids should plan a family vacation

the other teen decided not to participate in our Sedona Selfie

Our Reasons Kids Should Plan a Vacation | Anaheim Vacation Tips

note: this post is photo heavy. All photos were taken with our Samsung Galaxy Note 8. 

California has always been my second home. I fell in love with the west coast vibes, great weather, amazing food, and chill atmosphere when I was a young girl. As I grew older, I visited on a regular basis. Now, as I’m growing my family, my boys also have fallen in love with California, and understand my love for it. 

So, it wasn’t a surprise at a recent family meeting the vote to spend our spring break in California was a unanimous decision. When planning family vacations, I get the boys involved. Because let’s be honest… a family vacation is NOT a vacation for the parents. It’s a trip for us, and a vacation for the kids. So, Derrick and I decided to go along on this adventure with the boys, allowing them to decide on what they wanted to do the entire time.

The only time D and I injected our opinions was about the food. We’re both foodies, and we’ve indoctrinated the foodie culture into our kids. Of course, we knew stopping at In-N-Out a few times was a priority, but after that, the boys were open to trying new ideas. And when they didn’t, Derrick and I got them their favorite fast food, dropped them off at the vacation house, and went to find some of the best food Anaheim had to offer. 

Why you should allow your kids to plan a family vacation

When you allow your kids to plan or give their input about their vacation, not only are expectations set, but the kids feel more engaged about THEIR vacation

Over the years, we’ve learned by trial and error some of the best and worst things to do on vacation. One of the best things everyone should do is, relax. A vacation should not be spent rushing and running the whole time; you come home exhausted. We build relaxing time into our schedule, and staying in a vacation home allows us that freedom. 

  • Less back and forth of what to do. The plans were put in place before leaving.
  • Be sure to set a budget. Kids are expensive, and their ideas can cost a lot of money! 
  • This is teaching them how to plan for their vacations in the future. 
  • They are also learning valuable life skills about being organized, planning, budgeting money, and how to research things to do in a new destination.
  • Allowing kids to plan their vacation will also allow them to DREAM BIG! 

Best places to stay in Anaheim

Best places to stay in Anaheim

One thing I highly recommend, if you plan to vacation in an area for several days is to consider a vacation home. Staying in a vacation home gives everyone space, allows you to save money by buying and cooking food, and gives you a chance to relax. One of the best places to stay in Anaheim, California, and one we highly recommend is Anaheim Vacation House. We’ve stayed at Anaheim Vacation House for the first time a few years ago and loved it. Staying in a vacation home has spoiled us to what we have at home. The boys enjoy being able to have their own room, including their own bathrooms; and as the parents, we enjoy having a Master bedroom located on the opposite side of the house with our own bathroom. 

  • You can save money by buying groceries and cooking a few meals. We love to explore new restaurants while we are on vacation, but eating out 2-3x per day can add up. Our family can easily spend $100- $150 per day on food. 
  • Staying with Anaheim Vacation House means you are super close to Disneyland. Most people who are in the Anaheim area are coming to spend a few days at Disneyland and California Adventure park. You can request to stay at a property that is close to Disneyland, which means you could walk to the park (and save on the $25 parking fee). 
  • Many of the hotels cost the SAME amount (or more) as staying in a vacation home. Your money goes further when you plan your stay in a vacation rental like Anaheim Vacation House. 
  • Create memories together as a family. One of the BEST things I love about staying in a vacation home is the memories that we can create as a family. We can have a movie night, with popcorn and brownies. The boys can play in their own pool, and the hubs and I can jump in and join the fun. 
  • We also packed light. Since most airlines charge a baggage fee, everyone took a backpack with enough clothes for four days. Knowing this ahead of time, allowed us to maximize our space and save money by not paying a fee for our luggage. I was able to do laundry in our vacation home. 

best places to stay in Anaheim

Here’s a look at what happened when letting our teens (and tween) plan a vacation:

Best spring break ideas for boys

As soon as the boys woke up on the first morning in our Anaheim Vacation House, they jumped into the pool. Breakfast could wait. 

Best trip ideas for boys

The brotherly love that happened during their vacation was pretty amazing. They fight like cats and dogs at home, but during “most” of the trip, they were like this. Amazing what a pool of water will do to our kids. 

Best spring break ideas for boys

This is the youngest twin and the youngest son. As much as Zayd’n annoys the mess out of Zion, Zion still tolerates him (in doses). 

Best spring break ideas for boys

And this is the oldest twin, Ziah. All three of our boys LOVE water, but I would have to say that Ziah is the best swimmer. We keep encouraging him to try out for the swim team. 

Best spring break ideas for boys

It was hard to get them out of the pool. But, this was their vacation. The first day, they spent most of the time in the pool. And the weather was perfect. 

Best family vacation ideas in California

And once I picked up Derrick from the Anaheim train station (he was in San Diego for a Kia Media event), the boys begged for him to jump in. He ended up surprising them and jumped in without changing into his swimsuit. The boys LOVED it. This is one of the fun things you can do when you have a private pool– you don’t have to worry about splashing anyone else or being bothered with other people. 

Best spring break ideas for boys

This is love! This is what vacation looks like! Black Panther Character Meet and Greet at Disney's California Adventure Park

The next day we got up early, had breakfast, and hopped into our Kia Sedona and headed to Disney. We spent the day at Disneyland and California Adventure Park (another item on the boys’ list). We got to do the Black Panther Meet and Greet, hop on many of the boys’ favorite rides, and enjoy some of the best food in Disneyland. Staying in a vacation home allows you to pack lunches, save money and time by having breakfast before you leave, and being close by means you can go home for a break. 

Nerf gun party ideas for boys

The next day while on a Target run, Zayd’n informed they were planning a Nerf war, and he needed supplies. He didn’t need the Black Panther mask, but this was his vacation (and his spending money). When the boys plan their vacation, we also give them spending money. They get to spend it on whatever they want to buy, without little to no input from the parents. 

Nerf gun party ideas for boys

It’s safe to say the Nerf party was a success. Even the teens had fun! 

Nerf gun party ideas for boys

As their mom, it was quite enjoyable to sit back and relax. Yes, the mom, relaxing on vacation with kids. This is what happens when you let them do most of the planning. They get to do things THEY want to do, instead of being dragged around to places that have no interest to them. Yes, they could have a Nerf party at home. Yes, they can swim at home. But, there’s something unique and quite cool about having a Nerf party in a private pool while on vacation. 

Nerf gun party ideas for boys

And again, it’s their vacation. Parents, you could save yourself so much stress by allowing your kids to plan the family vacation. If your kids are too young, then find 1-2 activities that they would enjoy doing. Make sure they have input. 

Best vacation homes in Anaheim

Each vacation home offers a game room. The boys spent time competing against each other in ping-pong. 

Best Vacations for teens

Best Vacations for Teens

I noticed this year our boys really enjoyed their vacation. I’m kicking myself for taking so long to figure out that teens should help plan a vacation. Also on their list of things to do during our California vacation:

  • Find good food to eat. Since we’ve been to this area for a few times, the boys have a few spots they like to eat at.  {stay tuned for our foodie post on the best places to eat in Anaheim}
  • Go shopping. Yes, there is something cool about shopping while on vacation. 
  • Go to Downtown Disney for shopping and beignets. 
  • Go-Karting.
  • Relax. 
  • Find the best churro place in Anaheim. (I planted this idea in Zayd’n’s head. He went with it. #missionaccomplished) best churros in Anaheim
  • Bring their video game systems with them. (this was the only thing I gave input on. I wanted them to take a break from gaming, but they did ask). Anaheim Vacation Homes have T.V.’s in each bedroom and living room area. And you will also find a Nintendo Wii system in most homes. 
  • Spending time some our favorite people in SoCal!
  • Explore new areas in the L.A. area. 

 

best vacation ideas for teens

Family vacation ideas with teenagers

My kids still enjoy going to museums, the beach, and outdoor activities. However, for this trip, they wanted a relaxed schedule. They run all the time during the school year, exams, research projects, etc. They wanted to enjoy some downtime, with a pool, in a warm state. In the past, they have picked things like:

  • Whale watching 
  • Alligator boat rides
  • More theme parks (the Anaheim area has a few)
  • Rock Climbing and Rope Climbing Adventure Parks
  • San Diego Zoo (and Safari)
  • Sea World
  • Exploring Hollywood Blvd. 

tips for planning a family vacation

This is two parents that survived a trip with a tween and two teen boys! 

We carted around the Anaheim area in a 2017 Kia Sorento. This mini-van is big enough to hold three growing boys, giving them room to stretch out, as well as hold all of our cargo.
This was not a vacation for us. It was a vacation for our kids; we just came along to pay for everything, snap photos of them having fun, and doing our best to create forever moments for our boys.

best vacation ideas for teens

Having in Chinatown

Allowing our boys to plan a family vacation was the best thing I could have done for a fun, family vacation. Yes, there were moments of bickering. There were times the boys were absorbed into their world and phones. Hey, that’s teen life. 

Best family vacation ideas for teens

But, they had fun. And at the end of the day, creating memories, they will cherish forever is all that matters. Have you let your kids plan a vacation? We want to hear about it, drop a line below! Or, if you haven’t tried this, DO it!

best vacation ideas for teens

Happy faces! Another family vacation in the books!

And, if you are planning a vacation in the Anaheim area for Pixar Fest and to going to California Adventure Park, specifically for the Black Panther meet and greet (only available for a limited time), then Anaheim Vacation House is where you want to start!