Tips for Planning Your Winter Family Vacation

by Amanda Lee

Let’s face it, when it comes to a vacation over the winter, Canadian families have got one of two options: run like heck to warmer climes or embrace the cold!

We know the holiday period can be stressful enough, so we’ve put together some tips on how to plan your winter holiday vacation and keep your sanity.

First off, take a moment to decide what type of family holiday you want to take. Are you looking to embrace nature or soak up the sun? Do you want relaxation and do nothing more stressful than raise a drink, or are your family adventure seekers who love to keep active?

Winter Wonderland

family ski trip

Canadian families have access to a winter playground right in their own back yard! Why not embrace the season and ski at some of the world’s best resorts? British Columbia is known for their stunning ski slopes, but you can also ski at Newfoundland’s Marble Mountain Resort, in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. The resort has over 30 runs and shorter lineups (which means more time on piste!)  While Mont Tremblantʼs pretty pedestrian village means there’s no need to fly to Europe to ski!

Many ski resorts also offer other activities beyond skiing to keep children happy. Whistler Resort’s family-friendly fun includes an outdoor skating rink and Tube Park, or mush through Gros Morne National Park with huskies at Marble Mountain.

Leave learning to ski to the professionals! Resorts offer lessons to teach youngsters how to ski and snowboard, and it’s a good idea to call and book lessons in advance.  You can contact the resort and reserve ski equipment ahead of time – which will save on packing and baggage fees. Although it’s also a good idea to pack extra hat, mitts and snow boots and pants in case items get lost.

When it comes to saving money, look into ski vacation packages which include ski lift and lodgings or rent a chalet for a week and save with self-catering meals.


Sun Seeker

When it comes to escaping the cold, Canadians are spoiled for choice — there are plenty of destinations just a plane ride away! If your biggest decision might be deciding where to go, Flight Centre’s Travel Consultants can help with suggestions to suit your budget and tastes.

An all-inclusive is a convenient way to travel with kids – especially younger children. Generally you’re only paying once for accommodation and meals, and activities are also included. Best of all, there’s no need to go elsewhere. When it comes to choosing an all-inclusive, check out reviews; either from someone who has been there or a consultant with personal experience of that destination. It’s also a good idea to inquire where your room is located on the property – is it close to the pool or beach? Avoid excess trekking back-and-forth with younger children.  You can also save money looking for deals where kids can stay or eat for free.

One of the advantages of an all-inclusive are the kid’s clubs. Know ahead of time program information such as hours of operation, age of children eligible to use the kid’s club and  policies on issues such as toilet training.

Depending on your family’s level of adventure, skip the all-inclusive entirely and look slightly off the beaten track for a fresh experience – such as staying in Tulum instead of Cancun. Part of the joy of travelling is eating in local restaurants or sleeping in a rustic cabana set by the sea.

Packing up the car and driving down south is somewhat a rite of passage for Canadian families. The most arduous part of the driving is enduring hours of, ʺAre we there yet?ʺ While electronics will keep children entertained, long haul journeys are ideal for old school games such as Eye Spy or Twenty Questions. In the race to get to your destination, be sure to build in regular stops and meal breaks. And you’re driving for more than one day, plan ahead and  book the first night’s accommodation in advance.

The beauty of driving to your destination is you already have transport. Save further by on accommodation booking a beach house or condo and catering your own meals.



Hot Tips to Keep Your Cool

  • Say yes! (This one word might save you many headaches.) It’s your children’s holiday too and most kids – even younger ones – appreciate that relaxing the rules on vacation doesn’t necessarily apply once you are back home.
  • It’s a good idea to pack a simple first aid kit and medication for children and a strong sunscreen for protection.
  • Consider holidaying with another family. This is a great way to share costs on rented accommodation and food, as well as built-in playmates for children.
  • If your family has flexibility, you’re more likely to find a better deal in the shoulder season (talk to a Flight Centre Travel Consultant for more info about this).
  • On-line message boards are also a great resource for parents to post questions and find out about other countries or destinations before you arrive.
  • Pack unwrapped presents to help breeze through customs. And speaking of presents, avoid excess baggage fees and leave larger gifts at home for when you return.
  • Adequate travel insurance should be one less thing you need to worry about when travelling as a family – especially if your plans include activities such as skiing or scuba diving. A Flight Centre Travel Consultant can help to make sure you’ve got the right kind of insurance to cover your flights, luggage and health.


To start planning your family vacation, contact a Flight Centre Travel Consultant by calling 1-877-967-5302, visiting your closest store, or connecting with them online.

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