I love to combine learning and vacationing together, my kids on the other hand, not so much. Maybe I am a slow learner or just hard-headed it but it took me about 5 kids to figure out that I needed to “trick” them into learning. I used to say things like, “You will LEARN something!” or “We can count this as school”, but I don’t say anything now.   My standard byline is, “I am looking forward to checking out this place, what do you think you are going to like about it?” Crazy enough they participate in that one. However, there is a time or two they roll their eyes and say, “Nothing! I am not going to like anything!” (and then they love it) I hope that after reading this blog you will plan an educational family vacation.

To me, learning new things is just something that makes a trip well worth the effort.

If you listened to the podcast on Homeschooling.mom and are looking for the download it is here: Our Family Trip Journal

How To Plan an Educational Vacation:

This is tricky based on where you are going. My tried and true steps are this:

  1. Be intentional when planning

Make sure you plan for relaxation, rejuvenation, and recreation! If you get caught up in planning every detail for learning it will be a bust.

2. Pick someplace that you have been learning about

This little tip is a real winner. Believe me, when the kids put the BOOK learning together with the SEEING what they have been learning, it really makes the education stick!

3. Let the kids help plan

I have the older kids research the destination and help pick lodging. With younger kids, I show them a YouTube video to get them excited and ask them what they liked best in the video. It’s the little things that help get them ready for a trip.

4. Budget!

Make one and try to stick to it. We eat a lot of PBJ on road trips at rest areas. We save TONS of money by not going through drive-thrus for every meal. (Yes, the kids do complain sometimes.)

How To Make the Trip Memorable and Unique

Every family will be different but for me, I have done a few things to make going to new places even more interesting! Here are a few ideas to help your creative juices get flowing!

  • Use living books as a springboard for ideas
  • Dress up in costume when visiting a historical place
  • Do Jr. Ranger books in advance of your trip to get kids (and yourself) excited
  • Go somewhere you have NEVER been before
  • Set up a private tour of a historical museum
  • We are headed out for a trip soon and I booked a fishing charter to take the kids out on the lake to learn about fish anatomy, wind direction, boat safety, and current.

Want to read more about what got us on a backcountry hike into the Rocky Mountain National Park? Read about there here.

Step by Step Planning Tips:

If you are still like HUH?!?! Here is my step by step planning


  • Research
  • Read books
  • Set up how you are keeping track of learning
  • Watch videos

On the Trip:


  • Make a memory box
  • Create a Chatbook
  • Have the kids write a paper or paragraph about what they learned
  • Kids can draw a picture of their favorite memory
  • Vlog about it (you don’t have to post it publicly)

#Learnbygoing is a motto I live by. Every day is an opportunity to learn something new.

When traveling or day-tripping make sure to sneak in these moments to learn! There is so much out there and expanding your horizons and experiences will enlarge your mind and create life long memories!

Happy Adventures,


Click here for a FREE downloadable Family Trip Journal Page

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