Make the most of your family vacation with these practical tips

School’s officially out! You and your family can finally go on a much-deserved vacation for some serious bonding. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your vacation from seasoned travelers Alessandra Atienza and Don Ramon Bagatsing, who have two sets of children making up their blended family. They also own Eco Hotel, a chain of environment-friendly properties located in many scenic spots in the country.

  1. Follow the ground and earthing principle.

Alessandra suggests for parents to choose a destination that will allow children to hit the ground and experience the earthing principle. “Because children are using all these electronic gadgets and stuff. They kinda lose their connection to nature, which helps in our mental well-being. So it helps to bring them outdoors. Makahawak sila ulit ng dumi.”

At Eco Hotel’s Kaliraya Surf Kamp in Laguna, for instance, there’s a petting zoo, where guests can interact with animals. There are also camping facilities set up near Caliraya Lake for families to stay and enjoy outdoor living.


  1. Limit the use of gadgets.

Don points out, “You’re wasting your money if you go on a vacation with your family, and all your kids do is, lunch and dinner, they’re on their phone. You’re wasting money. You go on a vacation because you want to bond with your family. You show how much you love them, etc. To do that, you have to invest in time. Get off your gadgets.”

Alessandra adds, “We have that set rule during meals: bawal mag-cellphone. I have a cute birdcage. That’s my threat to them. Okay, let’s put our phones in the birdcage. Of course, they put down the gadgets na. We really believe that we need to communicate a lot. The meals are a time to do that.”

Alessandra Atienza and Don Ramon Bagatsing are the husband-and-wife team behind Eco Hotel.
  1. Be safe.

Don says the best tip for safety is to have an itinerary. “Talk to your front desk or hotel manager. Read the rules. You can’t swim if there’s a typhoon. The weather is very important also. It’s a safety feature when you travel. Watch your children. Don’t them go to the beach on their own.”


  1. Avoid overspending.

“When you go on a vacation, you really spend,” Don maintains. “So para makatipid is to plan precisely. If you don’t plan precisely, mapapagastos ka. But if you have itinerary that’s planned out, then you know how much to bring. You already know your budget in your mind.”


  1. Plan ahead.

Alessandra suggests to start planning your family weeks, or even months ahead. This will way, you’ll get cheaper airfares, if you need to fly to go to your desired destination. You will also get discounted rates in hotels and other accommodations.

Her advice: “So kung magre-research lang ang parents, they will see the promotions. It usually comes with a room and breakfast, naka-bundle na siya. Always take that because that’s always discounted.”

She also recommends direct booking instead of going to online travel agencies or websites. “Better check with travel agencies and then call the hotel directly. You’ll see you buy it lower when you talk to the hotel directly.”