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playcation planning at disney

How To Plan A Playcation With Your Friends

Have you been prioritizing play in your life?

If not, we’re here to inspire you to take a trip with one sole purpose: to play!

We recently recorded a Playground to Purpose episode all about planning a playcation, so you can add more intentional fun into your life.

Listen here:

▶︎ Listen on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher

What is a playcation versus a vacation?

Sometimes we’re in need of a trip that’s for relaxation, and sometimes we’re in need of letting loose and having some fun.

We’re calling these fun vacations, “playcations.” It’s a vacation designed for maximum fun.

You can design this trip around doing a lot of fun little activities, or around one main play bucket list activity you’ve always wanted to do like, sky diving or river rafting!

There are no rules to a playcation, but we figured we’d share some tips to make planning a group trip more enjoyable!

So, let’s get into how to plan one!

1. Figure out your playcation location

Nina’s go-to playcation trip is Disneyland and Disney World, so we dive deep into that in our episode – so listen in, if you want all the tips related to what rides are most worth it, what the must-do activities are, little hacks you should know beforehand, etc.

But, we know Disney is expensive, and it’s not everyone’s idea of a good time. So, here are some other options that might be more your style!

Other trip ideas besides Disney:

  • A beach trip with fun water activities
  • An adventure trip with ziplining
  • A winter trip with skiing, dogsledding, or maybe even doing the Polar Bear Plunge
  • A backpacking trip
  • A camping (or glamping) trip
  • A fun festival

2. Pay attention to the group dynamics

Who’s on the invite list? Be cautious about the energy of the group, and how everyone will be together.

Sometimes different friend groups don’t mesh! Pull together a group that will be a good time.

3. Pick your date, well in advance

We’re all for some spontaneous fun, so you’re welcome to plan your playcation on a whim. 

But there are definitely perks to planning well in advance. Having a countdown and something to look forward to can be a big part of the fun! Nina loved texting the group chat saying, “Only two more days!”

Plus, having to navigate everyone’s schedules in adulthood can be tricky.

4. Determine the length of time that works for you and the group

When you’re going on a trip packed with activity, it’s key to build in a day for relaxation at the end.

Nina recommends doing a trip with a max of 4 days if it’s heavy on the play – and allow yourself to have a day back home before getting back into work if you can!

If taking time off is hard for you or if you’re on a tight budget, try doing a staycation or a short weekend trip! Any amount of time you can dedicate to intentionally playing is great.

5. Create an itinerary

Nina opted to just be the go-to person who people knew to go to for the schedule and plans – and not create an actual itinerary.

But you can totally make an itinerary for the group, so everyone knows what’s going on ahead of time. Especially if you don’t want to be asked a thousand times about what’s going on next.

Be sure to have one designated planner.

Nina, Playground to Purpose co-host, with her sister on her playcation at Disney World.

6. Structure the day with flexibility

Not everyone is going to want to do the same things, so make sure your schedule allows for the space for people to do their own thing too.

Establish the essential group hangs like dinner reservations, where everyone needs to attend, and leave some of the other activities optional! 

It makes everyone happier if they feel the freedom to do their own thing, go at their own pace and take breaks. You’ll likely have some introverts and extroverts, and just different interests. So, be okay with allowing people to do their own thing.

Plus, don’t plan too much for the day – you don’t want to overwhelm yourself and the group!

7. Ask for everyone’s top priorities

Be inclusive when it comes to planning. What do the other people in the group care about most on this trip?

Ask around for the top picks of the group, so that you can accommodate everyone’s top priorities.

You don’t want this trip to just be about your idea of a fun time – try to make it enjoyable and exciting for everyone!

8. Know that things will not go according to plan, and that’s okay!

As much as we like to plan ahead so that we can control our fun, there will always be things that don’t go our way.

The best way to keep your playcation fun? Decide that it will be.

“What’s your intention for this vacation? And so even if it’s not a, playcation just like, like, how do you want to feel on your vacation?

Like, how do I want to feel today? And that’s what I did for like this playcation of like, what, what vibe am I trying to create? Like, how do I want to interact with everybody? And I don’t know, it just, just made it so great…

And I remember too, like telling myself, “Hey, when things don’t go as planned, like it’s okay. Like Everything happens like, as it should be, like, you’re going to be fine.”

9. Take it to the next level and make it an annual trip

Make it something you get to look forward to as a friend group every single year!

10. Coordinate outfits

If your group is the type to have fun with this, you can also plan to wear coordinating outfits for fun group pictures.

What you wear has an effect on how you feel, and how other people feel – which we talk about in this episode on dopamine dressing, so if you want to have a fun vacation, don’t forget to dress in a way that makes you feel playful too!

It’s time to set that date! Make your playcation happen! And come tell us about it on IG at @playgroundtopurpose.

planning a playcation - a fun vacation trip