This project is great for the start of learning about rates and unit rates. It allows students to plan a vacation within a budget, meanwhile stumbling upon real-life examples of rates and unit rates as they plan and research to complete their planning packet.
I used this project in my classroom this year. It not only introduced the student to real-world examples of rates (which made for great conversations in class), but it also allowed me to learn about their work ethic and strengths/weaknesses early in the year simply by observing them working.
TIPS: I had them work with one other person, using a laptop or mobile device to do research. When they finished the planning packet, I had them make a poster of some sort to communicate their trip plans to us. The poster was open-ended, and just had to have all the bolded information from the packet in it. Then, we had a mini-lesson (this is where the reflection sheet came in) on rates and unit rates.