Guest Blogger: Kendra Thornton
Restoring Peace and Sanity to Your Summer Vacation
In my family, our summer vacation is a genuine highlight. Over the years, I’ve learned that we can have fun pretty nearly anywhere as long as we plan. If being together is what counts, then spending some extra time planning is definitely worthwhile. If you follow these extra tips for your next family trip, you’ll be sure to spend the most time making the memories of a lifetime.
Television: A Traveling Mom’s Best Friend
If you’re traveling by car, make the most of your vehicle’s entertainment system. Stuff a bunch of DVDs into a flat carrier to keep the kids entertained for hours. If you’re flying, look for airlines that have television screens in the back of each seat. Many of today’s flights play children’s programming round the clock. If you’re traveling outside of North America, think about investing in a portable DVD player. Even if your hotel has one in each room, they may not be compatible with your DVDs.
Flying the (Un)Friendly Skies
Flying is a hassle these days that is made even more complicated when you’re trying to move small children through the airport. Reduce your stress by choosing to stand in one less line. Most airlines provide online check in staring about 24 hours before your flight. Use this tool, and you’ll arrive at the airport with boarding passes already in hand. I also try to schedule my family’s flights as early in the day as possible – this reduces the chances of runway backups and cuts down on the traffic through security.
Look for hotels that are kid friendly and priced right for your budget. For instance, scope out the pool to see if there is a slide and other fun kid-friendly entertainment. If you’re traveling with small children, look for a hotel with an age-appropriate wading pool. If you’re staying at a resort, make sure you know how far the rooms are from the pool or beach. There is nothing worse than having to trek a mile with a few little ones and all your beach attire!
How to figure this out? Utilize your research skills before you choose your hotel by reading reviews and recommendations from other families. When traveling to Hawaii, I was able to read up on the top hotels in Honolulu before booking to ensure my family would have the best time possible. This is a great way to discover hidden gems in your destination city as well, such as unique restaurants and discounted family fun.
Staging a Quick Escape
Navigating an unfamiliar airport at your destination can be nightmarish. A few days before you leave home, visit the airport’s website to download a map you can use to find your way from the gate to the car rental counter, taxi stand or mass transit stop. If you’re departing from an unfamiliar airport as well, or even just need a quick refresher, make sure you know where your airlines counter is in relation to where you’ll be leaving your car. These few minutes of effort before leaving home can save a lot of aggravation and whining as well as aid in getting you on your way to your hotel as quickly as possible.
Plan for a Smooth Re-entry
Coming home is always sad, but it becomes downright hectic when you don’t plan for it. It’s easy to get caught up in the preparations to leave and even easier to forget that you actually will have to return. Make packing up for the return trip a snap by including plastic bags and a foldable bag or suitcase in your luggage. The plastic bags can hold dirty clothes, which will simply get dumped in a hamper or the washer when you get home. The foldable bag is the perfect place to store any souvenirs picked up along the way. Look into the best foldable bag for your needs, depending on space, price and style!