If you’re like me, you pride yourself on planning the perfect summer vacation. While perfection may be difficult to achieve, I find planning makes perfect. The trick is to be as prepared as possible so that you can really enjoy that quality family time. Planning is the key to successfully getting everyone packed and ready to go on the departure date.
1. Lists Are Your Friends
A good friend doesn’t let you down when the going gets tough, and that’s exactly how you should look at your vacation lists. Start making your lists weeks before vacation. Personally, I love making lists, so a vacation is just an excuse to indulge myself. I’ll make lists about stopping the newspaper and mail and calling the dog sitter. I’ll make lists about what to pack for every family member. Don’t leave anything off, even obvious items like underwear. In the last minute rush, it’s often the obvious things that get overlooked.
If you’re always on the go or someone who tends to misplace things, you may want to keep your list digital with an app like Packing Pro. This smart phone accessory not only keeps your list ordered and convenient but also suggests items you may have forgotten to add.
2. Dehydration Is a Real Mood Killer
Few things drive moms and kids crazy faster than being dehydrated. In my experience, it’s the number one cause of whining and crying on vacation. Keep water on you at all times. A refillable water bottle is best. Get the kids each a water bottle that’s sized appropriately for them and have them fill it at drinking fountains whenever possible. If you prefer disposable water bottles, I suggest the sport top bottles. These are slightly more expensive but are easier to close and therefore result in less of a mess when spilled.
3. Routines Keep Everyone on an Even Keel
Vacations take us out of our ruts, but kids don’t always deal well when routines are disrupted. As much as possible, keep meal and nap times on a regular schedule. I know during my vacations, my husband and I like to treat ourselves to some nicer options, which often come with a longer dining experience that may not be amenable to grumbly stomachs. Bring some extra snacks to appease the kids that won’t ruin their appetites. Kids are also likely to need even more sleep than usual thanks to all the vacation excitement. Accordingly, make a point of keeping regular bedtimes for everyone.
4. Lock in Lodging Early
Much of your vacation will likely revolve around your accommodations, so this is not the area of your vacation to skimp on! Whether it be a resort that has it all or a little B&B for your weekend getaway, make sure you pick the lodging that best suits your family’s needs and budget. Using a reviews site or social media forum can really help you sort through the hundreds of options for your vacation destination. When my family was traveling to Hawaii, we were able to limit our search of Honolulu hotels to those closest to Diamond Head, a must see for my crew. The Internet is a great free alternative to a travel agent and can give you advice from other families who have already been there.
5. Don’t Forget Yourself
Sure, this is a family vacation, but don’t forget that you’re a part of the family too. Plan special attractions just for the kids and ones that your husband will enjoy. However, also make a point of getting a little “me” time. Whether it’s a spa appointment or a romantic dinner with your partner, this might be one of your favorite vacation memories.
*A huge thanks to Kendra- guest blogger for this post. Kendra is 37 years old and a mother of 3. Before being promoted to the full time position of mom, she was the former Orbitz Director of Communications where she was able to travel all around the world. She’s been to 28 countries on 6 continents and has been quoted in the news about seasonal travel trends and destinations all over the United States. She has stepped out of the corporate world to take on the role of being number one wife and mom to her family.
With the summer vacation season rapidly approaching I hope to bring you more great tips for traveling with kids from Kendra that will certainly come in handy this summer!