My family is getting ready for the annual Gough Summer vacation coming up in a few days - it's always so nice to have all the details and location and stay taken care of for us by my Mother and Father in law but packing and food planning and house sitters and dog sitters with a house full of kids...it's a lot of work to make sure the whole thing goes off without a hitch. Today I have a special guest post from reader, Kendra Thornton - a guru in all things travel planning she wanted to share her top five easy travel tips with me and I thought it would be fun to share with you too just in case you're getting ready for a vacation of your own! Take it away Kendra and thanks so much for these!!
Being in charge of your next family getaway can seem a little intimidating, but it’s really nothing a globe-trotting mom like you can’t handle with a little strategic planning. The Internet is full of valuable information and user-friendly booking tools, so you already have access to every resource you need to come up with an amazing itinerary. The key to turning it all into a dream holiday that works equally well for sophisticated adults and rambunctious kids is the tough part, but don’t panic just yet. Following the five smart travel tips below can help you plan an unforgettable trip that goes off without a hitch from the second you start planning to the day you come home.
1. Break up your planning schedule into smaller, more manageable steps. Taking care of one thing at a time is the best way to control your stress levels before any family travel trip. Referring to old lists or looking up example lists on the Internet can help stimulate your brain to whole categories you may have forgotten. Write out a step-by-step planning and packing guide to stay on track. Don’t forget your list of must do’s as well – including lawn maintenance and pet sitting. To make packing a breeze, try Apple’s Packing Pro app.
2. Use trip reports and reviews to find the best destinations and deals. One of the biggest benefits to online travel forums and social media websites is being able to tap into an endless stream of feedback from other explorers. Reviews are great for narrowing down your choices for accommodations and attractions while message boards are ideal for planning your itinerary and getting personalized advice. I use Gogobot, which allows me to connect with other mothers in my social network and see where they’ve gone and what they’ve thought. Their list of Walt Disney Orlando hotels was a great way for my family of five to find our ideal accommodation equipped with a huge pool for our family of swimmers. Remember that you need to pick a destination that will make everyone happy, so be ready to compromise. If you want a tropical paradise but your kids are looking for an adventure, opt for a family friendly resort in a relaxing beach location.
3. Choose pretty and practical luggage. With a family in tow, you don’t want to struggle with bulky suitcases. To keep your luggage organized without getting weighed down, break it up into a few smaller suitcases and bags. With designs that range from summer stripes to multi-colored patterns, tote bags are the perfect accessory for on-the-go moms who like to travel in style. Use yours to store anything you need to carry with you on the plane or while you are exploring including wallet, keys, cell phone, diapers and an extra shirt for everyone on the trip.
4. Pack clothes that fit your itinerary. While you do want to look great on vacation, it’s extremely important to pack clothes that are going to be functional. With so many different choices available in stores and online, you don’t need to choose between comfort and style - you can have both! Clothes that can double as different outfits are especially useful when you have limited space. For example, a long wrap skirt can work as both a flattering bathing suit cover-up during the day and a beautiful maxi dress at night. Scarves can also serve a variety of purposes – from a pillow on the plane to a sassy belt for your new jeans.
5) Distraction Attractions Keeping small children occupied during a long flight requires some ingenious planning. Consider a portable DVD player along with a combination of favorite movies. Perhaps purchase a few new ones for the trip or check out the selection at your local library. The chance to watch something new and different helps keep young attention spans fully engaged. If your child relies on a bedtime movie before they go to sleep, make sure to bring a portable DVD player on your trip, as the DVDs from your homecountry may not be compatible with international players.