Monday, June 3, 2013

Vacation Time! 5 Tips to Prepare for Your Summer Trip

For me, vacations are the best way to spending quality time with my family. When traveling with kids, the key to eliminate stress is preparation. While not wanting to overwhelm those new to family vacations, I have picked five quick tips to help you prepare for your next family adventure.

1. The List.
When planning and packing for your entire family, life is easier with a to-do list. After many years of traveling without the kids, I admittedly thought I didn’t truly need a list. However after forgetting to pack socks, I learned to be safe rather than sorry. Feel a little overwhelmed? Start with categories such as outfits, toiletries, entertainment, and important documents. List everything you can think of under these headings – if you decide you don’t need to pack your curling iron later, that’s fine! Make a list for other to-do items as well, such as mowing the lawn and stopping the mail.

2. Look into kid friendly lodging.
Yes, these places do exist. There are several different types of family-friendly resorts that you may be interested in. If your family loves to swim, you may enjoy an indoor waterpark or tropical location with beach access. If you’re looking to hit the slopes, a ski resort with lessons for all ages may be your cup of tea. Many family friendly resorts and hotels offer kids clubs that provide children with a safe and fun environment to learn, laugh and explore. This is an excellent chance for you to relax or enjoy some downtime with your spouse. As a mother of three, a family friendly resort was perfect for my family on our trip to Hawaii. But just because your accommodations cater to kids does not mean they skimp on quality! Still ranked amongst Honolulu’s best hotels, we were all thrilled with our stay.

3. Book an early flight and avoid delays.
As painful as it may be to get the family ready and to the airport, expect greater delays in the terminal when booking a later flight. Many flights get behind throughout the day for a variety of reasons. An earlier flight gets you to your destination on time and decreases the potential for meltdowns while at the airport. If you do encounter a delay, try going for a walk in the terminal or playing I-Spy to keep the kids distracted and content.

4. Never underestimate the importance of water safety.
The beach is a popular summertime destination for many families. Swim lessons are essential even if you wont make it to the beach this summer as many hotels have swimming pools. Becoming familiar with the water and learning the basics will make you and your child feel better about your upcoming trip. Make sure the instructor is certified and try looking for a parent recommendation before enrolling.

5. Use a tablet to occupy your kids on a long drive.
When my family is set to embark on a long car ride, I am sure to bring my fully charged iPad. With different interests and ages, I allow each of them to take their turn with the device to avoid arguments and act as a reward for good car trip behavior. You can child-proof your device to restrict access and protect your tablet from accidental changes or deletions. Going on vacation provides a break from the distractions of home and being prepared helps eliminate many traveling hassles. Hopefully these tips will help you and your family enjoy your next vacation.

Bio: Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I've found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have taken my excitement for travel and brought it to you with some of my favorite travel tips and tricks. Enjoy!

Photo Credit: Difei Li via Compfight cc

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