School’s out, summer is here! Many of us plan a family vacation away from home. There’s always so much to do before you actually go on vacation. Here’s some ideas on how you can take some of that stress away and make sure you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s.
Always leave a clean house when you go away. You don’t want dirty dishes in the sink or sitting in the dishwasher. Not only will you come home to a smelly kitchen but it will be that much harder to clean dishes. It will also attract “guests” that you don’t want in your kitchen.
Vacation travel is tiring. If you come home to a clean house you won’t be overwhelmed with everything you have to do before work the next day!
Set your lights on a timer or have someone like On The Go Concierge check your home periodically. If it’s hot outside you may need your flowers or bushes watered, trash taken out, or your mail brought in. If you need someone to stop in and feed, play, and walk your animals, we can do that for you!
Travel Prep and Packing
Download travel apps before you leave. Suggested apps are an airline app so you can check your flight status, hotel (Marriott has one), weather for the area you are going to, things to do and see, etc. There are literally hundreds. You may even want to download a foreign language app that you can challenge your family with while traveling out of the country.
Research the area that you are traveling to before you go. It will make it easier to know what types of clothes to bring, whether to pack bug spray, and what kind of shoes you’ll need. I’m such a foodie that I scout out some of the restaurants I want to try beforehand. It makes dinner planning easier and I know what to expect for the most part. There’s nothing wrong with being spontaneous but one of the fun thing about traveling is experiencing the restaurants and cuisine where you go. I enjoy seeking out all the Mexican restaurants!
I could write an entire blog on packing! There are a lot of tips out there and you can use whatever works for you and your family. Just remember to take less than you’d think you’ll need, and choose outfits that are interchangeable. I’d also recommend bringing plastic baggies. You can put your shampoo and suntan lotion in them to keep from leaking. Click here for more information on how to pack for your vacation. Don’t bring valuable or sentimental jewelry. You don’t want it lost or stolen. If you bring necklaces, here’s a great way to pack them so they don’t get tangled. Another tip is if you’re bringing home wine or alcohol, use the “swimimes” or floaties for kids. They are round, and can be inflated halfway to protect the bottle from breaking.
Don’t forget to wear comfortable slip on shoes if you are flying. Don’t be that guy holding up the entire security line! Also your Alex and Ani bracelets will set off the alarm. No biggie, just be aware.
Dress in layers. If you are flying, airplanes can get chilly and many don’t offer blankets or pillows anymore. If it’s a flight over a couple hours you’ll want to buy a neck pillow. Even if you don’t use it you can put it behind your lower back. It helps! If you are traveling to Europe here are ways to avoid or deal with jet lag.
I’m not a real germaphobe but bring some disinfectant wipes with you. The trays on airplanes are disgusting. You really don’t want to eat off where someone put a dirty tissue or handled the tray with unwashed hands do you? These wet wipes will be great for your entire trip including bathroom door handles and even cleaning up after your kids. You can buy a travel size at Target.
Common sense says to make sure you’ve charged your Ipad, cellphone, etc. Especially if you have little ones with you! Bring regular books (what a concept!) and surprise them with something new that they can do on the trip like an interactive game. I remember being entertained for hours doing Mad Libs and reading a Highlights magazine!
If you’re driving on a long trip, be conscious of traffic patterns and time of day. You don’t want to be stuck in NYC or Washington DC in rush hour traffic. You may even want to leave the night before to avoid these times. Keep in mind summer is prime for road CONSTRUCTION. You will hit it, it’s just a matter of where and when. Some GPS systems will let you know if there’s construction and yes, there are apps for that! Plan to be delayed and have water in the car for the kids. Double edge sword because of bathroom breaks!
You’ve Made It!
Now that you’ve reached your destination familiarize yourself with the lay of the land. We’re all generally pretty curious so find out where the ice machine, coffee shop, and general amenities are.
I’ve found that asking the front desk for a restaurant or shopping doesn’t always work. You’re at the mercy of someone’s opinion that is usually pretty young. I’ve found that if you leave the hotel and start asking local people that live in the area you’re better off. The best places to eat are usually off the beaten path and local favorites. Another resource for that is Tripadvisor. If the hotel has a concierge, that’s a good place to start but sometimes they are partial to what business cards they happen to have on file.
If you’ve traveled a long distance, don’t go to sleep when you get to your hotel. It’s just going to throw your body clock off. If you want to lay down on the bed to rest fine, especially if you’ve driven all day but be careful you might just end up more tired. It’s better to crash at the end of the day and “pack it in” as we say in our family!
Take photos! It’s great that we are using our cell phones to take pictures but what do you actually do with them when you get home? How about creating a book of memories? Many of our photos end up on the computer and that’s where they stay. Watch for online coupons or you can easily get software to create a vacation book. Give it to your spouse for their birthday or for Christmas. With most of them you can pick a theme and just drop in your photos with a caption. Easy peasy. If you need help with that, we can do it for you.
Lastly, have fun!! Traveling can be stressful especially when you’re in a unfamiliar place. If you do the research beforehand, and have an idea of the lay of the land you’ll have a better time. If you need help with your travel research, On The Go Concierge is here to make recommendations and help you book your travel.
For more travel tips and adventures check out my Pinterest Page!