I don’t normally accept guest postings, but I had to rethink this decision, when I got Kendra Thornton, a renowned travel expert and the former Director of Corporate Communications at Orbitz.com, one of the nation’s largest travel agencies. Today, she is sharing ideas on how moms can plan for big family vacations.
Going on vacation with the whole family doesn’t have to be a hassle. While moms get the brunt of planning, there are a lot of things that you can do to make the trip fun and easier. With a little research, some tried and true vacation tips and preventive planning, you can make sure that both kids and other adults are taken care of.
1. Pick the Right Hotel
Most vacations start with where to stay once you get there. Whatever you do, choose hotels with family friendly options. Many resorts and hotels have kids clubs with plenty of activities and complimentary meals. In addition, check out the activities at the hotel before you decide on a place to stay. On those days with in between time, the kids can check out the indoor water park, go for a horseback ride or play a round of mini golf. There are also many hotels that will provide healthy snacks, free breakfast, complimentary fridge and microwave, coffeemaker and baby care stations. Use sites like Gogobot to get insider information from fellow moms in your social network. Traveling to the ultimate kid friendly destination this summer? Look into the varying Orlando hotel options to find one that fits your family’s needs!
2. Choose Brand New Destinations
While it may be easy to navigate a familiar place, your family may get tired of going to the same hotels, amusement parks and vacation scenery. If you have older kids, it’s especially a good idea to pick some place different to go for a family vacation this year. To get the family excited, include everyone on the decision where to stay next. You can pick out five affordable destinations and allow everyone to get a vote.
3. Plan for All-Day Adventures
It can be a nightmare to deal with scheduling all-day adventures while on vacation. Many parents and kids just don’t have the energy to last all day on a hike. Every day should have a loose structure with different activities and some down time for eating, relaxation and just silly fun. For long drives, bring pillows, games, car-safe snacks like pretzels and bottled waters, portable tablets and movie players. This will keep everyone entertained and avoid five-hour car trips filled with complaints.
4. Pack for Successful Trips
Luggage has to have a strategy whether you’re traveling by road or air. You should keep your essentials in the carry-on but also look up any banned items before trying to get through air security. Carry-ons should also have games or other entertainment devices to handle layovers, delays and waiting periods. If you have a lot of luggage, make a list of each thing in suitcases and try to use color codes or animal stickers to make your luggage stand out.
5. Check your Documents
When you travel internationally with children, you’ll need to make sure you have all your documentation well in advance. Besides a passport, children traveling without both legal guardians need to have a notarized letter from the non-accompanying parent giving permission to take their child out of their home country. This can be tricky depending on your situation, so make sure you get all of your paperwork well in advance and document any inquiries in writing to accompany you on your trip. There’s nothing worse than arriving at your vacation destination only to be held up at customs – so ask questions to avoid any hiccups.
Vacations aren’t always easy but these just a few tips that will make your family travel this year a lot smoother.
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!