Spring Break – Surviving Vacation With Family

Ahh …Spring Break, that time of the year when children, teenagers and young adults suddenly descend upon your quite space.  The time of the day generally reserved for you, your Mom time, the time when you do all the things us Mom’s do during the day.  Now, instead of finishing that novel, painting your next master piece or Tuesday yoga classes …your weekday-daytime role has changed.  Enter CEO of the household; you are an entertainer, chauffeur, activity director and the list goes on.  So what does everyone in your household, including the CEO do when school shuts down for a week?  Pack the car up!  Reserve your plan ticket!  Go on a family vacation!

A few things to remember early on:

To make sure everyone has an enjoyable trip, be sure to choose a trip for all ages.

Set a Budget. Travel with your family does not have to be expensive. Decide on a comfortable budget that works for your family and include an allowance that provides for extra items such as souvenirs and a few unexpected activities.  Involve your family to make sure they agree with your travel plans.  But, do remember do NOT limit yourself to just traveling for the sake of traveling, spend all your money to get somewhere you can’t enjoy. Go splurge and pick one big thing to do; eat at a famous restaurant, see a big concert, attend a mega sporting event, have fun and make some incredible memories!

If at all possible, book in advance.

Plan and organize.  Make a list and go over it often.  Pack needed essentials for car or plane travel: snacks, water, books, travel games, etc.  Leave plenty of time to get where you need to be.

Start rested. Try to finish all your packing and arrangements the day before your departure.  This lets all of you relax, take a deep breath and clear your mind before the trip begins.

During the trip take lots of pictures and document happy memories. 

Recognize everyone’s limits… and your own.  But most of all …Have fun!


So You Are Traveling By Car …Road Trip! 

Pack needed essentials and entertainment: snacks, water, books, travel games, toilet paper (just in case) wet wipes etc. especially for longer trips.

Vehicle maintenance is essential.  Have your vehicle completely checked out by your mechanic. Oil changes, brake checks, light checks are important to the vehicle’s safe operation.

Safety – Pack plenty of water, a first-aid kit, tool kit which should include a flashlight in case you break down at night. Call to make sure your road assistance plan is up-to-date and charge your phone beforehand.

Remember to take frequent breaks – Preferably every two hours if you have young kids.  Find interesting spots to take a car break, historical monuments, roadside parks or a playground nearby Everyone needs to get out of the car and stretch their legs and kids need to run around and burn off some energy.

Finally, remember to sit back and enjoy the scenery


So You’ve Chosen To Fly …

Tips and Tricks for a pleasant and worry free flight

Non stop. Check with a travel agent so you can fly non-stop, off-peak and avoid congested airports. Generally, off-peak times are Tuesday through Thursday, plus late at night, very early in the morning, and mid-morning. The busiest and most congested airports in the U.S. include New York’s La Guardia, Miami International Airport and Chicago’s O’Hare.

Sit smart.Travelers with babies and toddlers are often advised to sit in the plane’s bulkhead because it has extra room.  Do take note; I am told by others with young children that there is no room under the seat for a carry-on bag, you may need that extra space for easy access to snacks, drinks, and gadgets during takeoff and landing.

Ear discomfort. To avoid and relieve ear pain when you take off and land, offer your family gum, hard candy or anything else that gets the mouth moving.

In case someone gets sick, bring plastic bags and have them ready. Gallon-size ones are best and can serve a dozen useful purposes.

 Pack light.  Wear or carry your coat, hat, scarves or place them in your carry on.  For shoes, wear your bulkier pair and place a pair of sandals/flip-flops/water shoes in your front pocket of your luggage. If you need formal shoes for dining out or dancing, pack them in your luggage and stuff your socks into the shoes to save space.  Very important, be sure to have travel insurance that will cover you in the event of cancelled flights, lost luggage and (hopefully not) but any health issue that may arise.

During your flight stay entertained with magazines, books, video games, and don’t forget the earbuds!


At the Hotel and Out and About

When traveling with young children you want to know that they are safe.  Perhaps you are staying an extended period of time in a particlular hotel, you may want to childproof first.  If  you do decide to childproof, bring along outlet covers, a bathtub-faucet cover, and plastic cabinet locks (duct tape makes a very good temporary lock). Parents’ safety starter kit, available at Amazon online, or nearby retailers, includes all the essentials.

 Clothing and comfort.  Bring at least two sets of pajamas, a warm set as well as a cool one. Sometimes it can get really hot or really cold in hotel rooms.

If you are traveling to places where it is quite warm in the day and colder at night, bring clothes that can be layered.  If you will be away from the hotel for a day/evening trip, you may not want them during the day but be glad to have the extra layer in the evening .

Don’t forget to pack your charges and Bring your gadgets.  You can even use a cable wrap and neatly store everyone’s cables and plugs in one central area. Don’t forget an adapter if you are traveling to countries that use different outlets. Pack your camera in a travel bag, you can use this as a personal item and take it with you onto the plane with your carry-on. If you use film, bring extra, some countries don’t have it readily available and it can get really pricey.

Plan Your Itinerary.  It is always fun to have some spur of the moment adventures …however, to avoid stress, long lines and shortened family fun time, it is best to make a schedule before attending certain events.  You may need to do a little research first and find out all your needed information a head of time.  A good example would be a music venue like SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX.  You will need a schedule of timed events, locations and directions for parking etc.  You don’t want to spend all your time driving around looking for parking or walking around trying to find your event, only to arrive and find you missed it!

Well there you have it!  You are now equipped to not only survive …but to have fun on your Spring Break family vacation.

Until next time …

Happy Travels!

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