As many of you know we are actually on a vacation of sorts right now. Alamo and Twittermoms have teamed up and want to know your top ten tips for a distraction free family vacation check it out!!
Do you think it is possible? I am here to tell you that it is. Being a military family and living away from family and friends we have become a traveling family. We have made trips altogether and I have made trips alone with just the kids. Crazy, I know.
Here are my top ten tips:
1. Put some planning into your trip. Our trips work best if there is a mix of planned activities with a few surprises slipped in there. I usually make sure there is at least one activity per person. You know that one that will be their special place, I also make sure that each planned activity is family friendly.
2. If you are staying in a hotel, do your research and pick the best fit for your family. For my family we do not get up and make it to the lobby area, so I like to have a fully equipped kitchen. Depending on the time of year and location of our vacation, the hotel having an indoor or outdoor pool can make a difference.
3. No matter what your drive time is to your location, a drive with kids can make for a crazy mommy. While we do bring a portable DVD player, we also bring a few CDs and books. I also hand each of the kids their own special traveling bag with a few of their favorite items inside. For one of my 4, this bag contains a few trains and a new thomas book. For another this bag has paper, crayons, and a new coloring book. It all depends on what child it is.
4. I also make up a bag for each child and give it to them in the hotel. This bag contains a new small toy, maybe some bath toys, and their fav snack. This bag comes in very handy if there happens to be rain.
5. You don't have to leave the lap tops behind, but you really should limit your time on them. We usually wait for down time before logging on. I bring a new deck of cards, some uno cards, and a few board games with us. You can even use these items when you are camping and not in a hotel.
6. Everyone needs food, this is where your hotel choice can make or break your trip. I like to have cold cereals or packets of instant oatmeal on hand for quick breakfasts. I also like to have a full kitchen so I can whip up some pancakes or an omelet. I like to prepare most of our food and leave eating out for a special time. In most places there are those go to restaurants, such as Hard Rock or Rain Forest Cafe. Make sure you look around the area you are staying at, you never what type of special treat you can find.
7. Don't become permanently attached to your camera. I try to take 5 pictures of each activity or event and then put my camera away. This will help the photographer (usually mom) enjoy the fun to be had also.
8. You do not need a t-shirt, a coffee cup, or anything else from each of the places you visit. The one thing I do make sure I grab is a free pamphlet. This along with the pictures I take make for great memories and no wasted money. Of Coarse I do break this tip once in awhile, like I did buy a T-shirt for myself from one place during are most recent trip. A t-shirt for me will be worn for years to come, as a t-shirt for a child will be out grown within a few months. Make your purchases wisely and you can save a lot of money.
9. Plan your outings for after or in between a younger child's nap time. An outing with a tired child can quickly become no fun for the entire family. You can do things during nap time if your child is one of those that can nap anywhere (stroller, car, ect.)
10. Within the first few days of being back home ask each family member what one of their favorite things was and write down their response. Take a day and make a scrapbook with the pictures and pamphlets from all your adventures.
Best of all allow yourself to Have Fun!!!