There are just around 2 months to go until many of you will be on a Winter Break vacation, so theCityMoms partner Travel By Jennifer is once again imparting us with some valuable info – this time, her top 5 winter travel tips! And they are tried and true: They are the exact travel tips her family uses when they travel! Hopefully these tips will make your trip a little easier, and a lot more enjoyable. Read on:
Involve your family in the planning.
When my daughter turned 5, we surprised her with a trip to Walt Disney World for her birthday. While naturally she was delighted to be heading to have such fun, she chided me on our way to the airport, “Next time, I would like to be involved in the planning.” Lesson learned. Even at 5, children can (and should!) certainly have a voice in what they’d like to do on the family trip. If everyone gets a chance to have input, the trip will be more exciting leading up to it, and you might end up doing delightful things you would not have planned on your own. Even if it is a surprise trip, you can still fish around to see what sorts of things your family might like to do, if they ever were to visit that destination.
Think through logistics.
I had a friend who had taken a vacation with her family. She had her flights, hotel, restaurant reservations all taken care of. However, she had forgotten to think through how she and her family would get around once they had arrived in their destination. As this was in the days before smart phones, her family had to spend hours at the airport rental car desks, trying to find an available rental car. They finally found a rental car agency that would have a rental car for them, 2 days later. They had to rely on taxis for the first two days of their trip, at significant expense. Make sure to think through all the little details, such as how you’re getting from point A to point B, not just the big details! A spreadsheet can be indispensable for planning.
This is not a must do, but can certainly make your trip a little easier and more memorable. If you’re taking a long road trip or flight, pack little surprises away for your children to keep the occupied on the flight. Even movies and iPads get tiresome after awhile! Take puzzle books, activity books, some classic games like hangman or tic-tac-toe. Also think about surprises while you’re on the trip. Does your family go to Disney World every year? Then surprise them with a new activity, like a private tour or fireworks dessert party. Heading to a beach vacation? Book a dinner cruise or a family photo shoot, that no one else is expecting. Surprises make smiles!
DID YOU CATCH THIS OTHER GREAT TRAVEL PIECE: Top Winter Break destinations to explore?
Take the right gear for the children.
If you still have children who are car seat age, chances are you will likely need to think through how you will transport them safely once you’re in your destination. Even if you’re relying on the occasional Uber or taxi, not every car comes equipped with a car seat. Fortunately, there are several safe alternatives, that meet government safety regulations, that fit in your bag. We like the mifold car seat, but do your research and see what works for your family. Additionally, if you are flying, and you do not want to drag along a car seat for your child to remain secure, we got heavy usage out of our CARES harness until our daughter was big enough for just the lap belt. It’s a wise investment if you travel by air at least once a year!
My last tip seems straightforward, but it’s so easy to ignore, especially when you feel like you’re doing the packing for the whole family. As you are packing, ask yourself if you really need to pack water shoes, 18 swim diapers, inflatable water toys, every medicine imaginable, etc. Most destinations, unless you are traveling way off the beaten path or into the developing world, will have whatever you need available to purchase. The old adage is take half of what you need, and twice as much money holds true! If in doubt, don’t take. If you really find yourself needing an item, just buy it at your destination. After carrying a stash of diapers unnecessarily through Europe, this was a lesson we learned the hard way.
MORE INFO: Travel by Jennifer is happy to help you plan and book your family’s travel, be it a Christmas trip, or for some time in the future. Feel free to contact us for a no obligation quote, or just to chat about trip ideas. Happy planning!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Vail’s lifelong passion for travel began at age 3, while watching Sesame Street’s segments shot in New York. She thought “there’s a world outside of corn fields and small towns?” and has wanted to explore the world ever since. Her adventures have taken her to 14 countries on 4 continents.
When she’s not traveling, or helping others plan their travel, she loves watching Formula 1 racing, listening to The Beatles, or working on puzzles (both jigsaw and logic). She lives in Fishers with her husband, Tommy, her 7-year old junior travel agent partner/daughter, Lizzy, and the doofiest English Bulldog around, Winston.