Archive | travelBUG

travelBUG {NO KIDS ALLOWED}

I love getting away as a family or with just the girls…but sometimes married couples need alone time. We try to get away without our kids once a year or so. There have been times in our marriage where we couldn’t afford to get away but we at least could have our kids go stay with someone for a day or two and we could have a “stay-cation” at home. Whatever you are up for I think you will agree that making this a priority in your marriage as often as you can is worth it. We continue to be amazed at how helpful it can be because for the most part we just need time to remember why we like each other!
In general there are three types of trips that we like to take without kids:
::a run-around trip::
We had the chance to go to SEATTLE for my college reunion in 2012 and it was so fun to run around without our kids. We both graduated from the same school a year apart so we have a lot of mutual friends. We ran around like crazy people to see all our friends! We stayed up late, ate whatever we wanted, stayed in a small hotel room & basically did a ton of things that would have been impossible with the kids there. Sometimes we just need to be able to have fun and not worry about the kids. If you have the option of leaving yours for a few days to do something like this…do it. Even if it’s once ever 10 years…do it!
::a planning trip::
One of our goals is to spend time planning out our year and talking about basic family stuff that we have a hard time carving out time for in our day to day life. Kids or phone calls always seem to interrupt these conversations! We aim to discuss what we want to be doing as a family, what rules are working or not working for us, how can we develop different habits and goals to keep improving, what areas of our home need to be reevaluated {such as chores, duties, maintenance, schedule, yearly trips, outside activities, budget, etc}. Our goal is to come home feeling like we have had a business retreat or summit for the running of our family. Like our MILL VALLEY trip in 2013. It is great to get a bunch of this stuff done on our first few days so that we can relax the rest of the time. From then on we can basically sleep-in, reconnected and really just did NOTHING at all…and that is always perfect for this stage in our lives!::a relaxing trip::
For this kind of trip we like to do nothing, enjoy each others company, get romantic, don’t talk about kids or money or household issues…our goal is to just be together and relax. Like our HAWAII trip in 2012. This is one of my favorite types of trips now that I’m a busy mommy. As a kid, I remember getting to a place that we had traveled for hours to see and my parents would just want to relax.
What? RELAXXX???
“You guys are so boring…” I would say! 
I DID. NOT. GET. IT. I just wanted to go do something. Hadn’t we just spent hours “getting there?” But now I totally get it. Busy trips can be really fun and us Panfi’s love to travel…but once in a while we just needed some down time.
::for the kids::One more thing I try to do is pack little goodies for the kids to open each day while we are away. When we went on our Hawaii trip it was about 6 days and we had never been away from the kids that long. I got small $dollar$ items and wrapped one for each kid, for each day we were gone. I attached little love notes to each one also. It gave them something to look forward to each day and honestly I think they liked it so much that they did not want us to come home because the gifts would stop coming! Ha! I guess that means it worked!

So go plan a trip for you and your sweetheart soon. You will not be sorry!

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travelBUG {DISNEYLAND TIPS~PART TWO}

If you missed it yesterday I posted the first part of a Disneyland Tips series I am starting. Here are a few more things to let you know all about! I have added links where possible…so check it out for yourself!

DISNEYLAND rides that we LOVE:

Peter Pans Flight {even though the line is always long}
Buzz Lightyear’s Astro-Blaster {it’s always cold in there…gotta love that on a hot day}
Shooting Range in Frontierland {the boys love this and honestly I do too…it’s really fun}
Space Mountain
Thunder Mountain
Splash Mountain
We love all the “mountain rides” but they are usually not for little kids…be sure to get fast passes or use single rider lines if possible
Small World {great with the kids and babies can ride on laps}
The Train {this is my favorite way to get around the park and relax for a few minutes and if you get on at the Tomorrowland station you will see a Disneyland treasure of an old moving Dinosaur display behind glass that has been there a long time}
Storybook Land {it’s the boat ride that passes through the whales mouth in fantasy land…It’s cute and relaxing and again a baby can sit on your lap}
Mad Hatter’s Spinning Tea Cups {we don’t get motion sickness…so this ride is so fun for us}
Tom Sawyers Island {beautiful, fun, relaxing, exciting for kids…just a great hidden adventure in the middle of the park}
Pirates of the Caribbean {classic, fun, cool ride…yo ho yo ho a pirates life for me}
Matterhorn {it’s kind of jerky…but beautiful at night when the park is all lit up}
Astro Orbitor {we call this the Rocket ride…so fun}
Gadget’s Go Coaster  {the kids totally love this little ride in TOONTOWN}
DISNEYLAND shows that we LOVE:
Fantasmic {this one is a classic & never get’s old in my opinion}
We actually like the Abraham Lincoln show in the theater near the front of the park but I think it’s under construction currently. It’s always cooled off in there so we especially like it if its hot and our feet need a break!

DISNEYLAND food that we LOVE:
Big Thunder Ranch: a sit down buffet {it’s tucked away behind the Big Thunder Mountain ride and is an amazing all you can eat BBQ, cornbread, coleslaw, beans extravaganza…yum y’all…but very expensive so save your money for this one}

The Blue Bayou: a sit down restaurant {the restaurant inside of the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and you almost always need a reservation. the ambiance is like a beautiful outdoor restaurant in the south with chirping crickets and lanterns and delicious mint juleps…but again this one is also very expensive}
Cafe Orleans: a sit down restaurant {this place has the famous Monte Cristo sandwich that everyone talks about…it is richly decadent. i loved the salmon salad & they had great kid options…although Grant slept on my shoulder the whole meal when we went there last time…lovely shady setting too} Bengal Tiger Kabobs: walk-up/casual/to-go snack  {this little walk up stand is across the walk from the Indiana Jones ride and serves veggies, meat and yummy pretzel roles} Dole Whips: walk up casual to-go treat  {prepare yourself for a lightly whipped pineapple ice cream delight that is TO-DIE-FOR…and it’s cheap and delicious to boot…the line is just outside the Tiki Room and seems to always be very long…especially on hot days}

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE rides that we LOVE:
Toy Story’s Mid-Way Mania {This is my ALL TIME FAVORITE ride…but consider yourself warned that the line is ALWAYS long so get in it early and bring snacks and get the rider switch if you can}
Soarin’ Over California {unlike anything that I have ever experienced…just awesome}
California Screamin’ {the best roller coaster ever}
Tower of Terror {not for the faint of heart…beautiful view at night…it will make your heart drop into your stomach in the most terrifying and thrilling way imaginable}
All three of the above rides have fast passes available and you will need a rider switch to do all of them if you have little ones; but note that they all have a single rider lines also
the Ariel ride {it’s darling…very old school in some ways but great if you love that sweet little mermaid}
Redwood Creek Challenge Trail {a great place for the kids to run around and quite a bit of shade for the grown-ups…its an unexpected spot of fun}
Cars Land {aka: Radiator Springs} {It’s awesome, very crowded and so similar to the movie it’s almost unreal. There are only a few rides in Radiator Springs but there are some great restaurants and you can often meet Lightning McQueen and Mator. If you want to go on the RACERS ride {the most popular ride in the park these days} you have to get in the fast pass line {near bug’s land} ASAP in the morning! This line can take an hour to wait in so grab your coffee and send someone to get your fast passes {make sure everyone has entered the park if you do this though or it won’t work}. You can use the rider switch to do this ride and many people I know have just done the single rider line {it will save you an hour or more to do this as some people wait almost two hours just to ride this one}

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE shows that we LOVE:
World of Color {if you want to see this show you have to get fast passes as early in the day as you can even though it’s at night…you can eat as specific restaurants that allow you to get the fast pass if you purchase a certain amount of food but it is usually very pricey to do it so be prepared}. Once they run out of these passes you cannot get them and you won’t be able to watch the show. They only allow people to stop and watch in the area roped off for World of Color fast passes.
It’s Tough to be a Bug {in Bug’s Land…my kids who are 4 and 5 were scared last time…this may be more suitable for older kids and grow-ups like us who want to laugh and cool off from a hot day} Disney Junior — Live on Stage! {if your kids watch Disney Junior…and mine do…they will love this little show}
Pixar Parade {we have not gotten in to waiting for parades often but the kids keep asking…so I am sure that stage is coming soon!}

CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE food that we LOVE:
Carthay Circle Restaurant: sit down/ somewhat fancy {This beautiful art-deco spot in the center of the park was modeled after a theater that Walt Disney loved…you can read all about it online…and is perfect for a fancy meal or special occasion…the atmosphere is as spectacular as the food…we went there for our Christmas Dinner this year and let me just say that while very expensive…it was just AMAZING! They have a World of Color fast pass arrangement if you get a minimum amount of food so be sure to ask about that too…oh and you will of course need reservations for this one as well}
Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta: walk-up/casual/to-go or sit outside {At the very back of the park past Goofy’s coaster and near the jelly fish ride is this awesome hidden restaurant that serves amazing Italian pasta’s and salads. There is a great spot next store that serves several fabulous Mediterranean dishes as well. This has become our new favorite place to eat lunch or an early dinner}
Pacific Wharf area: walk-up/casual/to-go or sit down outside {There are several options for food at the pier including Asian cuisine, Mexican entree’s, margaritas & Soup in a bread-bowl delights and they are all yummo…secret hint: if you head towards Cars Land this area leads to a really cool path & view of Radiator Springs that you will be glad you checked out}
Cozy Cone Hotel: walk-up/casual/to-go snacks {These fun CONE concessions in cars land have great snacks like popcorn, ice-cream, etc. and are impossible to miss}
Ariel’s Grotto: sit down/buffet {this restaurant sometimes allows you to see most of the princesses during your meal. They actually come up to your table…we did this when Paige was 2 and loved it! It’s a set buffet that is like $30 per person but looks out over the water of the whole park. I heard it has changed and is now a place you can see the World of Color show. So check out the scoop on that when you get there or call ahead.}

Here is one more resource to check out:
Disneyland Discounts HERE

If you missed yesterdays post {DISNEYLAND TIPS- PART ONE} be sure to check it out!

I’m sure I will have more tips to add soon as we are going to go a few more times in 2013 {and I will do my best to update this if things change}. Until then see ya real soon!

 

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travelBUG {DISNEYLAND TIPS~PART ONE}

Woohoo! Time for one of my favorite subjects: Disneyland! My closest friends consider me a Disneyland expert. I am not compared to many die-hard Disney fans. But I have visited the Disneyland Resort many times throughout my life and love going with my kids now! Aaron & I learned our way around the parks when we had annual passes a few years ago {we lived in Anaheim pre-kids}! This year for Christmas my sweet mom gave us all a yearly pass…so we have been able to go twice already with the kids. Several questions come up when my friends ask me about Disneyland. How do you do it with kids and when is the best time to go? First, I will tell you to be flexible. Disneyland always has little things going on and you never really know what you are going to get too far in advance. CHECK DISNEYLAND’S WEBSITE & HOURS often so you can plan accordingly. A ride might be closed or it may rain or it may be really crowded. If everyone in the group picks one ride they have to go on…that’s a good goal to shoot for…and fill in from there. Here is my list of tips that I have been compiling for a few years to send my friends and some websites that I find helpful {it became so long that I had to break it into two parts}.

::Disneyland Resort Tips::
{for DISNEYLAND & CALIFORNIA ADVENTURE}

When to go:

This depends on you, your family, your tolerance for crowds and changes in weather. Ask your friends who have gone and check out these sights to learn more and to get an idea of what the experts say about the crowds.
HERE {just click on the month you are considering}
HERE {this one gives a general description for each month}
and
HERE {this is comprehensive & really great}

As far as the best season to go…it just depends on you. I like the summer activities and weather and late hours {assuming it’s not too hot}. I like the winter activities for Christmas and we don’t usually mind the colder weather. Rain is a blessing in disguise because people scram…but don’t forget your ponchos {we bought the ponchos they sold there in December and have been very happy with them and if there is even a chance of rain we bring them}! Be careful of Summer, November through December, Spring Break season and major holidays if you do not like crowds.

What to wear:
For Everyone: Comfortable shoes and layering my clothes are the two key ingredients for comfort in Disneyland, in my opinion. I am always careful to check out the forecast beforehand so I know if I am wearing comfortable sandals or comfortable sneakers {and/or my cozy UGGS in the evening}. For the most part Anaheim has great weather. We typically bring clothes for hot mid-day and cooler evenings and everything in between. Sometimes I try to dress cute and sometimes I try to just be comfy. We all have some cute mickey sweatshirts now too that work great in the evening!
For the Kids: We love to let the kids dress up in their favorite Disney character costumes. This is not for everyone, but it works for us. I dress the kids in their regular clothes under their princess dress or Buzz wings so that they can take them off anytime. Also, if Paige wants to wear princess shoes I just throw a comfy pair in the bottom of the stroller so she can change them anytime.
How to get on your favorite rides:
Pick the ride you all can’t miss and get the fast pass for those first. They only allow you to have a few fast passes at a time {in both parks} and everyone must be present to get it. Also, now you must return in the window of time that your fast pass indicates or they will not let you use it. There are a few phone apps that tell you wait times…these are helpful for sure. Also, if you don’t mind riding alone you can go into a single-rider line on most rides as well. So, for example, if a group only has three people with them you get to hop on the ride as a fourth. Ask at each ride to learn how to do it. In general, fast passes are key. For more info on Fast Passes go HERE. One more note, the lines for rides are less crowded during parades {one time we literally walked right onto Small World without waiting in line because the parade was just starting and all the kids wanted to see it}. If you can live with out stopping to watch the parades {or talk your kids into living without seeing them} you may get a quicker ride out of the deal.
How to get around the park and figure out the schedule of events:
There are maps and daily event schedules at the front of each park where they scan your tickets and you check in. So grab them. Events & times can change daily so this really helps! Also, many people know their way around so don’t be afraid to ask someone walking by or of course a cast member {disney’s name for employees}. We are always happy to help when someone seems lost!
Where to eat:
See my notes in PART 2 {tomorrow} for some of our favorite spots to eat in each park. You can totally bring your own food if you want…but sometimes its just more fun to eat overpriced junk food when you are in Disneyland! First of all, try to eat at off times when nobody else is hungry. Late mornings and early afternoons tend to be less crowded. Also, depending on what food you select you can often grab something to eat in line while you are waiting. Those mickey hot pretzels or dole whips are some of our favorite “line-waiting” snacks! Most resort restaurants have these kid power packs with fruit & cheese and goldfish crackers…these have been life savers for us as well!  The most important thing to keep in mind about restaurants is that if you want a sit down style {like Blue Bayou} or a Buffet {like Big Thunder Ranch} you must get a reservation in advance. I cannot stress this enough. Any type of buffet or popular spot with fill up {especially if you are going with a large group} so call ahead. They start taking reservations six weeks in advance! CALL (714) 781-DINE and click HERE for more information.
How to have fun and fight off the crankies:
Rest when you are tired. If the kids need to sleep in a stroller or on your chest just let ’em. Bring tons of snacks. As I mentioned above, most of the resort restaurants have these kid energy packs with fruit & cheese & yogurt and goldfish crackers…these have been life savers for us as well! Go for more than one day {if possible}. And the most important is: Stay hydrated. Typically cranky grown-ups and kids need water {or a snack}. You can ask for regular water at any restaurant. You can even bring your own water bottles if you so desire {no glass is allowed in the parks so keep it stainless or plastic}.

How to get the best pictures:
There are photographers all over the parks {usually in the best photo op spots} that can take your picture. The first person to take your pic will give you a card that each new photographer scans when they take your pic. It’s totally free and you get to view all the pictures they each took online and order them later. So if you end up with a cute family picture it’s worth it {although they are very expensive}. But the nice thing is you can also hand the photographer your camera and they will take a picture for you. You will get a decent picture in a great spot. They will even take pictures with an iphone/smartphone camera…so don’t hesitate to ask them.

What to buy for those darn souvenirs:
This is up to you. We go to Disneyland often. For our average trips we generally don’t even consider souvenirs for our kids. But there is something about those Disney stores that tend to draw our kids in {and I’m guilty of being drawn in as well}. Instead of fighting it we have adopted a new plan for this year while we have passes: our kids have to earn chore money to buy Disney souvenirs. We may get a small thing here or there for the family but if they want something special they have to work hard to do chores and make money in preparation for the trip. I tell them how much they have so they can figure out what they can afford to buy! So far it has worked pretty well {other than Grant insisting that it is too hard to decide and taking three days to actually pic something}! Oh, and my kids love those souvenir penny smashing machines that smash a penny and make a special imprint on it…they get to crank the machine and get a cheap little trinket…so it’s a win/win {as you can see below}!
What in the world are those character autograph books all about?:
Okay, if I’m being honest I used to think they were dumb. Who needs an autograph book? But we got them for our kids in December thinking it would be a fun way to document how many characters we could see in a year. I hope put their pictures with each princess and character next to the autograph and call it good. But you know what…those things are great for more than just a keepsake. When the kids get up to the characters {regardless of how beloved that person may be to my child} they freeze. They don’t know what to say or what to do {and man those lines to see them can be LLLOOONNGGG}. These little things are a great icebreakers {especially considering that many of the characters don’t even talk}! They are not a necessity but boy have I been glad we got them.

What’s the best thing to do with babies, toddlers & strollers:
We loved bringing our kids when Paige was only 2 and grant was about 9 months old. It is totally manageable if you know the tricks {and they are free if they are under 3} so keep an open mind! If you are bringing or renting a stroller {and I highly recommend it} remember you cannot bring it in most ride lines or shows-so be prepared to park it. With this in mind mark it with your name clearly. Also, I keep a small backpack/purse with my valuables on me so that I can easily park the stroller anywhere and get in line {there are designated stroller parking areas all over each park}.  Also, you should know about the rider switch card. When you get in line most rides have a Disneyland worker who you can ask for a card from. You have to show them that you have a small child with you. Basically since you have a little one it allows one of you to go on the ride with your older kids while the other sits out with the baby. Then when the others get off the ride the card allows the baby-watcher to get into the fast pass line or go through the exit (usually where the handicapped riders enter) line and hop on the ride since they just missed it. You can go back and do this anytime. Does this make sense? Ask the cast members {employees} working there and they will explain the whole thing. Totally worth it! Bringing an ergo or whatever baby carrier you have is a great option as well…my babies seemed to roll with the whole thing as long as they were with mamma! There is a mother’s room that has a changing area and nursing area in Disneyland so be sure to ask about that as well.

What’s with the lockers?:
If you like to pack light, are going all day and or need lots of snacks on hand the lockers can be great. They are located near the bathrooms in between the parks {closest to Disneyland} and I think there are some inside each park as well. But note that they are pricey. When I went with just my friend Courtney I stuck a warm sweatshirt and my UGGS in it for the evening shows. You may have a hotel close by and then you can just go back for a rest and change so you are ready to hit the park again for some evening fun {but this depends on the time of year and if you are planning on an all day extravaganza}!

Be sure to stay tuned for {DISNEYLAND TIPS – PART 2} tomorrow!

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travelBUG {travel TIPS}

Here are a some general things I’ve learned over the years that can help with all the crazy details that come with taking a trip! They are random…but hopefully helpful!

 

…have a plan…
1.   Book flights, hotels & rental cars as early as you can {there is nothing worse than having a trip planned and being stuck at a crappy hotel because you forgot to book it soon enough and all the good ones are gone}!
2.   In some cases, if you are spending a ton of money on a trip, it is best to buy travel insurance in case someone gets ill. I don’t know a ton about this but have heard success stories when this has worked out. Talk to a local travel agent for more information.
3.   If you are a AAA member you can get maps and all sorts of travel advice at your local service area. Just call them and they will fill you in on the scoop.
4.   Do some research online and by asking friends. If you are going somewhere new people often have the scoop on great places to stay & to eat if they have been too. First hand advice from a friends is almost always the best {in my opinion}.
5.   Hotels are almost always happy to help you get acquainted with the area you are visiting and sometimes have great discounts or options for tourist attractions that you cannot find anywhere else…so don’t be afraid to ask for advice!
…prepare by taking care of yourself…
1.    Start drinking extra water, taking extra vitamins, excising regularly and getting extra sleep a few days before your trip if possible. Traveling does not always allow for these things {or at least not easily} so be prepared.
2.    Make lists, check weather & do your research in advance so that you can take care of yourself physically & emotionally as the trip begins {and actually enjoy yourself} instead of scrambling at the last minute.
3.    Oh yeah…and go drink some more water too!
…packing…
1.   Start prepping in advance. This is always a dreaded chore…honestly who likes it? But if you want to travel {and I do}…you gotta do it! I start packing several days before we need to leave. I make lists and start gathering all the special things that are specific to that trip {swim gear for summer trips or snow gear for winter trips or special costumes for Disneyland…you get the idea}.
2.   Zip it up. One of my favorite things to do if I am feeling tight on luggage space is to pack each outfit in a zip-lock bag and suck as much air out of it as I can.  This can really reduce my clothes down in order to fit that extra pair of shoes I cannot live without!
…packing for the ladies…
1.   Keep to one color scheme for the trip. Pick a neutral or two and a few fun accent colors. For example I might choose black as my neutral and pack my black flip flops, blazer, dress shoes, little black dress, my yoga pants {totally not for yoga} and some leggings. Then I will pick an accent color like mint {as you know this is my favorite color these days} for my scarves, jewelry, a pair of shoes…a color that can mix and match and go with everything. When I do this well I don’t have to pack a million pairs of shoes and a huge suitcase…but it takes some focus.
2.   An outfit a day keeps the stress away. Depending on how many days I’m going to be gone, I try to plan an outfit a day with layering options. For example I might choose {for one day} a pair of jeans, a tank top, a t-shirt to go over it, a sweater and two pairs of shoes depending on if I’m trying to look cute or be comfortable. I have packed my whole bag with these outfits put together {instead of putting all the shirts together and then all the pants together…etc…you get the idea}. This is easiest for short trips.
3.   Be prepared, but pack light. My problem is that I love to be prepared so I almost always bring a little too much. Or I spend so much time packing for everyone else that I end up throwing my stuff together at the last minute!
…packing for the babies…
1.   Bring it all…if you can! Oh boy. Packing for babies can bring people to their knees! The funny thing about packing for babies is that you tend to need the same amount of things if you are going for two days or two weeks. Pack-n-Plays, strollers, swings, diapers and lots of clothes…these things just take up a lot of space.
2.   Borrow stuff…if you don’t have a lot of room. If you can find someone who has the things you need for your baby in the place you are going…borrow, borrow, borrow as much as you can. It will make your trip a lot easier {and if you are flying it will save you a ton of money}. I have even had my relatives borrow from people they know…giving up a stroller for a few days or an extra booster seat is not a big deal for most people.
3.   Stock up on things when you get there. It’s usually easy to run up to a store and grab diapers when you get to your destination.
4.   Laundry. That’s what I said: Laundry. Take advantage of doing laundry if you have to pack light. You don’t have to pack as many cute baby outfits as you might think if you just plan to do laundry a few times!
5.   Be flexible. If you have to bring a lot of stuff just keep it in perspective…those days will not last forever {we don’t even have to bring a diaper bag with us anymore}!
…packing for the kids…
1.   Pick out an outfit a day. Again, the Ziploc idea can work where too {keeping in mind the kind of things we will be doing each day helps}.
2.   Choose a basic color scheme for each kid. This is similar to the tip I mentioned about how I pack. It just makes things mix and match easier if weather changes or spills happen! For Paige {being the girly-girl that she is} I also pack a small amount of hair accessories and shoes that will go with most outfits.
3.   Bring one main layering item depending on the weather. I pack one main sweatshirt/coat for each kid that will match with everything else that I packed for them. If we are going on a plane…this goes with us.
4.   Think about the extras based on the type of trip you are going on. Don’t forget extra undies, an extra bathing suite {when necessary and only if you have one} and things like beach towels, snowshoes, beanies, and special shoes if dressing up…you get the idea
….packing for the guys…
1.    Let them do it! In our family my husband is on his own for packing his personal luggage…but I do try to help with laundry ahead of time if he needs it.
2.    Give him the general rundown of what will be happening. Lets be honest…it only takes him about 10 minutes to pack so he doesn’t really need my help other than letting him know the itinerary of activities so he knows what to pack!
…unpacking…
Unpacking is just a chore. We start by putting all the dirty clothes in the laundry area and shoes away. Then we move onto the weird stuff that does not need attention {hats go back, toys get put away, food goes back where it belongs, and the DVD player goes back in storage…you get the idea}. Sometimes it takes us a few days! Luggage eventually gets emptied, sand gets vacuumed, souvenirs find a home…so just try to do what you can and stay in that relaxed vacation mode…it makes unpacking a whole lot easier!
…dirty laundry…

As I mentioned in packing for baby…If you have to pack light just plan on doing laundry. People’s homes, time-shares and sometimes-even hotels often have this option {unfortunately, I don’t typically take advantage of this option because I have very sensitive skin and use special detergent…but boy is it nice to come home with clean clothes}.

…sleeping away from home…
1.   Bring your own pillow. I often do this because it just helps me sleep better. I have friends that bring special pillowcases for travel {If I could sew this would be a fun project for the kids & I to do together…maybe someday}.
2.   Let the kids sleep where/how it works best! When the kids are not going to have a bed of their own we use a small Aerobed designed for kids (check it out HERE) and are very flexible about them ending up in our beds…or ending up in theirs. Both of them are also great about sleeping on the floor! You would be surprised what kids are capable of.
3.   Learn that caffeine may be your best option after a long trip. We have been a handful of trips with long, disastrous nights…but we survived and those have been few and far between
.…family emergency plan…
1.   Have a family emergency plans in place. As soon as possible it its best to teach your kids how your family would like to handle an emergency like being split up, getting lost or sudden illness.
2.   Pick a meeting spot if we are going somewhere like Disneyland or camping or even the airport. This is probably easiest for older kids and teens but I am always surprised at how much my kids actually get these kinds of things when we talk about them for a long time and practice the routine.
3.   Teach your kids the 411. My kids {ages 4 & 5} have memorized my name and cell phone in case they need help in an emergency and cannot find me. I have taught them to find a police officer or another mommy if they need help and get split up from us. There are special bracelets, temporary tattoos and even t-shirts that people have made with their emergency contact info to put on toddlers as well.
4.   Keep medical information handy. I keep our medical insurance information, vaccine records and phone numbers in my cell and in my wallet just in case.
5.   Find what works for your family…but have a plan before the trip even begins and talk about it often so everyone will learn the drill.
…my most important tip of all…
Traveling is all about being flexible {especially with kids}. Be prepared for anything. You just have to make it work and let go. Expectations that are too high or aiming to accomplish elements of daily home life will most likely not happen & lead to disappointment. So let go, breath & have fun. I have learned that the more flexible I am…the better the trip ends up being {regardless of the circumstances}! That’s the best advice that I can give anyone!

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travelBUG {TRAVEL WEEK}

Remember my road trip post?  You can find it HERE.

It was a pretty popular post…so next week I will hosting a {TRAVEL WEEK}!
We just got back from another trip and I’m inspired to share some of the tips I have learned along the way! Starting on Monday enjoy some of my favorite travel tips everyday…all week long.

I am not an expert traveler and I have not gone over-seas {other than Hawaii} but we do tend to go out of town about once a month {on average} as a family. Sometimes we drive, sometimes we fly, sometimes we are close to home, sometimes we camp, sometimes we go to Disneyland and sometimes we go out of state! We just love to go explore & we love to visit our loved ones who live far away!

Hope you can get-away this summer and if you do…I hope these travel tips help! Here are a few new things I have discovered since my road trip post for traveling with kids:
Please share these ideas on Pinterest or Facebook using my Pin It button at the bottom of each post {if you feel so inclined}!

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