Archive | random travel tips

happy travels {recap}

Last week was TRAVEL WEEK and I had a lot of fun posting about all the things that I have learned along the way…here is a recap of all the traveling posts:
Travel Tips {general tips}
Disneyland Tips PART ONE
Disneyland Tips PART TWO
Travel Tips {No Kids Allowed}
Camping Tips PART ONE
Camping Tips PART TWO

There are so many other great ideas out there!

HERE is a great list for packing tips!
HERE is a great article about flying along with kids!
HERE is a great blog about family traveling!

Enjoy and Happy Travels!
And of course there is even more to check out on my Pinterest board: travelBUG
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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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