Family Vacations Don't Have to Be Hard: Have the Perfect Vacation

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Travel Like A Pro: Booking Your Trip, Packing, And Flying,

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Articles, Travel | 0 comments

For some people, traveling is like second nature. From preparing travel plans and packing, to flying and staying in a hotel, frequent travelers have learned all the tricks to making travel more comfortable. If you’ve never traveled before, though, a relaxing vacation can quickly turn into a stressful nightmare.  Here are a few strategies that you can use to deal with the varying vagaries of travel.

Ease Your Reservations With Careful Planning (and Reservations)

To avoid problems on your vacation, it’s important to plan and prepare. This means thinking about your upcoming trip from start to finish and making reservations to ease the anxiety of not knowing where to go or what to do when you get to your destination. Make sure that you plan:

  • Travel to the airport: Check rates for airport parking. If you’ll be gone for an extensive amount of time, you might want to consider making a reservation for a taxi or black car service.
  • Accommodations: Look at a map of your destination and triangulate your must-see spots to find a hotel, like Monte Carlo Suites, that is conveniently located.
  • Airport pick-up: Call your hotel to see if airport pick-up is available and reserve a slot. If a shuttle service isn’t available, arrange for a taxi or black car service to pick you up to avoid the taxi queue.
  • Your to-do list: With online shopping, it’s easier than ever to reserve and pay for spots for popular shows, attractions, and events. This way you can be sure to see and do everything on your vacation wish list.

Think Outside of the Box…or Inside Your Luggage

First, regardless of where you’re traveling, you’ll need a photo ID and possibly a passport. It’s important to stash your ID in a place that’s easily accessible and secure (jackets with inside pockets are ideal). Once you’ve made sure to pack this important item, you can start thinking about packing your bags for your trip.

  • Pack a small carry bag, tote bag, or purse that is comfortable to carry even when it’s full. Include essential items like: medications, cash, your wallet, chargers, books, snacks, travel-size toiletries, and an empty water bottle that you can fill with water after it’s screened in security (it must be completely empty during screening, or you’ll have to throw it away).
  • Place thick, bulky garments at the bottom and top of your suitcase or duffel. They can help absorb any unexpected impacts, while also preventing casual snooping by anyone who comes into contact with your bag in transit.
  • Roll your clothing to avoid wrinkles. Simply fold each item in half and then roll it up. You can even place your rolls of clothing in handy gallon ziplock bags for added protection against wrinkles.

Flying Like a Pro

To get to your destination, you must endure the discomforts of flying. With some preparation, you can arrive at your destination ready to enjoy your vacation. Here are some tips for making your flight as comfortable as possible:

  • Getting to your flight on time: If you’re flying internationally out of the country, you’ll want to be at the airport 3 hours before your flight. To make sure you don’t get caught in line, you can refer to the TSA’s official website for current wait times at each airport. If you’re flying domestic, try to be at the airport at least an hour before your flight.
  • Avoid jet lag: The easiest way to prevent jet lag is to rest and hydrate. Avoid alcohol and drink plenty of water on your flight.
  • Say no to “cankles”: The not-so-affectionate term for swollen ankles, “cankles” are an uncomfortable reality for many travelers. If your feet and ankles often swell during long car trips, go to your local pharmacy and pick up some compression socks or hose to wear during your flight.

As air travel continues to offer unique opportunities to see the world, taking your first trip can be just the impetus you need to travel more often. With all of the above travel tips in mind, you can avoid many of the common blunders of the uninitiated.

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4 Ways To Keep Kids Entertained On A Road Trip

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Articles, Travel | 0 comments

A family road trip is a great way to create memories with your family, see beautiful parts of the country, and even save money, as driving is often less expensive than flying on vacation. But if you’re traveling with small kids, a road trip can quickly go bad. Bored kids in a confined space for several hours at a time can be a recipe for disaster. The best way to prevent your kids from having meltdowns on a road trip is to keep them entertained. Here are four great ways to do just that:

Involve Them in the Planning

If your kids know where you’re going and what they have to look forward to along the way, they’ll be much more engaged during the trip. Sit down with your kids a week or so before the road trip and go over a map of your trip. Do internet research on the towns you’ll pass along the way, and let your kids have a say in what roadside attractions you’ll stop for each day. Knowing that a stop at a quirky roadside attraction or national park is only an hour away will help keep your kids from getting too antsy during long stretches on the road.

Give Them Their Own Fun-filled Backpacks

Make each road trip special by starting each one with a small backpack or tote bag filled with kid-approved goodies for each child. Let them know before the trip that they’re going to receive a special road trip bag, but don’t let them know what’s inside until you’re on the road. This will build anticipation for the trip itself, rather than just the destination. You don’t have to go overboard budget-wise: a simple cloth tote bag filled with puzzle books, granola bars, and a few inexpensive toys is all you really need. The novelty of the bag and its contents is what will help keep your kids entertained. If you really want to help kill some time on your trip, individually wrap each item and have your kids unwrap them one at a time.

Create a Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

The idea of a road trip scavenger hunt is to have a list of items to look for on your road trip, that you and your kids cross off as they find them. These can be items that you just see from inside the car, like specific state crossing signs or colors and makes of certain cars. They can also be physical items collected during breaks on your road trip, like ketchup packets from a roadside restaurant or postcards from a gift shop. If you have a big family, you can divide into teams and award points to whoever finds each item first, with the overall winning team earning a prize. You can make your own scavenger hunt list or search online for pre-written, printable versions.

Embrace Technology

While screen time for kids and especially toddlers can be controversial, access to technology on a road trip can be a life-saver, and in small doses it won’t have negative side effects. Load up an iPad or other device with educational games and other kid-friendly apps before your trip. Include a few old favorites plus some surprises. This list of kid-friendly apps, sorted by age, is a great place to start. Apps like Road Trip Bingo are for kids and especially geared toward road trips. Putting on a kid-approved movie can buy you a couple of hours of quiet on the road.

With these four ideas, your kids will be so entertained on your road trip they won’t even have time to ask “Are we there yet?” Whether you take your own car or rent one from a place like Jamieson Rentals, these tips will help everyone in your family have a good time.

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