Organizing your vacation
As a child, vacations are magical each trip is an adventure. The airplane is thrilling. The hotel room is exciting. As an adult, things look a little different. And every parent knows theres a lot of work that goes into planning the perfect family getaway. Right now, many families are making plans to pack up the kids and escape the coming March monotony for a fun family adventure. Whether youre seeking a sunny beach, a ski trip or just a visit with relatives, follow these steps to ensure your vacation is well organized. That way, you can start enjoying yourself the minute you walk out of the door.
1. CHOOSE A DESTINATION. Deciding on a vacation destination can be lots of fun, but it can also be overwhelming. To help narrow down your focus, consider budget, type of travel, family accommodations and activities when choosing a location. Get the whole family involved in the decision-making process and, if your children are older, ask them to help research options. They cant argue with a destination they helped pick and the Internet is loaded with travel reviews and tips from the pros to help your family make a final decision. Travel expert Pauline Frommer is always a great source of information.
2. BOOK TRAVEL AND ACCOMMODATIONS. When booking accommodations, check hotel reviews and recommendations online. There are lots of sites like TripAdvisor that feature expert reviews as well as information and photos submitted by travelers just like you who rate hotels based on family-friendliness, cleanliness, location and more. If youre flying, be sure to compare the airlines website with any of the aggregator sites like Kayak or Priceline sometimes they run specials for midweek travel on less popular routes. There are several sites that can advise you whether fares are rising, holding steady or dropping, so you dont end up waiting until the last minute to book.
3. BUILD YOUR ITINERARY. Once youve booked travel and shelter, its time to start building your itinerary because when youre traveling with the whole family, there are a lot of details to keep track of. Start early and keep things organized. Springpad http://springpad.com/ is a great tool to help you save all the information you need in one place from reservations and confirmation numbers to restaurants and attractions. And its easy to share with the whole family so everyone can not only access the details at any time from their mobile phones, tablets or laptops, they can add their own ideas, too.
4. PACK STRATEGICALLY. Theres nothing worse than getting to your vacation destination and realizing youve forgotten something crucial. And while you can always pick up basics in most locations, leaving behind medications and other important supplies can really grind the fun to a halt. Use a checklist to keep track of what you (and the rest of the family) needs to pack. If youre flying, encourage everyone to pack their essentials in a carry-on sized bag. Its a great way to ensure everyone has what they need in transit and you avoid the surprise of getting to your final destination without an entire bag of stuff. Also, dont forget to read about the latest TSA rules hereto see what you can and cannot bring onboard before you leave home.
Andrew Mellen is a professional organizer, frequent contributor and expert source to The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; Martha Stewart Living; Ladies Home Journal; Family Circle; GQ; HGTV; and NPR. Hes the best-selling author of Unstuff Your Life!
Distributed by MCT Information Services
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less