In a post last week, I mentioned the many disasters that seemed to befall TV’s Brady family while on vacations. From losing Bobby in the Grand Canyon to getting locked in an old jailhouse, all on the same trip, one might be left with the impression that a family getaway is akin to playing with fire.
Why even bother going anywhere?
We go because trips can be a lot of fun. I have some great memories as a kid going from here to there in the car. A change of pace can be a good thing for everybody involved. But frustrations do naturally arise when a family ventures from home, which is why it’s a good idea to try and prevent them from happening in the first place.
Michelle Higgins is a travel writer for the New York Times and recently offered six practical tips that I thought I’d pass along:
Don’t Pack What You Can Get There
Instead of loading up your suitcase with things like suntan lotion and diapers for the kids and possibly incurring extra bag fees, consider picking them up at a grocery store near your hotel.
Leave the regular stroller at home and go with the small umbrella version. Better yet, call ahead and ask if the place where you’re staying might have a few extra strollers available to borrow.
If You’re Flying, Don’t Pack Everything in One Bag
To play it safe, especially when traveling with kids, make sure you put a change of their clothes in your carry-on. If a bag is lost or delayed, you’ll be ready.
Don’t Scrimp on Airline Tickets
The cheapest way isn’t always the wisest way. It’s tempting to buy the lower-fared ticket, but if the connection is tight and it’s the last flight of the day, what happens when you miss it? You’ll be stuck with an extra night in a hotel and a large serving of aggravation. Don’t be penny- wise and pound-foolish.
Get Creative with Entertainment
For long car trips, the old standards, like the license plate game, still work well. Play-Doh could be a bit messy, but it’s always a favorite way to pass the time. Don’t feel as though you need to immediately succumb to techno toys or DVDs. Keep the kids looking up and out the window.
Make Sure the Suite is Really a Suite
Many hotels consider any room with anything more than a bed and a desk a suite, so don’t forget to ask.
The Dalys will be camping again next week, so I might just see some of you on the road as we haul our fifth wheel through the mountains. Don’t worry – I’m getting better at it. Happy trails!