Traveling can be exciting and fun, but it is important to be prepared and plan appropriately. If you are organized and plan your travel trip, it will be extremely beneficial. Especially with children, plan accordingly and it will be less headaches for all parents. I have traveled all over and I hope these tips will help you as you are planning your next vacation or travel plans.

Pre-planning Trip:

Once you have picked your vacation or travel destination, then the fun part starts. Make sure you have done the following.

Boarding your pets:

  • Research local boarding houses
  • Make sure you visit the kennels
  • Must be clean, reliable, and friendly

Set up someone to do the following while you are traveling.

  • Checking on your cats/pets
  • Getting your mail
  • Watering your plants
  • Give them and your family your travel itinerary
  • Copies of passports, driver’s license and other important information regarding your vacation or travel plans

Develop a checklist of items you need to packet for your travels:

  • I make a list for myself, son and husband for our clothes and personal items
  • Checklist for beach items
  • Checklist for ski trips
  • Checklist for medicine you need to bring too
  • Checklist for car, plane, or train

I make a list for the airplane or car rides.

  • DVD and movies
  • Switch/Nintendo DS and games
  • Coloring books and crayons/markers
  • Snacks
  • Books and magazines
  • Computer and ipad for the long journey

If you are driving, I recommend doing the following and making a list for these tasks.

  • Have tires checked
  • Tires rotated
  • Oil changed
  • Antifreeze checked
  • Air filters, etc.

Make sure you have a list for your house.

  • Outside lights
  • Set thermostats.
  • Swimming pool
  • Have house clean prior to leaving (nice to come home too)

Plan to have extra money for your trip. This is what we recommend.

  • Sell a lot of items on eBay/Poshmark or Mercari prior to vacation (about 6-8 months prior).
  • Working side jobs; waitress, babysit, security, etc…
  • I always have a vacation account and so much of my salary goes to that account each time I am paid. I do not even notice since it comes directly out of my check
  • Check for vacation offers and packages, travel ideas may change your plans some but will save you a lot potentially in money.

Research your vacation packages and surrounding area to plan your activities appropriately. If you are flying.

  • Check in online 24 hours via computer (saves time at airport)
  • Make sure you understand the airline guidelines, how many bags you can check and carry- on.
  • Bring activities on plane for your children (see above)
  • Check the morning news or airport website to see if there are any delays. Upon arrival at airport, immediately drive to the curb, check your bags, then park the car and this will save you a lot of time.

Hotels Tips;

  • Always, always, always ask for an upgrade with the hotel. Try it prior to arriving (2 days in advance) if they are not full, they will most likely upgrade you.
  • If not, on site ask for an upgrade. Pick hotel’s that are kid friendly and have kids “eat for free” which will save you some money.
  • If you do not have children make sure you are going to a place that is more geared towards adults, kid friendly hotels may not be for you.
  • Always ask about travel ideas when looking into hotels or resorts, some of these hotel and/or resorts will offer travel ideas that will be very beneficial. Make sure you ask what the hotel offers as “extras” and then take advantage of these deals.

Car Rental:

  • Check reservation and car, you requested 24 hours in advance
  • Always ask for a car upgrade and car insurance, if they are slow, they may give it to you
  • Check the car thoroughly before taking it off the lot
  • Fill the tank up yourself, instead of buying their gas

During Trip:

When checking into your hotel or resort;

  • Upon arrival, ask for an upgrade, explain you have more people then you expected and ask if they have a larger room. If they are not full, most likely they will allow it to happen with no extra charge.
  • Make sure you talk with a manager to get this done faster.
  • Call and get the extra pillows, blankets, cots, etc… Immediately upon arrival of room, tip the person who brought these items to you.
  • I always check the surrounding areas first, just to get the “lay of the land” if you will. It is important to understand how close you are to the hospital and grocery store.
  • If we are staying in a villa or hotel that has a kitchen, I would suggest going to the grocery store, saves money if you can eat in your villa or hotel versus eating out all the time.

We always talk to the “concierge” to determine the best places to eat, however, make sure the concierge is giving you universal information (and not getting a kick back from restaurants they are sending you too). Ask a lot of questions, have they been, who to see, what is the best on the menu, those types of questions.

Check out with concierges.

  • Local attractions
  • Local events happening during the time you are vacationing
  • Amusement parks close by
  • Always ask if they have “discounts” for these attractions, most hotels have them available to customers.

Post Trip (end of trip):

  • When packing; make one suitcase (or however many it takes) the “dirty clothes” suitcase. It helps when unpacking at home.
  • Always check your hotel bill upon departure, extremely important; those ‘extra’ charges are hard to get off your bill if you don’t do it prior to your departure.
  • Send Thank you letters to all people that helped you, it is polite to do this and your friends will help you the next time.

Traveling and planning your vacation will help reduce your stress before, during and after your trip. Your vacation is supposed to be relaxing and fun, so do your pre-planning and it will be fun and most of all relaxing. We would love to hear more tips so please share with us!  Stay safe and have fun on your next trip!