Ah yes, summer arrives officially this week and, even though many of you have already hit the road for some traveling, the real summer sun and fun fest is now ready to begin. The question is – are you ready? Have you chosen from your list of summer family vacation ideas? Are you ready to take little Johnny and little Jane on a road trip? A long flight? To a hotel for a week? Camping in a state park? A one day free-for-all at an amusement park? This is the time to adopt the boy scout motto. Be Prepared – for almost anything! Here are six easy summer travel tips to get you started and get you on the road to a great road trip!
6 Summer Travel Tips
1 – Get The Car Ready
It’s one thing to get a flat tire or have minor mechanical problem when you are a few miles from the house. But, are you prepped for the vehicle to break down the middle of Idaho!? If you, or your spouse, are mechanically inclined and your vehicle shows no signs of problems, a simple pre-trip check should do the trick. Do all the basics – check tires, and oil, and wiper blades and have a great breakdown back up plan. Also, don’t forget the inside. I am talking about road trip snacks and car seats and entertainment devices and anything else that will keep you sane!
2 – Get The Tech Ready
Technology has completely changed the game for travel. It is so much easier now to finalize plans, find restaurants and entertainment, and navigate through almost any state or country or destination. A quick search of travel apps is it easy to do. Download anything that you think could be helpful and that you could use – and rely on them. I cannot tell you how many times an app like “Urbanspoon- Now Zomato” has saved me from a bad restaurant experience in an unknown town. Also install some game apps and reading apps for the kids as a backup just in case.
3 – Packing Right
When traveling with kids you can never be too prepared. Even if you will have access to laundry services, consider packing extra clothes for younger children who have a knack for getting dirty or wet at the most inconvenient times. But on the flip side of this – pack less for the older kids. Your 10 year-old daughter won’t need 16 shirts and five swimsuits for a week trip, despite her arguing otherwise! For that matter, neither will you. Someone is going to be carrying the bags, and overstuffed, overweight bags are an argument waiting to happen. Pack once, as lightly as possible and with an emphasis on items (especially clothing and shoes) that can do double or triple duty. Once you’ve closed your bags, open them up again and take out even more stuff. Do this a third time and you’re good to go!
4 – Bring The Meds
No matter how healthy and hearty everyone looks before the trip, things can change very quickly – and do you really want to figure out where to get cough medicine at 3 am in the middle of the woods? Bring a small supply of the medicines you might need on every trip. I have a bag of stuff – and you should think about cough medicine, fever reducer, allergy meds, eye drops, Tylenol, band=Aids, Neosporin, Q-tips, sunscreen, and calamine lotion (I am a poison ivy magnet!). Plus don’t forget the Advil – I use it almost daily on a trip when I am reminded that I am no longer 20 and can’t run for hours on end!
5- Down Time
Admit it, how many times have you had the temptation to fit it all in while on vacation? This strategy may seem like a lot of fun at the time but then everyone gets home exhausted and realizes that they need a vacation – again! No fun at all. Plan for some down time every day of your trip. This could mean a leisurely bike ride, an afternoon movie, or a swim in the hotel pool. Need something more relaxing? Read a book in a park or play a game of cards. Tops on the down time list has to be an afternoon nap – preferably on a beach!
6 – Have Fun
Seems obvious right? Don’t get too caught up in all the planning and “must see events and places” that you forget the main reason you went on vacation – to relax, have fun, and have a lot of laughs! The most important thing about any great vacation is not the destination… it’s the memories!
I am sure that you have a beach bucket full of summer travel tips and ideas for traveling with kids. Please feel free to pass them along! Tell us about your favorite family vacation!
Rob Youngblood is an Emmy Award Winning TV Host, Men’s Lifestyle Expert, Keynote Speaker, Communications Coach, and Single Dad. Learn more about him on Twitter.