If you’re anything like me, you LOVE to travel! But planning a family vacation can be stressful. I have been traveling all my life. I even have photos of the first time I was stranded at an airport thanks to a Chicago snow storm when I was a toddler. Yet, every time I travel I stress out. I have however lessened this panic over time. And with some of practice and a few tips I not only survived my first as a single mom traveling with three kids but I honestly managed to thoroughly enjoy it.
Here are my three ‘secrets’ to successful stress-free easy family travel:
1. Plan ahead
Planning ahead really does make a huge difference in your experience. Doing your research ahead of time allows you to have a game plan and know what you are doing while you travel. It allows you to hopefully get the most of your time.
For me it’s important to create packing lists and budgets as well as daily schedules of activities. I create packing lists using an app and our schedules on Google Calendar. I also like to include specific info on attractions or shows like times, addresses and confirmation numbers if applicable in Google Calendar. You never know when you’ll be stuck somewhere with no reception frantically trying to find that email with your ticket confirmation. If you need ideas for great priceless experiences at your travel destination be sure to check out Mastercard Priceless Cities.
2. Forget the plan
Ok, so you spent weeks, maybe months researching all the fun you want to have with your family but don’t get TOO stuck in your schedule. Be sure to stay flexible enough to remember the reason you’re on the trip to begin with. Often the most precious memories created during family travel are those we didn’t plan or anticipate.
It is easy get caught up in getting to your next “big” thing and totally miss the chance to create spontaneous memories. Years ago we took the older boys to Myrtle Beach. We went to an aquarium, saw the ocean for the first time etc. But one of the things that stands out the most to the boys from that trip to this day was when we stopped at a souvenir shop who’s entrance was made to look like you were walking into a sharks mouth. We’d passed it several times and the boys thought it was so cool. So one day we finally stopped and took some photos. Be flexible…be spontaneous! You’ll be glad you did.
3. Let others help
For many people, myself definitely included, this one can be the hardest! It can also be the biggest stress reliever. This applies to letting family help by watching pets or taking you to the airport. But it also includes everyone from the bell hop to concierge. Often we try to do it all ourselves, whether out of pride or attempting to save costs, it’s rarely worth it. Could you manage getting all your bags AND your kids up to your room? Yes, I’m sure you can. But if you’re exhausted or stressed out when you get there, is it really worth it?
To me this was the biggest lesson to learn to really help me out, especially when traveling alone with three kids. Of course it helps when you go somewhere where they are experts at this. But even if your destination isn’t the best at this, you can get and array of top notch assistance from Mastercard Concierge Service. From hotel and travel reservations to entertainment and executive services, they’re ready and able to help you.
Hope you’ll join me and the Traveling Mom #TMOM Twitter Party for lots more easy travel planning tips and tricks!
#PricelessTravel Twitter Party 6/23
When: June 23rd 9-10 PM EST
RSVP for the Twitter party here!
Be sure to follow the#TMOM #PricelessTravel hashtags so that you don’t miss anything during the party!