Thursday, July 10, 2014

Tips in traveling; Less stress, more fun.

Thank you Kohl's for #Sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions stated are that of my own.

1. Make a list. And be sure to check it twice. There is absolutely nothing worse than going on vacation and forgetting something that you bought just for vacation. Some things are okay to forget, they're replaceable—deodorant, shampoo, a toothbrush. Others not so much—the dress you bought to wear on a date out with your husband.

2. Bring lots of water. I don't know what it is about traveling, whether it is because you sit in a car for so long, or if it's because you have nothing else to do, but it sure does make one thirsty. I think maybe the amount of food consumption may also play a role, but that's neither here nor there. Be sure to get a good quality water bottle to take with you. We have been into the glass bottles lately, and my favorite so far has been the Food Network one from Kohl's.


3. Pack a cooler.  When we first started traveling, we thought that stopping through drive through would be the easiest thing for us to do. Wrong. You want to know a way to feel yucky? Eat yucky food and sit in a car all day. It was not the way I envisioned the start of a vacation–one where I was supposed to get into a bikini! So we always pack a cooler full of food, fruit, veggies, and light snacks. Don't forget trash bags!

4. Less is more. As in less bags. I remember the first year that we drove to the beach, Andrew came home to find 20 bags sitting by the door. Twenty. Now, in my defense, they were not all full, and they certainly were not all big, but I just had bags for every thing and it was too much. No wonder I had problems finding where anything was when we arrived to our condo. So? We invested in some good quality luggage and decided it was much easier to keep track when you have less.

Oh and organize it in a way where you can get to things that are important {my husband is in charge of this}. Remember--last in, first out.

5. Sleep when you can. This is obviously for those that are traveling with at least another person, but one thing that I learned is that sleep is very important when driving such long distances. Granted, with kids that makes it a little bit more difficult. It also makes the time go by faster, and you get to your destination much sooner. One tip is to definitely get a travel pillow. I take mine everywhere–from car rides to plane trips. They're small, and give you that support when you are stuck in small compact places to sleep.


6. Play games.  When twiddling your thumbs gets old, car games come in for the win. They're fun no matter what company you are in–spouse, children, friends. I also like to bring flashcards to quiz my oldest.  Some car games include:
  • the license plate game {see if you can find all 50 states while driving}
  • the number game {see who can shout the number first–fun game with my 3 year old}
  • the color car game {list a color and see who can find it first}
  • And of course the alphabet game {start with A and go to Z, trying to find signs, cars, and so forth that have the letter we are looking for}. 
  • Twenty questions game {think of an animal, and they have to ask you questions to guess what that animal is}.

7. Entertain the heart, soul, and ears. And by that, I mean, invest in some headphones. This is important when you are trying to sleep as well. If you have one set of ears on the children {in this case, my husband driving}, then no problem tuning them out for a bit until someone absolutely needs you. I assure you, it won't be long. Music, however, does have a way of making the time zip right on by.

8. Prepare for emergencies. Traveling can be a little scary because you are away from home. You are away from all the places that you know, people that are familiar to you, and just the way that things work in your neck of the woods. That being said, there are a couple things that have brought me comfort when we travel.

  1. One, download the "Hospital search" app before you go. It's an app that has all the hospitals and clinics listed in the area that you are look for. It will be there for easy access, just in case. 
  2. Two,  bring a first aid kit with you! I don't know exactly how it was possible, but my daughter somehow got a cut in her car seat while in the car and obviously strapped in. Again, don't ask how—toddlers can do anything. Also good to have when you are a staying in a place that you don't own, where they usually don't even have the basics.

9. Keep track of your trip. Pictures are great, video camera even better, but an old school style journal is definitely something that is often times overlooked and personally one that I prefer to use. I love to keep track of every day on vacation, and I will love even more when I get to look back on these days years from now. It's kind of nice to put words to the pictures and videos as well—tell a story in a way. After I get home from vacation, I do three things: a slideshow, a book, and write the trip in full.  It sure takes time, but it sure is worth it.

These moments go by fast, and before you know it, they're over–Babies turn to toddlers, toddlers turn to kids, and then teenagers one day. And then you become like my parents who are now traveling with five of their grandchildren.

That will be us one day, Andrew and I—traveling big, and I am definitely more than okay with that.

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