25 Tips for Happy Family Travel this Summer

Summer is right around the corner, and many families are busy making fun travel plans.

25 Tips for Happy Family Travel

affiliate_disclaimer25 Tips for Happy Family Travel this Summer

Make sure you follow these 25 tips for happy family travel to help avoid common pitfalls or not-so-enjoyable experiences!

Preparing for Your Trip

  1. Finish packing early. Avoid being frazzled with still packing as everyone loads up in the car. Start packing soon enough to finish the day before you are set to leave.
  1. Make a packing list. Create a list of everyone’s belongings needed on the trip. Be specific – include the number of outfits, undergarments, and shoes needed. List all toiletries and medications too, so they aren’t forgotten!  If going on a road trip, download our free Road Trip Car Packing List.

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  1. slepp - family TravelGet a good night’s sleep the night before. It’s best to start a family trip when everyone is well rested. When everyone is in a good mood the morning of departure, family travel runs much more smoothly.
  1. Try not to overpack. Though everyone should have the items they need for the journey, packing too much can make it hard for everyone to be comfortable in the car. Plus, too much luggage can raise your costs if you are flying.
  1. Tell someone your travel plans. Give your family member or a loyal friend the important details regarding your trip, including dates of travel, cell phone numbers, and hotel information. If anything tragic were to happen, these people can get in touch with the police and provide any information they need.

On the Trip

  1. Plan enough down time for kids. Even when having a blast, young children will get tired faster than adults. Make sure you plan some naps during your travels, and make sure your kids get enough rest each night.
  1. Don’t plan every detail. Forget creating an overbearing itinerary! Research the best things your destination has to offer, but don’t be afraid to ask locals – the waitress at dinner or the hotel concierge – for recommendations on fun attractions or things to do.
  1. Find where kids eat free. This little perk of family travel will save you money on your trip! Most places that offer free meals for kids serve foods that your children will actually eat, so fewer struggles at dinner!

  1. Utilize travel coupons! This will keep your travel budget happy, and give you more ideas for family entertainment. Pick up brochures or travel booklets when you are at rest stops, restaurants, or even your hotel.
  1. Pack lots of plastic! You don’t realize just how handy plastic bags can be until you are on a trip. Ziploc bags are great for holding jewelry, dirty silverware, or your cell phone during a rainstorm. Consider these great clear mesh travel bags for packing or holding the small stuff you don’t want to lose.  Grocery bags make it easier to toss trash or store wet clothing.

Family Travel in the Car

  1. Pack lots of snacks. You want your kids to be occupied when traveling, and hunger is a common complaint for those stuck in the backseat. Dried cereal, fruit, and crackers with peanut butter are great travel-friendly snacks to have in the car.
  1. Limit beverage intake. If you want to arrive at your destination on time, you want to watch how much your children guzzle on the road trip. Plan to take one or two bathroom stops already, depending on the distance, but reducing how much they drink the car will avoid several extra stops.
  1. Family Travel by carBring the entertainment. Car rides get boring fairly quickly. Pack books, tablets, portable DVD players, and car games so the entire family enjoys the drive to your destination.
  1. Travel during resting times. In the car is where many kids take their best naps. If you can travel in the early afternoon or through the night, your children may arrive at the destination well rested and ready to tackle the day or evening!
  1. Get your car serviced. Take your car in for an oil change and inspection. You will be happy you did if it prevents you from being on the side of the road with unhappy kids!

Family Travel on a Plane

  1. Take a pic before hitting the airport. If a child goes missing in the busy airport, you need a recent photo so he can be located as quickly as possible. Include the bag or carry-on luggage they have with them in the picture as well.
  1. Pack gum. This helps to relieve the pressure in the ears during take off and landing. It is not a fun experience for anyone, but definitely not for children.
  1. Family Travel by planeCreate an order. Daddy, the kids, then Mommy. Utilize this when going through airport security, while boarding, and while exiting the plane. Kids in the middle prevents anyone from becoming lost!
  1. Bring an extra lovey. A special blanket or stuffed toy can comfort a child new to flying. However, make sure you have an extra on hand in case it’s left behind during any of the travels. She will want that same comforting toy on the way home too!
  1. Dress them comfortably. Sitting on a plane for more than 2 hours can feel like days for a rambunctious child. If they get hot or uncomfortable, the ordeal becomes even worse. Dress him in light clothing, layering if possible so he stays cool.

When in the Hotel Room

  1. Book a hotel that’s close to the fun. This makes it easier for you to explore and keep the kids from getting bored. Plus, when things are in walking distance you can save time and effort getting everyone in and out of the car every day.
  1. Check for kid-friendly amenities. Even if you don’t plan to spend lots of time in your room, it doesn’t hurt to have a few fun things for your kiddos to do on site. A pool is probably the most common activity for your kids to enjoy, but some hotels also offer a rental DVDs or an arcade.
  1. Childproof your room. Keep the doors locked and bolted when inside the room. If you have an adventurous toddler, bring along outlet covers and other safety items to prevent a mishap.
  1. Reserve the crib when you book. Don’t wait until you arrive to ask for a cot or crib. There’s a good chance they will all be accounted for by other families. Mention it with your room reservation to ensure your little one has a place to sleep.
  1. Choose a suite. It may be a little more expensive, but everyone in the family will be happier with different sleeping quarters. Kids can go to bed before the adults, and separating the two lets everyone get the rest they need.

Planning ahead and following these tips will help you have the best possible summer family travel. Enjoy your vacation!

If you have any tips to add to make family vacations better, please leave them in the comments below.

Celebrate Home Office Organization Day

Are you still struggling with clutter?  I am!  What about your home office?  Mine seems to be one of the worst clutter areas.

Today is National Organize Your Home Office Day.

Home Office Organization Day

My Dilemma

Recently, my son invited a friend to stay at our home for a week during spring break. My home office was a total wreck, there was no way I wanted anyone to see the mess.

So to prepare for our guest I not only wanted the main areas of our home to be “spic and span” clean, but I wanted my son’s room to be organized and my home office to be decluttered and organized.

I don’t think anyone in my home thought I could pull it off.  I had boxes and boxes of stuff.  Papers, magazines, tax papers, books, memorabilia, and the list goes on. It looked more like a warehouse than a home office. I hate to say this, but much of it was trash.

Big Job

This was going to be a big job.

I carted at least 5 large garbage bags of trash out of my home office. Then I began organizing.

clutterThe problem I ran into was in some of the boxes I had multiple things including trash.  So even though at first glance it might have looked like something I could pitch, I couldn’t just throw it away, I had to go through the contents.  Not sure why I kept some of it to start with, but I sure didn’t need all that stuff.

Progress

I went through several boxes.  Organized a lot of stuff and then carted a few boxes to the attic to sort at a later time.

But the big news is the room is presentable.  Even my son was impressed with my progress.

Next Steps

Office organizedMy home office isn’t perfect, but I enjoy going in the room a lot more and now I’m ready to go to the next level.

I have Cynthia Alexander’s book,  Get Your Home Office Organized: Cut the Clutter and Watch Your Productivity Soar.  Included in the book is a 30-day step-by-step plan for organizing your home office.

Cynthia is a professional organizer in the Dallas area, you can connect with her online at Breakfree From Clutter and Dallas Organizing.

As Cynthia says, “The best first  and next step to organizing your home office is the one that you will actually do.”

Organize Your Home Office Day

In honor of National Organize Your Home Office Day, I’m starting the 30-day home office organization plan to do an even better job of decluttering and organizing my home office.

So what about you?  How are you celebrating National Organize Your Home Office Day?

St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts & History

As you prepare to enjoy some St. Paddy’s Day fun with your family, it may be a good time to learn about the history of this day and why we celebrate it.

St. Patrick's Day Fun Facts and History

St. Patrick’s Day Fun Facts & History

As you prepare to enjoy some St. Paddy’s Day fun with your family, it may be a good time to learn about the history of this day and why we celebrate it.  So get your Irish on and learn something new.  Then, use what you learn to play trivia games with your family to celebrate your Irish ancestry.

Why do we wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?

Traditionally, the color green represents Ireland or the Emerald Isle. However, according to legend green also has the magical power to make people invisible to leprechauns or other fairy creatures. That means, wearing green can keep you from getting pinched by mischievous leprechauns. If you don’t wear green on St. Patrick’s Day, watch out, you’ll get pinched!

Why shamrocks?

shamrock-leaves_zJFlh4dO_LIn ancient Ireland, shamrocks were the symbol of the rebirth of spring and were considered a sacred plant. In the 1600s the shamrock became the symbol of Irish nationalism. During a time when the English were invading Irish land, people would wear shamrocks as a symbol of their heritage and loyalty to their country.

Where did the leprechaun come from?

lepThe leprechaun most likely originated from Celtic folklore and their belief in fairies— tiny men and women with magical powers for both good and evil. In Celtic tales, leprechauns were the ones who fixed shoes for other fairies. They were grumpy,  mean-spirited, and known for their deception and trickery. The leprechaun was never a symbol of St. Patrick’s Day, but in 1959 a Disney movie transformed the leprechaun’s image into that of a cheery, good-hearted soul.

Who is Saint Patrick?

St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland, but he was actually born in England. As a young man, he was taken prisoner by the Irish and held in captivity for six years. During that time he became a devout Christian. It is said that he heard the voice of God, which helped him escape.  Later, as the story goes, he had visions of an angel, who told him to return to Ireland as a missionary. It is widely believed that Patrick was the one who introduced Christianity to Ireland. It is also believed that he passed away on March 17, which is how St. Patrick’s Day came to be celebrated then.

Did You Know:

Initially, St. Patrick’s Day was observed as a religious holiday. Until the 1970s, all pubs were forced to close on March 17th out of respect for the holiday. Then, in 1995, the government of Ireland decided to use St. Patrick’s Day as a chance to promote tourism, which helped it become a world-celebrated holiday.

The largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in America happen in New York City, Boston, Massachusetts, and Savannah, Georgia.

How do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

Help to Conquer Your Clutter

Do you ever feel like you spend half your life hunting for things?   I’ve been on a mission to conquer clutter.  I bet you want to conquer your clutter too!

Many of us have a clutter or organization problem. You feel like you are getting ahead of it and then bam you are right back where you started.  Something gets you off track and you loose ground.

Conquer Your Clutter

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Conquer Your Clutter

You often feel like you’re just one step away from flat-out crazy. Just when you get one closet decluttered, you find another closet door that won’t shut. Or when you finally get your inbox empty, another stack of papers comes in the mail.

So you start feeling desperate, wondering how to find the time to develop a system that works for you, how to squeeze in more decluttering, and how on earth you can get your family to participate. You wind up feeling MORE overwhelmed than you were in the first place.

But what if you could find systems that work for you, not against you? Solutions that will – at last! – be the organizational remedy you’ve been waiting for?

An Answer

Well, I think I’ve found some resources to help you: The Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle from the Ultimate Bundles team.

It’s a curated collection of 38 eBooks, eCourses, and printable planners to help you organize your life, created by people who’ve learned how to conquer all the different types of clutter (physical, mental, digital) in their life – and win!

The combined value of the resources in the toolkit is over $650, but you get EVERYTHING for 95% off!

Check it out here: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/clutter/a1488/

If you’ve struggled to find systems to help you streamline your life and inject some much-needed peace into your home, the Conquer Your Clutter Super Bundle will remove that barrier for you.

What is Included?

Wondering what is included?   Is there something that will help you?   Check it out!

Cleaning & Chores

  • 2017 Motivated Moms Chore Planner by Susan Cramer ($9.00)
  • 30 Day Guide to a Clean and Organized Home  by Rachel Jones ($27.97)
  • Energy Budget: Time Management for the Chronically Ill (And Others With Long-Term Roadblocks) by Rachel Ramey ($78.00)
  • The Three Systems Every Family Needs by Saren Loosli ($24.00)

Decluttering

  • Chaos To Clutter-Free: 16 Realistic Steps To An Organized Home by Davonne Parks ($4.99)
  • Freed from Clutter: Declutter Course  by Becky Mansfield ($47.00)
  • Step-By-Step Decluttering: Your Guide To Less Stuff And An Uncluttered Home by Sarah Mueller ($15.00)

Family Organization    

  • 30 Days To An Organized Life by Kimberlee Stokes ($9.00)
  • Home Management For The Homeschool Mom: Simplifying The Big Things So You Don’t Miss The Little Things by Amy Roberts ($9.99)
  • Home Organizing DIY Assessment Workbook by Andi Willis ($7.00)
  • Organizing For School Success Kit by Saren Loosli ($27.00)
  • Organizing Life As Mom by Jessica Fisher ($12.00)
  • Sanity Savers For Christian Moms: Simple Solutions For A More Joy-filled Life! by Kristi Clover ($5.99)

Managing Your Time    

  • 5 Days To A Better Morning by Crystal Paine ($2.99)
  • Mindspace: 10 Practices To Help You Let Go Of Mental Clutter And Make Room For More Joyful, Creative Living by Melissa Camara Wilkins ($9.99)
  • Never-Ending To-Do List: A One-Hour Solution for Busy Parents Who Want  Less Stress And More Fun by Kelly Holmes ($4.99)
  • Routine Cards by Rachel Norman ($6.00)
  • Spend Your Days: How to Control Time with Rocks, Bullets, Chisels, & a Boat by Tsh Oxenreider ($8.00)

Meal Planning

  • Meal Planning Made Easy by Kelly Smith ($7.95)
  • The Printable Recipe Binder Kit by Kalyn Brooke ($12.00)
  • The Ultimate Guide To Freezer Cooking by Crystal Barton ($10.00)

Organizing Paperwork & Digital Files

  • 10 Steps To Organizing Photos & Memorabilia by Lisa Woodruff ($3.95)
  • 2017 Budget Planner by Jessi Fearon ($19.97)
  • Evernote Essentials by Brett Kelly ($29.00)
  • Paperwork: Sorted! by Chrissy Halton ($12.39)
  • Spend Well Budgeting System: Printable Files To Help You Take Control Of Your Finances by Carrie Lindsey ($5.99)
  • The Sunday Basket: Weekly Paper Organizing & Planning by Lisa Woodruff ($7.95)
  • The Ultimate Unofficial Dropbox Guide by Jason Glaspey ($29.00)

Planners

  • 2017 All Inclusive Binder by Mique Provost ($19.99)
  • Christmas Planner by Mandi Ehman 2017 ($4.00)
  • 2017 Homestead Management Printables by Quinn Veon ($8.99)
  • Thanksgiving Planner by Mandi Ehman 2017 ($3.00)
  • Homekeeping Foundations Kit: The Perfect DIY Homekeeping Binder Kit by Clean Mama ($20.00)
  • Homeschool Mom Life Binder by Heather Bowen ($19.99)
  • How To Create Your Own Printables by Laura Smith ($49.00)
  • Printable Planner Stickers by Rachael Wynn ($28.46)
  • The Home Management Binder & Family Planner by Helena Alkhas ($47.00)
  • Wanderlist: Your Travel Planning Toolkit by Kimberly Tate ($12.99)

Getting Started Guide

Worried you won’t know where to start with all the resources in the bundle? Don’t be! Inside the bundle you’ll find a handy Getting Started Guide so you can take action right away.

I hope you take advantage of this great discounted bundle of organization products.

P.S. Remember to buy The Conquer Your Clutter bundle before it expires on Monday, January 30th at 11:59 PM EST!

Get yours now: https://us154.isrefer.com/go/clutter/a1488/

Winner, Winner – That’s Me!

 

This post was written in December 2016

I won a Disney Vacation!  Yes, you read that correctly – I won a 3 night vacation in a Disney Resort Hotel and park tickets for 4 people through a contest sponsored by Family Finds Fun and Friends. ( I won this trip in fall of 2016)

Disney Vacation - I won

Have you ever noticed contests online but didn’t enter because you figured you wouldn’t win?  Well, I’m proof that people do win those contests.

Way back in June, I entered several travel contests.   I completed the entry form and even forgot I had entered.   When I did think about them, I thought I hadn’t heard from anyone so I assumed I didn’t win.

And then one day, I got an email…”Do you remember entering a Disney Contest?   You are the winner of a Disney Vacation!”

Now how about that?  At first, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or if it was true.  Then the person asked me to verify my entry with a copy of the comment I made on Facebook when I entered.   Once I provided the proof, I was confirmed as the winner of the vacation.

Winner

Now the interesting part of the story. There were over 17,000 entries and I was NOT the first person selected to win.  In fact, I think I was number 5 or 7.  When they notified people about winning they had 48 hours to respond.  Some people never responded even after a week.   Others just didn’t verify their entry.  So those people forfeited their trip.

I was quick to respond.  Who doesn’t want a free Disney vacation???

My family had visited Disney in July of this year, and I knew the week in Dec. when the trip was planned was around finals for my son at college.  So when I won, I decided to bless some other special people in my life and take my mom, sister, and aunt with me on the trip.    We are making it a girl’s trip!  My mother and aunt have never seen Disney decorated for Christmas.  They are in for a beautiful surprise.

We leave tomorrow.  (Dec. 2016)

The trip did not include airfare, but I found an incredibly great deal on airline tickets out of Latrobe to Orlando on Spirit.   I had flown out of there before and it is an easy drive and free parking, so it was a win.

Our vacation includes staying at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

Old Key West Resort

We will be visiting the Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs, and either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.

Disney Tickets

We will be posting on social media so feel free to follow along on our trip via Facebook or Instagram.

So the moral of this story is…

  1.  Don’t be afraid to enter online contests.   They do pick a winner and that winner could be YOU!
  2. Check your email on a regular basis, so you don’t miss a winning message.
  3. Respond when they announce the winner.  Don’t let a fantastic trip slip through your fingers.

Going to go pack my suitcase now using my Disney Packing List!

Thank you to Maggie Miller at Family Finds Fun and all her friends who sponsored the Disney Vacation contest.  We can’t wait to get to Disney!

Going to go pack my suitcase now using my Disney Packing List!

This post was  written in December 2016