Just think of it: a family vacation in which everything goes
right, the sun always shines and the kids never spill.
OK, enough fantasy. In the real world, family vacations have the
potential to create as much (or more) stress than our daily lives.
But there are ways to take some of the stress out of travel.
1. Don't rely on your memory. Use that camera
in your cell phone to take a picture of your parking spot number.
That way you won't have to look for an elusive slip of paper when
you return home three days from now.
2. Have a backup. Scan copies of your travel
documents--passports, itineraries, confirmation numbers--and email
them to yourself. That way, everything you need is as close as the
nearest Internet connection or your Web-enabled phone.
3. Think small. Don't bring the large size
shampoo bottle. Fill (and keeping refilling) small bottles. Visit
the cosmetic counter at your local department store and stock up on
samples. It will lighten your load and lessen the stress of
worrying about how to pack the 32-ounce bottle of conditioner.
4. Bring plastic--the Ziploc kind. You don't
want the nasty surprise of opening your suitcase at the hotel only
to find the shampoo bottle burst and ran all over the clothes you
packed for the week. Put everything that might leak into a plastic
bag and bring extra bags in larger sizes. They'll come in handy for
that bottle of tequila you bought in Mexico or the wet bathing
suits from the kids who had to have one last dip in the hotel pool
before piling into the car for the long ride home.
5. Rent a condo. These days, vacation rental
condos with a kitchen and separate bedrooms are springing up
everywhere. They're a great option for families. Even if the
nightly rate is a little more than a hotel (and that isn't always
the case), you could offset the expense by eating several meals in.
Since kids nearly always get up hungry, it can save a lot of stress
in addition to cash if the box of cereal is on the counter and the
gallon of milk in the fridge. And there's the added benefit of a
separate bedroom for parents, which is a whole different kind of
Cindy Richards is a veteran travel writer and the editor of
TravelingMom.com, a Web
site for moms who travel with and without their kids.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.
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