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Friday, July 29, 2016

Mrs. Lo's Top Family Vacation Tips

MRS. LO’s TOP SUMMER VACATION TIPS - Poof!  And just like that, our 16th trip to Kennebunkport, Maine is in the books.  Vacation weeks do seem do fly by a lot more quickly than other weeks.  Since we do travel quite a bit, I have put together my top Vacation Tips for traveling with your Family this Summer:

8.  DO WHAT YOU LIKE - that may sound obvious but it is important to find something the whole family enjoys.  I have friends who love camping but I just can’t rough it in the woods.  Similarly, we love Disney World but I have friends who would rather chew cud than visit Disney.  To each his own!  Take your time exploring and researching on the internet and in person.  When you find something you like, remember, if it ain't t broke, don’t fix it.  That’s why we are in our 16th year returning to Kennebunkport, we absolutely love it!

7. PACK LIGHT - the more experienced the traveler, the lighter their luggage.  Most people tend to overpack, some wildly.  When I lived in Spain, my friends and I traveled all over Europe with just a small backpack.  When my husband and I spent 3 weeks in the Greece, island hopping, all we had were carry ons.  To this day, we all travel by air with one carryon each.  We never have to wait for our baggage, or pay for it, and getting around is a breeze.  Whatever you plan on packing, you can probably cut it down by 75%.

6.  BUILD UP TO IT - when the kids were younger, we only took vacations in places we could drive to.  Eventually, the trips got longer and we built up to taking our youngins on the plane.  First to Disney and then on longer international trips. I have never been a big fan of babies on planes.  The altitude really does hurt their ears, which, of course leads to crying.  But there’s always that exceptional baby that loves to fly!

5.  LET THE KIDS HELP PLAN THE TRIP - nothing makes kids more invested in a trip than being in on the planning.  Disney does a great job of letting you plan everything, from lodging to meals to rides, in advance.  I sit down with my kids and make a Bucket List of things we want to do on every trip.  This trip’s Bucket List included going to all 6 beaches, kayaking, paddleboarding, golf, biking, fishing, hiking, and going to some of our favorite spots, like Ben and Jerry’s in town.  We didn’t do everything on our list but we did almost all of everything; and the kids enjoyed being able to put a big green checkmark next to items on our Bucket List as we completed them.

4.  LIGHTEN UP ON THE SCREEN TIME THING - we usually try (unsuccessfully) to limit our kids screen time.  We don’t own an X Box, play station or any video games (so they play video games on their tablets). But when on vacation, we let them do what they want.  Yes, both my kids were walking all over Kennebunkport trying to capture different Pokemon Go characters.  So were lots of other kids.

3.  BANG ON BUDGET - don’t blow the budget to go on vacation.  Set up a vacation club savings account so you can pay for your vacation ahead of time.  While on vacation, set a budget and stick to it.  We rent a house in Kennebunkport, which has to be paid for well in advance of coming up here.  Once we get here, we buy groceries and grill or cook at the house.  The only time we went out to dinner this week was when we had burgers at the Dine In Movie Theatre.  Nothing ruins a vacation like coming home to credit card bills.   

2.  CREATE A NO WHINING ZONE - whatever gripe anyone has, just Let It Go!  Really, you’re on vacation, that’s not the place for whining and complaining.  Somebody stole your parking spot?  Oh well, guess they're just faster!  The person you asked to take your family photo also took a picture of his thumb?  Hey, I have fun editing photos!  It’s amazing what an adjustment of attitude can do.

 1.  TAKE A SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK - unless you’re writing a Travel Blog -- which I do for fun because I love to write and I love to travel  -- you can post your fabulous vacation photos to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook when you get back.  While it’s great to interact with your friends on social media, it’s even better to give that a break until you get back.  Focus only on your family during your family vacation.  Your spouse and kids will notice and will be thankful, believe me.  Because Family Vacation time is a precious commodity and you only have a finite amount vacations over the course of your kids’ childhood.
I hope everyone gets to go on a great Family Vacation this Summer!  Next up for us:  Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic; and then a jaunt to Cape Cod in August.  
Have a great day everyone and, as always, remember to count your blessings! <3 Mrs. Lo (Photo of the sweet little 3-Bedroom house we stayed in this week, just across the street from the Beach)