Vacations are fun, but also can be stressful. A lot of times you are going somewhere new, where you don’t know the traffic, stores, etc. Thank goodness we have the internet to help with this and a variety of travel sites like AAA. Here are some tips I use to organize our family vacations.
1. Research, Research, Research
I use AAA so I can see reviews of hotels on there, but just Google a hotel and you’ll find out what it’s really like. Do pay attention to dates. A review from 2 years ago isn’t really that helpful.
I also look up amusement places and attractions..Facebook is a great tool for that. People aren’t shy on Facebook about saying how they feel. The information is more current since it’s easier to post a quick comment on a page then a full review on a travel site.
Of course look for money saving coupons and offers from these sources! If you have a membership at your local zoo or aquarium check and see if they are part of a reciprocal program, and carry a copy of that with you.
I like to type a list of where we want to go, extra places if time allows, and restaurants to visit (unusual ones). On this list I put address, phone number, hours, admission prices, and website address. If you are visiting multiple cities, then I would have a page for each city.
You are probably thinking that you will have your Smart Phone or laptop with you to look all this up. Depending where you go you can hit a dead zone, and that phone isn’t much help looking up an address. Hotels can have iffy internet speeds plus access to a printer.
A packing list is a necessity for me! I have 2 kids and a hubby to pack for so I need a list with everything on it (including quantities of each item)
As I said phones can lose signal (mine does in my house) and internet can be very slow or no access to a printer at the hotel. I print up maps with directions from AAA. Mapquest is another I’ve used in the past. I also request State maps from AAA (part of the membership)
I like to also print maps of attractions like the zoos. The kids enjoy looking at it in the car, and it gets them excited about where we are going.
I take a hard copy of my reservation confirmation and/or cancellations with me. I get a copy emailed, but I like to have a physical copy just in case an issue arises.
I put all of this in an accordion folder ($1 at Target). It’s organized by location. I also have a plastic zipper envelope to put coupons/ticket stubs/receipts in.