Category: Travel

5 Smart Travel Tips for Your Next Family Roadtrip

smart travelDoes the idea of a road trip sound great in theory, but make you groan when you consider all the details? You’re not alone.

Family road trips often sound like an amazing opportunity for quality time and bonding. But the tenth cry of “she hit me” and repetition of the Wiggles soundtrack can quickly drive you crazy.

Luckily, we’ve got all the info you need to make your family road trip a success. Read on for some smart travel tips that’ll help you actually enjoy your next adventure.

Making the Most of Family Roadtrips

A road trip is a great way to travel as a family. You have the freedom to go wherever you want and can easily pull the car over for food and bathroom breaks. You’ll also get to explore parts of the country that you would miss if you were flying to your destination.

But it’s not all fun and games, and a road trip can quickly turn into a nightmare if you don’t prepare correctly. Here are some smart travel tips to get you started:

1. Do Your Research

The best thing you can do to make your trip go smoothly? Research. Get online and find where other parents drove, where they stayed, and the activities they recommend.

Speak to other parents and get suggestions for experiences or itineraries. Keep in mind the ages of your kids (and theirs) so you can ensure you’re getting the best advice for your situation.

2. Travel With Other Parents

What’s better than a road trip? A road trip with other parents and kids. The more people you travel with, the less likely you’ll hear “I’m bored” from your kids.

You’ll also be making decisions as a team, and can enjoy a well-earned glass of wine at the end of the day.

3. Drive Safe

Before you leave, it’s a good idea to get the car checked out. Whether you have a teeny Toyota or a handicap van, take it in for a service and check that everything is working as it should.

Before you leave, check the tires. You may also want to check the back seat to ensure all windows and doors have the child safety locks activated and there are no choking hazards back there.

4. Take Entertainment

There are now more ways to entertain your kids than ever before. But even the most prepared parent can still hear whining on a long drive.

The answer? Pack more options than you think you’ll need.

However you feel about screen time, most parents allow at least an hour or two on road trips. Here are some other great options:

  • Reading
  • Family podcasts
  • Games like “I Spy”
  • Audiobooks
  • Talking
  • Looking up information about the area
  • Listening to songs
  • Writing in journals

5. Take Frequent Breaks

If you’re close to your destination, it can be tempting to keep driving, even when the whole family is tired. Instead, avoid setting a strict schedule and play it by ear.

That means regularly taking breaks for snacks and the bathroom. Encourage the kids to run around (set up a quick game of tag or race around the car), and try to stretch your legs yourself.

Smart Travel is Sane Travel

A family road trip doesn’t need to be stressful. By following the above smart travel tips, you can enjoy spending time together as a family and see the sights without losing your sanity.

What are your top road trip tips? Leave a comment below and let us know! Then, check us out for more tips on thrifty living and more!

A Guide to Going on Vacation Overseas With the Family

going on vacationAre you thinking of heading overseas on a family vacation?

Taking the family overseas is a great way to bond as well as expose kids to a different culture.

Before you take off, however, there’s a lot of research and planning that needs to take place in order to have the best experience possible. Here are a few tips to ensure the whole family has fun the next time you’re going on vacation:

1. Make sure you have all paperwork ready

The first step is making sure you have all the documents you need for international travel. This typically includes proper identification, such as a passport.

When you’re traveling with the family, make sure everyone has what they need well in advance of your departure date.

Once you arrive at your destination, make sure all documents are stored safely so they’re not stolen or lost during your trip.

2. Research, research, research

This step should really be done before you even decide that you’re going on vacation. Researching where you’ll be is key to a successful trip, especially when traveling as a family.

First, make sure everywhere you’re planning to go is safe for a family. This might not always be obvious, so try to read reviews or consult a travel advice website before leaving.

Next, get a good idea of what you’ll want to do and activities, tourist attractions and restaurants that will be good for the whole family.

3. Plan out an itinerary

After you’ve done your research, you should be ready to build out your itinerary. It’s crucial to have an itinerary planned out well in advance to prevent surprises from popping up.

For example, make sure every restaurant you pick is family-friendly and that there will be menu items everyone can eat. Some restaurants around the world won’t be accommodating to certain diets or feature children’s menus.

4. Pick the best accommodations

When going on vacation as a family, picking the right hotel or other accommodations is key to having a great trip. First, make sure the hotel you’re looking at allows children.

Also, read reviews of the hotels online and do a special search for reviewers that stayed there with children. There’s often a lot to be learned from people who have already stayed there.

Reading reviews and looking at user photos is also key to getting an idea for how big the hotel rooms are and what amenities they have. Hotel rooms differ around the world and they might not be the size or have everything you’re used to at home.

If you’re craving more space and a more authentic vacation, you could also consider renting holiday homes. Renting a home in your destination often gives you more space for the family, as well as helps you assimilate into the culture and feel like a local.

5. Pack a survival kit before going on vacation

It’s always best to plan for the worst, especially when you’re traveling in unfamiliar territory. To do this, you’ll want a well-stocked backpack or purse to take around with you on your daily excursions.

Stock this pack with essential you know you’ll family will need, because you might not be able to pop into a store and buy them quickly. This can include things like diapers, batteries, a map, a bilingual dictionary, water bottle and more.

Do you have more tips for traveling with the family? Leave them in the comments below.

Nature Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to Hiking With Kids

hiking with kidsAre you looking for a way to get your kids off the couch and outside?

Hiking is an amazing outdoor experience. Not only is it a great form of exercise, but it provides fresh air and allows for a little one-on-one time with Mother Nature.

Hiking with kids is an excellent family activity. With a little preparation and research, you can plan a fun-filled day your kids will love.

Read on to find out how.

Pack Wisley

What you bring when hiking with kids is almost as important as where you decide to hike.

There are some essential items that you won’t want to find yourself without.

Food and Water

It’s always important to stay hydrated, especially if you’re hiking in warm weather. Bringing enough water for everyone, and maybe even some extra bottles, will prevent dehydration side effects including dizziness, weakness, and dry mouth.

Snacks are also important when hiking with kids. Bring non-perishable and easy to eat foods like pretzels, granola bars, and trail mix. You can even pack a small picnic lunch with sandwiches, as long as it’s not too difficult to carry and keep cold.

Bug Spray

This is an essential item when hiking in wooded areas. You may encounter any number of insects on your adventure from ants to flies, ticks, and mosquitos.

A quality bug spray will help keep you and your children protected from unwanted bites and irritations.

Proper Clothing

The appropriate clothing for your hike will be determined by the location, expected weather, and time of year.

Since you’re more likely to hike in warmer, more pleasant weather when hiking with kids, you’ll need thin, cool clothing. Lightweight material is best for both shirts and pants. To avoid sunburn, bug bites and cuts from sticks and rocks, long-sleeved apparel is recommended.

The proper hiking shoes will also make the trip easier for both you and your children. Do a little research about the terrain you’ll be hiking on and what boots are best for the job.

Pick a Fun Path

Choosing the right path will make the difference between a pleasurable hike and a miserable one.

Dependent on your child’s age and ability, choose a route that will be mildly challenging, but mostly enjoyable. Paths with a lot of beautiful scenery or a gorgeous view at the end will keep kids interested and moving!

If you and your children are just beginning to explore the world of hiking, choose a place with clearly defined pathways and marked trails.

Know the Wildlife

Anytime you’re embarking on an outdoor adventure with kids, it’s important to know your surroundings well. Be aware of what type of wildlife you may encounter.

Some areas are densely populated with deer and other relatively harmless animals such as raccoon, squirrels, chipmunks, and various bird species. These animals might be fun for you and your children to observe.

But you must also be on alert and prepared if you encounter more menacing wildlife such as bear, bobcat, or mountain lions.

Bring the Right Hiking Gear

Aside from the necessary items listed above, some additional, trail specific items may serve you well when hiking with kids.

A compass will help you navigate if you and your family get off track. Be sure to bring binoculars so your children can observe wildlife, flowers, and spectacular views.

If you think you or your child might need help scaling steeper inclines, these trekking pole reviews will help you choose the right hiking poles and walking sticks for your trip.

Be Patient When Hiking With Kids

As wonderful as a day of family hiking can be, it’s important to remember that kids can get tired and cranky after a long day of activity.

It’s important to remain patient and encourage your children to take breaks when needed. Try motivating each other with words of encouragement. Show your child on the map how close you are to your destination.

If you give your children jobs such as “compass reader” or “animal look out” it will help keep their mind occupied and their focus off the length of the trip.

Looking for other fun activities to do with your children, like making ice cream? Are you a coupon-clipper working on a budget? Visit our site for some great ideas.

If you have other, affordable and fun tips for families with children, leave a comment below.

Planning Flawless Family Ski Vacations

ski vacationWhen you’re looking at family ski vacations, you want to spend less time stressing about the planning and more time getting ready for the slopes.

Ski vacations can be pricey, but the right planning ahead of time can save you bundles of money and stress. With these tips, we’ll show you how to get your family on the ski adventure of your dreams without all the stress.

Be Flexible — But Not Too Flexible!

If you are flexible with your travel dates, you’ll be able to take advantage of promotions and deals. You can often score big discounts if you go on less popular days.

But you also don’t want to go so far chasing a deal that you compromise your vacation! Remember, skiing is a seasonal sport. Without snow, you’re out of luck!

So, if you see a great deal, check what the average weather conditions are like for that area during the time you’re thinking of going. If March in that area is notoriously warm, or they usually don’t have snow by late December, the savings probably aren’t worth the risk.

Instead, consider being flexible with where you are willing to go. 40 states have ski resorts, so you’ve got a ton of choice.

It may be worth going further to get to the resort if you can take advantage of a great sale. So when you’re searching for resorts, cast a wide net.

Consider Alternative Accommodations

A hotel or chalet room might be your default thought when it comes to ski vacations accommodation, but it isn’t necessarily the best one.

Less traditional accommodation can sometimes provide big savings. Condo or vacation home rentals come with kitchen facilities. This means you don’t have to pay to eat all your meals out. Instead, you can cook something healthy and hearty to give your family the energy they need to ski all day!

Plus, vacation homes are often big enough to split with other friends or relatives, helping cut down on costs while making your vacation more social.

Many ski resorts offer these sorts of alternative accommodations. For example, https://www.whistlerpremier.com has vacation homes and condos all throughout Whistler.

Rent, Don’t Buy

Unless you are a family of avid skiers, you probably don’t need to buy your own equipment. It would take a ton of trips for it to be more economical than renting.

When you own the skis, you need to store and upkeep them, and it makes plane travel more expensive. Plus, your kids will be constantly outgrowing their old skis.

Renting is much more economical. However, you will want to buy a few necessities. Ski goggles, gloves, good coats and snow pants are all a must.

Budget Everything

Once you’ve decided on your resort and accommodation, you can draft an accurate budget.

Check out the prices of the resort restaurants by looking at the menus beforehand. Figure out where you can get groceries if your accommodation has a kitchen. Factor in any clothes you still need to buy, like sweaters or long underwear. Don’t forget to stock up on travel essentials like your first aid kit.

And don’t forget a bit of pocket money! You can be sure you’ll want to buy a round of hot chocolates to warm up after a long day on the slopes, and a few souvenirs never hurt. Factoring these expenses into your budget will keep you from overspending.

Wrapping Up

Ski vacations are an absolute blast! With the right planning, you can make sure that yours goes flawlessly.

With some flexibility about your dates, resort, and accommodation, taking advantage of rentals, and having a solid budget, you can set yourself up for a great trip.

Are you planning a ski vacation? How did your last trip go? Leave a reply and let us know!

5 Tips for Handling Your Travel Finances Next Vacation

travel financesIf you’re dreaming of the perfect trip, getting your travel finances in order well before you leave home is the best way to make it a great experience.

The Census Bureau states that tourist spending within America has been growing steadily since the start of this decade. However, you can keep your costs low by planning ahead and cutting your travel costs in advance.

Get a grip on your travel finances right now with these 5 simple tips.

1. Save Ahead of Time

It sounds so simple, but many of us don’t really think about the cash we’re going to take on vacation with us until we leave.

Putting aside a little each month over 12 months is a lot easier than trying to find the money all at once when the time comes.

Say you put $50 of your paycheck into a special account for your vacation. That’s $600 marked for vacation use, which sounds like a very good start to a trip!

You can also save yourself a bit more cash with these savvy tips. Then, you can put the difference aside for your vacation.

2. Buy Ahead of Time

You can also help to spread out your spending by buying activities and experiences ahead of time through sites like Groupon.

This type of site sells prepaid vouchers for things to do during your trip. Usually, these offers are sold at a big discount.

Just don’t forget to bring the vouchers with you when you leave for vacation!

3. Consider a Credit Card for Travel Finances

A credit card processed by a travelers epay system can help you to spread the cost of your vacation as you go. That way, you can deal with the debt later.

However, this isn’t meant to encourage you to spend what you don’t have.

The best way to manage this aspect of your travel finance is to take out a trip-friendly 0%-on-purchases card that you can spend on and pay off later. Ideally, you can pay it off during the 0% period.

Just remember to pick a card which offers a good exchange rate if you’re leaving the states.

4. Look at Airbnb

We all need little luxuries from time to time, but Airbnb is often so much cheaper than hotels.

You can spend the difference on treats for your vacation. That way, you’re not forking out hundreds of extra dollars for a hotel room.

Also take a look at Tripping.com, FlipKey and HomeAway when looking for hotel alternatives.

5. Discount Vacation Websites

There are sites out there like VacationsToGo which scout for ‘clearance’ vacations and sell them to the rest of us.

You can enjoy 50% or more off the cost of a trip using these sites. They’re great if you’re traveling on a budget.

And they’re also great for anyone who’d rather spend the money they save on more exciting things than a hotel room!

Enjoy Your Trip

Wherever you’re going, use these tips to make it a fabulous (and affordable) experience.

If you’re looking to earn some extra cash on the side before you go, check out these ways to earn money for your vacation.

Road Trip Hacks: How to Travel With Kids and Keep Your Sanity

travel with kidsWhen you travel with kids, you could be setting yourself in for a stressful time. 6% of parents in one survey confessed to returning home early from a family holiday because it was just too much for them.

A road trip with kids should be simple right? Wrong. They’re tired, they’re fidgety, they start fighting in the back – we love our kids, but sometimes they can be little terrors!

Here’s how to keep your sanity on a long-haul road trip.

1. Distract Them with a Map

When you travel with kids, give them a map and let them trace a finger along to your destination.

This can help to keep them occupied, as well as manage their expectations of when you might arrive.

Plus, they might learn the names of a few states or cities – parents can live in the hope we’re providing a bit of education for the little ones!

2. Plan Regular Breaks

On a long drive, there’s no doubt all that pent up energy in the back seat is going to cause a fuss sooner or later. And you’ll need the bathroom.

Scope out gas stations along your route before you leave, and plan where to stop.

Find places where you can park up a while and head to a nearby play area. Let them run around until they’re tired – and hopefully, they’ll be a bit quieter when you continue driving.

While you’re pulled into a gas station, you might be interested to know about how to get free gas and keep the cost of your trip low. You might also want to check for coupons to grab free or discounted food.

If exercise doesn’t work, how about trying to teach them a ‘calm breathing routine‘? Turn it into a game if you must.

Anything that stops them asking “Are we there yet?” one more time.

3. Bring Some Entertainment and Food

Bring books or audio books along for the drive. If you have an iPad, consider giving them that to play with if they’re old enough. Or even DVDs if you’re lucky enough to have televisions in your car seats.

If you have more than one child, handing them a travel set of a game like checkers, with a magnetic board and pieces can work wonders to keep them quiet for a few hours. So long as it doesn’t cause a fight.

Snacks can help to keep them quiet too – but don’t overdo it on the sugar. The last thing you want is a five-year-old at the height of a sugar high in the car with you.

If it’s a long journey, don’t forget to bring a packed lunch for the family – or make use of those gas station stops to refuel yourselves too.

Travel with Kids – Are You Still Sane?

Hopefully, these tips help you to survive your road trip with your mental health completely intact.

We hope your trip goes well – and if you want to save some money while you’re out of town, be sure to check out these hot deals – you never know when your luck will be in!

5 Tips to Prepare For Your Next Family Boating Trip

family boating tripSummer is starting to wind down, which means it’s time to enjoy every last ounce of sunshine before the colder months kick in. That means it’s time to grab the family and head out for one last adventure.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your summer is by taking the family on a boating trip. Be it the ocean or just your local lake, there’s something fun and refreshing about an afternoon on the water.

And, before you actually take to the water, you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared to have the best time possible.

Here are some awesome tips to help you prepare for your next family boating trip.

5 Tips to Prepare For Your Next Family Boating Trip

1. Inspect Your Boat

Before you use something like IMM Quality Boat Lifts, you’ll want to do a quick inspection before you’re good to go.

Here’s a list of things to check for before bringing your boat down from the lift:

  • Make sure there aren’t any cracks.
  • Look at any wiring that may have been exposed to water.
  • Test your fuel and oil.
  • Clean your upholstery and check for mold.

2. Bring Sunscreen and Bug Spray

No day in the sun is complete without a healthy helping of helping of sunscreen. It’s a great way to keep your family burn-free and can even prevent skin cancer later down the road.

If you haven’t already, try and figure out what types of sunscreen work best for your family. Some of your family may have fairer skin than others, so it’s not a bad idea to pack a few different types.

You’ll also want to make sure you’ve got some bug spray on hand. With a growing concern about the Zika virus, it’s important that you keep mosquitoes away.

Once on board, keep a watchful eye out for any unwanted pests near still waters.

3. Safety First

To have the fun day you’ve always wanted, keeping the little ones safe is paramount.

And, unfortunately, without planning and preparation, preventable accidents can happen.

Before you even crank up the boat, make sure there are plenty of life jackets on board. Then, be certain that those life jackets are as safe as possible.

Here’s a quick check list to get you started:

  1. Make sure each vest fits.
  2. If it’s inflatable, make sure it has plenty of air in it.
  3. Make sure there aren’t any leaks.
  4. If your boat has been dormant for a while, make sure your life jackets aren’t beginning to deteriorate.

A boating trip is tons of fun, but you’ll want to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.

4. Bring Snacks

No day in the sun is complete without a couple of delicious snacks. Be sure to take a break from swimming, tubing, or just floating and grab a bite to eat.

And, you don’t need to be a Michelin starred chef to prepare before you go.

To save money, pack a cooler full of sandwiches, as well as a few bags of chips.

Cut up some apple slices and pineapple and bring them along for the ride. You can even sip on some watermelon lemonade for a tasty, tropical treat.

5. Stay Hydrated

The longer you’re out in the sun, the more important it is to stay hydrated. Grab a giant pack of water bottles, a cooler of ice, and make sure you’re regularly drinking water.

Dehydration is no joke, and water is absolutely critical for optimal health. Try and drink some water at least once an hour.

Lastly, Have Fun in the Sun!

So, now you’re ready for your day out with the family. We sure hope it’s a fun trip!

Love a boating trip as much as we do? We’d love to hear any tips you have!