Do you need a break?
For almost a decade, the “staycation” has been the American way. But with the economy improving, people are starting to plan for trips beyond their backyard. You may not even remember how to get out of town! If you are one of the tired, mind-numbed minions who has had enough of backyard camping and sterno s’mores, then these tips for a stress-free weekend getaway may be just what you’re looking for.
Use a Travel Agent
That may seem like a strange suggestion for a weekend getaway, but you’ll be amazed at the convenience. Travel agents make their money from the venue, not from the traveler. So, in many cases you can have your trip planned for you without any add-on fees! The agent will even plan activities for you and your family, make reservations, and arrange rentals.
When you get to your destination, that 4-wheeler will be ready for you to take up a mountain trail. You won’t have to try to “catch it” just right.
Make sure you can get a good night’s sleep
Raise your hand if you hate to travel because you prefer your own bed.
That may sound silly, but the older you get, the more you understand! This is one of many reasons people prefer to travel in an RV – they get to sleep in the same bed every night.
But wouldn’t it be better to just take a good air mattress?
You can go all the way with a separate bed, never even using the beds in the hotel or cabin. Or, you can take an inflatable mattress topper that can be adjusted to compensate for the commercial mattress.
If it’s a camping-type getaway, an air mattress of some type will be a must. Not only are they comfy enough to “mimic” your home mattress but they are always a good distraction if you’re traveling with kids. The bouncy inflatable spells fun. It will keep the little rascals busy as you bask in the comfort foldaway chair and soak in the sun. Just make sure you choose an airbed that’s solid enough to take that kind of abuse.
Rent a Car
Is your car road-worthy?
If not, you may consider renting an SUV. It would be cheaper and safer than waiting in the wilderness for roadside assistance. The extra space of an SUV will make it easier for the passengers, too, especially if you have kids. You can even get a vehicle with a video system to help keep the kids entertained.
Traveling with Kids
Traveling with kids can be fun. It can also be a nightmare.
To keep them entertained, you can go either high-tech or low-tech. We already mentioned one idea for “low-tech” entertainment when we talked about air mattresses.
But to be realistic, most kids these days have smartphones, so they may busy themselves with texting their friends about how lame it is to be on a vacay with you. There are apps that they can use to entertain the whole family on the trip. Loaded onto a phone, iPad, or tablet, kids can stay entertained (and secretly educated, in some cases) for hours.
Of course, there are many apps available for children of all ages. These are just a few. You can also go the traditional way in which you prepare a bag of activities. A selection of magnetized travel games such as checkers and chess can keep some siblings interacting for hours. You can also prepare an activity pad in which the kids can record the names of towns they pass through, or play the alphabet game, etc.
Always pack a first aid kit. You never know when you’ll need a patch of moleskin for a blister or a band-aid for a mosquito bite. In your first aid kit, include medications for headaches, nausea, and diarrhea as well as any prescriptions the family members take.
Also, consider taking ear plugs. Seriously – earplugs can save your life. You can sleep through hotel racket and your spouse’s snoring with a good set of earplugs. Try to talk the kids into wearing them, too, so that their sleep is not interrupted.
If you are staying in a hotel or motel, there are a few rules that will make the stay more enjoyable.
For one, ask for a room on the upper floor. There are 2 major benefits to this: there is no one above you stomping around, keeping you awake all night, and there are no headlights from cars glaring through your curtains during the night.
In addition, ask if there is any large group planning a stay at the hotel while you are there. Don’t you love being assigned the last room in the middle of a family reunion? Avoid this by asking ahead of time, and requesting that you be booked in a room more removed from the visiting marching band or family reunion.
Also, here’s a freebie. You know how it is when kids run free with an elevator? You get on, and ALL the buttons are pushed. If you push your floor and just hold the button down, the elevator should go right to that floor. That’s internet wisdom, right there. We don’t know if it really works, you’ll have to let us know.
Well, there you have 6 tips for planning a stress-free weekend.
Enjoy your travels and let us know if these tips helped.