A big welcome to Kendra Thornton as our first guest poster on HWL!  
She is a travel expert, and has some great tips to share with us.  


Have a Fun Family Getaway This Summer!

I hope these tips are pertinent to your family as you prepare to pack up and hit the road one last time this summer. Remember to have fun, and to be safe!

Summer is quickly drawing to an end. As thoughts of going back to school start creeping into your head, don’t feel regret that your family hasn’t been able to take that summer vacation yet. It’s not too late, and even though vacations take a lot of time to plan and organize, you can still do it! These five tips will help you organize and plan your family getaway so you can create one last fun summer memory before the kids head back to the classroom.

1. Choose a New Destination
For a last minute trip, it can be particularly appealing to visit a destination you’ve been to before. But this may cause your children (especially teens) to roll their eyes, thinking “been there, done that”. Create excitement and new experiences by visiting somewhere you’ve never been before. Also, with a little research beforehand about the area, it won’t be nearly as daunting being in a new location.

2. Make a List

Start a packing list immediately. By adding things as you think of them, you decrease the chances of forgetting something at home. If you have a smart phone or tablet, you can use a new app like Packing Pro to keep track right there on your electronic device!

3. Find a Family Friendly Hotel

Before you book anything, find out how family friendly the hotel is and make sure it offers the amenities you need. An in-room fridge and microwave may be necessities if you have a baby that needs bottles or you want to save money by keeping snacks in the room. A playground is the perfect way to let the kids expend some energy before turning in for the night. When I traveled to Florida last year, I used Gogobot and searched through a great list of Orlando hotels before finding one that was affordable and suitable for kids. Find out if the hotel offers special activities or amenities that interest your children. If you plan on eating at the hotel’s restaurant, make sure it has a kid’s menu to please your picky eaters.

4. A Travel Pack

When traveling, whether by car or by air, always have a bag that is readily available with anything you might need in the blink of an eye. This can include (but is obviously not limited to) a family member’s medication, some snacks for the little ones, a pacifier, napkins, or a change of clothes. Make sure this is part of your carry-on if flying, and up with you in the front seat if driving (and not packed away in the trunk).

5. Schedule Some Down Time
On vacation, it’s natural to want to do everything and be on the go all the time. There are so many exciting things to see and do, and since you are only there for a short time, it’s tempting to cram everything in that you can in. However, constant sightseeing is often not as exciting for children. As we all know, when your children are cranky, nobody can enjoy the trip. Take breaks to do activities your children are interested in to keep them engaged in the other activities, as it will go a long way in keeping the entire group from getting aggravated.

My name is Kendra Thornton and I’m a mother of 3.  Before being promoted to the full time position of mom, I was the former Orbitz Director of Communications where I was able to travel a great deal. I’ve been to 28 countries on 6 continents.  I now reside with my family in Chicago and have taken on the role of being number one wife and mom to my family. 

Thanks Kendra, those are great tips!  I don’t know what rock I’ve been living under, but I sure could have used an app to help me pack for Disney World.  😉  
To see more about those travel adventures be sure to check out:

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