🎁 The Gift of Travel: The Who, What, Why and How 🎁

I love Christmas and am 1,000% on board with the joy of giving.

I also have 3 kids and know how the joy of giving can suck you (and your bank account) dry. You know the joy of giving I’m talking about..the one that leaves you weeping your last remaining tears in the PS4 aisle at Target because they are out of NBA19 and you needed just one more gift to even things out. 😢

This joyous feeling is what prompted me to rethink Christmas gifts for my kids a few years ago. I’m hoping I can save someone the agony of toys and items still sitting in boxes in February because you possibly bought things to buy them, not necessarily because they were wanted (no judging here, I still do it every year).

Here it is…give the gift of travel!

I know. I know you might be thinking that sounds complicated, out of your budget, and really difficult to wrap, right? 😉

No worries.. I have the answers.

The Who: Children are top of my list. We have given our kids large trips 2 out of the past 4 years and my kids STILL talk about them being their favorite gifts. Multi-generational family members are also a fantastic choice to receive a git of travel.

The What: Any trip from an overnight out of town to a cruise, an all-inclusive vacation, or Disney. Honestly, any trip that will allow you to make memories as a family, either big or small.

The Why: I’m going to say it, and I think as someone who has fallen into the deep pit -I mean joy- of giving, I think I can: the endless gifts and things are ALL TOO MUCH. Even now at 12 and 10 my kids lists are insane. They think Christmas is a free for all and nothing is off-limits to ask for. Yep. I’ll shoulder a good portion of the blame. We had great intentions before our kids were born and then that first year you become Santa all good intentions are shot to heck with your common sense and your Visa balance. Now, years later we’re working on backpedaling and changing how Christmas goes down around here. So back to the why. The why is simple: the stuff and the things do not last. Very few kids can remember what they received for Christmas by March. So, why not give an experience and memories that I PROMISE they will not forget.

The How: The how you give it is really up to you. We have given the gift of travel for Christmas two different ways.

The first time was a trip to Disney. The kids each received a few gifts and then they began opening Disney related items. For example, my daughter collects snow globes, so she got a Disney globe, they opened Disney socks, Disney notepads (I got at the Dollar Tree!) and a few other small things. They finally realized something was going on and asked if we were going to Disney. At that moment, the didn’t even care about the gifts they opened before they found out!

The second time was a cruise. The last gift the kids opened was a small box which began a scavenger hunt. Each box contained a large puzzle piece and once they had all the boxes they had to put the puzzle together to find out what the gift was. They had so much fun searching and assembling together! I just ordered a puzzle of a picture I created and came up with fun rhymes.

The physical HOW of booking and giving a trip is simple. Most people do not realize that you can book almost any trip with a deposit and make payments. So, now is the time to think about a trip for next Christmas. Speak with your travel agent (or me, if you don’t have one 😁), decide on a trip and book it! Pay on it all year and you will be ready for next year! We’re already planning our next one. 🏝

To wrap this all up, my kids STILL talk about our trips. On our cruise our kids got a glimpse into how people live in another country. A country where plugging in iPads isn’t top priority. It was a great experience for them and we had an amazing time. Our kids STILL talk about the cruise more than anything else. They will remember both of these trips forever. This is another reason multigenerational trips are a wonderful idea. Grandparents and grandchildren sharing experiences is the best gift you can give to everyone. 💗

Happy shopping!

Our Scavenger Hunt

🗺 5 Tips For Your Best Family Vacation 🗺

Family vacations are often a combination of fantastic moments and memories peppered with meltdowns and arguments. We’re all human and there is no such thing as a perfect vacation, but here are a few tips that might help tip the scales a bit in that direction!

 

1. Plan before you pack.📝

You will save yourself a lot of stress (and possibly your marriage 👰🏼🤵🏼) if you do a bit of research and planning before you go.  I suggest a travel agent (Five Sandals Travel, maybe?? 😬) for any trips taking place outside of the country including a cruise or an all-inclusive resort. However, even with trips like that, doing your own research is always beneficial. Don’t carry the weight of research on your own- include your family! You could let each one of your kids pick a family activity or a restaurant. This will help everyone to feel involved and have a sense of ownership over the trip, rather than feeling like they’re being forced to tag along on your vacation. My favorite part of trip research is that it builds excitement!

 

2.  Try not to overschedule your days.🏖🎡🛤🗽

If you are going on a trip that involves sightseeing, amusement parks or day trips, make sure you take the ages of your children into account when you’re planning those days. As adults we know how we can feel at the end of a long day, so keep in mind how the small people in your family must feel. Try to build in extra time between activities so you’re not rushing from Point A to Point B and missing those special, unexpected moments that happen when we just stop rushing.

 

3. Expect the unexpected. 🤢👎🏼

This might be the most important tip and piggy backs on Number 2. Anything can happen on your vacation…you might be siting in a  restaurant that had a bazillion great reviews on Trip Advisor, but you are not loving it. Rather than grumbling about it and letting it infect your trip, try to roll with it. You and your family could try to come up with a funny way to word an unfavorable review in order to finish out your meal or some other silly game. I PROMISE you, your kids will not remember the restaurant being horrible, but they WILL remember how much fun you had while you were there. It is all how you spin it.

 

4. Pack snacks.🍎🥜🧀🍭

Seriously. Pack them no matter where you go. The beach. An amusement park. The pool. The wax museum. I do not care where you’re going. Throw enough granola bars in your purse or backpack for everyone. We all know that at the most inopportune moment, one of your kids is going to have a meltdown because they’re hungry. There will not be a snack cart or stand within 100 miles of your location (because, why would there be?!) and nobody, I mean NOBODY, needs a hangry kid or husband on their hands!

 

5. Memorialize your trip. 📸🎇

Do you have a family trip tradition or something you collect to remind your of your travels? Our family collects sand from any of our beach locations. I stack it in a jar and label each layer with the location. My daughter collects snow globes and we always take family selfies. As a family you could decide on the best way to be reminded of each of your trips- it could be putting together a photo album when you return or collecting items from you trips. The most important part is to allow everyone to feel included.

 

If you have any tips you would like to add, leave them in the comments!

5 Reasons You Should Give a Travel Agent a Try

Without_TravelAgent1

 

You use a professional for your taxes, your car repairs, your hair so why aren’t you using a professional for your travel needs?

In this day and age with hundreds of websites full of travel information, discount deals and special offers constantly in front of us, people need the services of a travel professionals more than ever.

  1. They read the fine print and compare offers. There are a lot of deals  on the internet seem far too good to pass up and people wonder why the quote they received from an agent was higher. However, what they are missing is the small details from the discount website quote that makes it less expensive. For example, it is a lower category room, doesn’t include transportation to/from the airport, includes horrible flight times, etc. An reputable agent is trained to put together the best possible deal for you and include everything you need for a stress free trip.
  2. They are your personal vacation shoppers. One you have established a relationship with an agent, you become more than just a client. They will often keep you in mind if they come across a deal or a trip that you might be interested in.
  3. The Human Factor. Let’s face it, a discount internet site isn’t going to share you vacation excitement and have real interest in how your trip was when you return.
  4. They are the experts. Like your doctor or mechanic, a good agent will ask the right questions, listen to your answers and help to guide you to the best fit for your vacation time.
  5. They can manage both the product AND the service of your vacation. A travel agent knows how to sell you the vacation that fits your needs-the airline and resort, the cruise or the vacation closer to home. They also offer the service that will guarantee your vacation is stress free and goes off without a hitch.

The best way to find a reputable travel agent is to ask your friends and family. You might be surprised how many people actually use an agent for their travel needs!

So, the next time you’re thinking about a vacation, give a travel agent a try!