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Can you believe that Halloween is already almost here? Even this late in the season, there is still plenty of time to prepare for the ideal family getaway. The key word in the last sentence, though, is “prepare.” Without careful preparation, it’s easy to find yourself saddled by sunburns, exhaustion, and other hassles. However, with some help from the tips below, your vacation can be hassle free and a joy for all.

Tip #1: Making the Car Comfortable
If you are taking a young child on a long road trip, recreate his or her bed in the backseat. Make the trip as comfortable as possible by bringing blankets and pillows to fill the seat with. Also, to help the children sleep easier during the trip, block out the sunlight by putting up car window blinds. All of this will help make the road trip considerably easier.

Tip #2: Finding the Right Hotel
When booking hotels, it is easy to simply look for the cheapest nightly rate and think you’ve gotten the best deal. When searching for the best hotel for your family though, look for a variety of different amenities that may suit your needs. Check if the rooms have a refrigerator (to store snacks and drinks in) as well as a microwave (to reheat meals). Ask friends and family members who have been to your destination where they’d recommend staying. Further, look at how past patrons of the hotel have enjoyed their stay.

When traveling to my home city, Chicago, use a site like Gogobot to read user reviews about their extensive list of hotels. This will give you a realistic idea of what to expect during your stay.

Tip #3: Try Somewhere New!
If you return to the same spot year after year, the memories of these trips will blur together. And as kids grow older, they frequently become tired of the same destination. This year, plan a trip somewhere new and exciting! The kids will be thrilled at the prospect of going somewhere new, and your whole family will love experiencing this new “adventure.” This doesn’t mean to ignore your favorite vacation spot forever, but rather to just consider a new choice this season.

Tip #4: A “Travel Pack”
Before embarking on your journey, make sure you pack a “travel pack” that has any item you might need while traveling. This can include (but is not limited to) band aids, a change of clothes, snacks and drinks, a favorite toy, and napkins. You never know when a flight might get delayed, or when the kids will start to get antsy after a few hours in the car, and this travel pack will help if something is to come up. Add anything you feel might be beneficial to have with you while traveling.

Tip #5: A Fun New Hobby
Bring out your child’s creative side this vacation by providing them with a disposable camera! This is a fun, inexpensive investment that your child will truly enjoy. You can even take this a step further by telling your child to photograph the most beautiful thing they see, or to take a picture of their favorite cloud. Once you return home, bond as a family by putting together a scrapbook of all the photos!

I hope these tips are useful for you as you plan a late-summer vacation! Remember, the key to a fun, enjoyable vacation is to properly prepare ahead of time. So start packing today, and have a great vacation with your family!

Bio: My name is Kendra Thornton, and I’ve been fortunate enough to do an extensive amount of traveling both personally and professionally throughout my lifetime. I hope that some of the tricks I have learned in my experiences can be beneficial to your family the next time you embark on a journey together!

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who love to travel