A Long Overdue Stay-cation

I’m taking a break from my looming deadlines this afternoon to day dream for a few minutes about some much-needed time off. My husband, Jason, and I have always been huge fans of vacationing in the fall when the weather is cooler and the crowds are smaller. We’ve taken some really great vacations as a couple — the Smoky Mountains; the Biltmore in North Carolina; North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina; and Savannah, Georgia just to name a few. 

But ever since Jack’s arrival, we’ve not had a great track record with vacations — a week at the beach where Jason and I both ended up with a stomach virus, a trip to Cincinnati that ended early because we didn’t plan well for a toddler, and a whirlwind trip to Texas for a family reunion (more exhausting than relaxing).

 
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So this year, we decided to do things differently! Rather than waiting until the fall, we decided to take some days off this spring, before it gets too hot and crowded. And rather than spend a lot of money traveling, we’ve decided to stay home! We are officially on "stay-cation" next week! I can’t wait! We plan to go to the zoo and to our favorite children’s museum. I’m sure we’ll play at the park and maybe even go swimming! We will do some shopping and eat out some, but most importantly … we will rest and spend time together as a family. My prediction is that it just might be our best vacation yet!

For now … it’s back to reality. Those deadlines won’t take care of themselves!

What are your favorite vacation memories? Do you have exciting vacation plans for this year? Any tips for our upcoming "stay-cation"? I’d love to hear from you!

Travel Tips for Families

REI_logo.gifThanks to REI for this great travel advice for families. Use these tips for any last minute travels between now and the start of the school year!

  1. Plan Together — Encourage your children to be a part of the planning/selection process. Select a few trips that meet your family’s requirements, engage children in learning about each trip, then let them choose the family vacation this year.
  2. Ask Questions — Once your vacation is selected, ask your children what questions they have about the trip or location.
  3. Geography Lesson — Use a map/globe to help children learn how far they are going and what the flight route will be, etc. This helps establish an early connection to the destination.
  4. Research Locations — Search online for small towns your itinerary will pass through – learn about the history, animals plants and people that live in these places. Find something your family wants to learn more about or see while you visit.
  5. Pack It Up — Pack with your child – use the gear list and have them think about what they already have that fits the need and what they will need to get.
  6. Keep a Travel Journal — Get your child a journal and help them write in it each day about what happened on their trip – encourage them to draw pictures. Be sure to record the senses you used along the way to hear different sounds, smells, tastes, and sights you experienced in each place.
  7. Make a Lasting Memory — Make sure your children get to use your camera, or have their own so they can take photos. An instant camera is a fun thing to take along when visiting developing countries. It’s a great gift to share on the spot with new friends you make along the way and a quick way to add photos to the journal when the children recaps their day.
  8. Send a Postcard Home — Look for postcards to send to family, friends, and even to your own home so your children have a memento from their trip awaiting them upon your return home. Make sure you use colorful local stamps – great keepsakes and addition to journals.
  9. The More the Merrier — Travel with other families with children. Both families will appreciate the company of other playmates, and adults.
  10. Present — If your child is in school, have him create a presentation for the class to "show and tell" about his trip.

Do you have any other great tips you would offer based on your vacation experience?

Spot Me ID

Spot Me ID Logo.jpgFamily outings and travel can be fun and exciting. However, if a child becomes lost, it can quickly turn into a scary experience. According to the Center to Prevent Lost Children, 90 percent of families report losing a child in a public place. 

The Spot Me ID child identification products are a real vacation "must have" for parents and children. Spot Me ID gives families the added reassurance that they are only a phone call away should they become separated in a crowded place.

Created by a mom of three after she experienced being separated from her child while on vacation in a crowded place, Spot Me ID includes bracelets, lanyards, and temporary tattoos featuring Spot, the dog, who reminds kids that they can rely on Spot to keep their parent’s cell phone number with them at all times.

Each Spot Me ID product is resistant to water, sunscreen, chlorine, perspiration and are reusable. The tattoos are also non-toxic, FDA approved, and water-proof. The products have various themes that reflect outings, such as the beach series, zoo series, everyday, and others.

Spot Me ID products are suitable for children ages 1 to 10. The cartoonish bracelets and lanyards feature an animated dog named Spot, who winks, wags his tail, and waves. The temporary tattoos depict a Spot the dog with an area to write in a cell phone number and parent’s name. They are non-toxic, FDA approved, and will last days even when wet.

For more information, visit www.spotmeid.com.