When I travel with my family, my main goal is relaxation and fun for all of us. Mix together a very indecisive husband, a son with an anaphylactic food allergy, a daughter who thrives under structure, and my
overly controlling thoughtfully organized personality, and pre-departure prep work becomes the backbone of an enjoyable vacation :). So I am going to share with you what I do to get vacation-ready, and I will break it up into 3 main parts which will each be their own post: Vacation Prep, Personal Prep, & House Prep. Today we will focus on Vacation Prep and I will follow up shortly with the others.
Part 1 – Vacation Prep
Research, research, research. As soon as I know where my next vacation will be, I go into full research mode. I think my friends cringe when they hear me announce my newest getaway because they know that they will be bombarded with trivial information about my destination right up until departure day. (Sorry guys, I just get so excited!). I want to know about the weather, local attractions, sightseeing, shopping, everything! I talk to people who have already travelled there (always the best source of information), read books, Pinterest, Google, and anything else I can think of :).
Scout out allergy friendly restaurants in your area and along your travel route to save yourself a major headache. This can also benefit you if you are lucky enough to have a family free of food restrictions because it is great to know where you can get a fresh, delicious and cheap burger, *cough* In-N-Out *cough*, or where to find that tiny cafe favoured by the locals. One of the main reasons we chose Disneyland for our very first family vacation is because of their stellar reputation with food allergies, and we were thrilled with our own experience :).
Make reservations for any special meals or outings to avoid a mad scramble at last minute, or worse, disappointment if you cannot get in to have lunch with Ariel. Also, prepay if it’s an option, one more thing knocked off your budget! Disneyland allows you to make reservations at all of their restaurants up to 60 days in advance (this includes character meals) and you can inform them of all of your dietary restrictions so the chefs can be prepared :).
Check around for coupons! You would be amazed at how many discounts are out there. Many companies offer excellent deals through their email promotions (I bought our Medieval Times tickets for 60% off), while others may print coupons in brochures. With diligent research you can almost always save a few dollars!
Bed bugs are a nasty roommate, so be sure to check out http://www.bedbugregistry.com/ before finalizing your accommodations.
Build a group Pinterest board with all the travellers. This is an excellent way to find out what everyone is expecting from their vacation, and to inform them just how
crazy excited you are! Another bonus is how many unexpected tips can pop up under related Pins.
Slowly build your vacation wardrobe. My daughter and I enjoy Disneybounding (more on this in another post), so after I take stock of what I have in our current wardrobes I start shopping for any additional clothing or accessory pieces we may need to complete our outfits. Because I am quite
cheap thrifty, I keep my eyes open for sales online and scour secondhand shops for what we lack. I also take stock of my son’s and husband’s wardrobes and purchase anything they may need. (Even though they do not Disneybound, I make sure they have Disney-themed shirts for our park days. They really make the photos extra special). I set a budget for this and stick to it! If I feel that it is necessary to spend a bit more than I have allotted, I will earn the money elsewhere to cover it.
What do you like to do to get vacation-ready? I would love to hear about it!
My next post will focus on my personal preparations for vacation…