Did you ever hear of this saying, “The plumbers pipes always leak?” Well in my case, the travel expert’s vacation was WAY over planned. Yes, I’m SO guilty of that. I’m one of those kind. I’ll admit to my faults. This past week we went to Philadelphia, and I wanted to get every last minute filled with an activity. I wanted to see 10 days worth of stuff in 5. Did I mention that they had a heat wave and the humidity was high?
At first my kids were on board with this plan. Then by day three not so much, they wanted to do something crazy, like sleep! Oh yeah, did I mention that everything was only open till like 5 pm? Another joykill into my plans. If you saw my pictures, day by day you would see the bags under my eyes get bigger and bigger.
This is when I realized that I needed to plan my family vacations like I would plan my clients vacations, to balance activities and free time to relax and rejuvenate. The worse thing after a vacation is to feel like you need a vacation from your vacation. A vacation is a time to relax and realign yourself, and to bond with your loved ones. Sightseeing is fun and a great way to bond, however when you are pushing to do everything you can lose sight of the big picture and get tired and cranky. Although I love a good road trip, I’m still so tired and all I want to do is lay around and sleep. I pushed it way too much on this vacation. Yes, I over did it.
Did you know that when kids were polled at Disney World and asked what their favorite part was, they said going to the swimming pool. Sometimes as adults we try so hard to make every experience the best possible for the kids and for us and to make every experience perfection that we forget that the little times together, and the slowing down and balancing of the vacation makes the perfect memories.
When we were on the way home we had asked the kids what was YOUR favorite memory of the vacation? Each child had a different favorite memory. They all loved the Franklin Institute where they could run around and play. There was a sports zone floor and I have one son who is a sports crazed guy so that was his favorite. I had one son who loves abandoned buildings so he loved Eastern State Penitentiary and one likes history so he was split on all of the history sites. However the one thing that everyone could agree on was the time after 5 pm when we could just chill for a bit and hang out at the pool. That was the the one time that everyone loved.
So, as I would tell my clients, I’m going to write down here for you and for myself and future vacations for my family. Always balance your vacation days out. Don’t forget that this is NOT a race to see how much you can do in a short amount of time. I’ve personally decided to consider for all my future vacations like a cruise port. Pick one thing to do for that day and then come back and relax. Speaking of cruises, when talking to the kids they said, “Mom enough of these field trip vacations, we want to go on a cruise next year.” Oh yeah, these kids know me, and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…...
Let’s face it, those of us who are parents who want to take our kids on a plane have thought of this scenario….. Kid screaming, small area…. Everyone staring at us, thinking “Why did you bring that kid on the plane??” My oldest, is up the entire plane ride and I need to keep him occupied, so a couple of years ago I brought my twins for the first time on a plane and I was so nervous. I lucked out and they are for the most part like me, sleepers. However when they were up they needed something to do. Here’s my “survival kit” for all of boys.
Each boy gets to take their backpack. Most importantly I bring along their Ipad and headphones. My oldest is now 14, so I just make sure that I have my MyCharge battery pack and all is well for him. Now, the younger ones, well electronics may or may not occupy them entire plane ride. So this is where the creativity comes into play.
I love the local Dollar Store. I stop and get a couple of coloring\activity books. Each boy gets one along with some crayons. I usually put some crayons in a baggie. Not a lot about 5 or 6. Your local Target\Michaels has an awesome Dollar area as well. They usually have some type of activity that the kids will like that can be added into the backpack. I also add in a notebook, with a pen or pencil so that they can draw or write if they want to. Plus who doesn’t love a few quick games of Tic Tac Toe? Hang man is still a favorite for us and the boys are 10. Another sure favorite is a deck of cards, you can play just about any kind of card game from Go Fish to Solitare.
Snacks are always great on a plane. Let’s face we all like them. Just don’t bring anything greasy or sugary. The worse thing is to have someone with an upset stomach or a kid hopped up on sugar while in a confined area. I usually bring goldfish crackers. They are a hit with the kids. I also bring the goldfish graham cracker fish. Sometimes you can get the graham crackers that are made into letters and you can make a game out of those while they are eating, double score! As far as drinks are concerned, I usually go with water. Again sugary drinks gets the kids all hyper, which is what I want to stay away from as a parent.
Don’t forget their favorite stuffed animal, and a neck pillow. If they still have a small blanket that you can fit into the backpack do that as well. You may just luck out and they take a nice long nap while on the plane.
And most of all don’t forget your sense of humor. We’ve all been there at one time or another, and we all made it to our destination. Happy travels!
Although I love the Caribbean and just like my children, it’s hard to pick which island is my favorite. There’s a special place in my heart for Roatan, Honduras. I can not express how peaceful and serene the island is.
First for those of you who like the green lush rainforests, Roatan has that for you, along with many mountain and hillsides. You can go Paradise Point, which is the highest point on the island and take in the most breathtaking views. You can zipline through the lush exotic plant life.
Head over to the French Key area for some animal encounters. You can see iguanas, jaguars, monkeys, and more. I just loved playing with the monkeys! I have to admit that was one of the highlights of my vacation. Now, I’m not a bird person, however, I did enjoy seeing and meeting the parrots there as well.
Anthony’s Key is both a beautiful resort and has an awesome dolphin encounter program. They have everything from encountering the dolphin’s at the beach to scuba diving with the dolphins.
For those of you who love to scuba or snorkel, Roatan is where it is at. Roatan is along the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the world’s second largest barrier reef. People come from all over the world to dive this reef. The water is crystal clear and is just ahh-mazing! Just swimming or wading and looking down into the water will amaze you.
While in Roatan we stopped at Bananarama Dive and Beach Resort for the afternoon. I have to admit this was one of my favorite beach stops ever! The beach was picture perfect, the atmosphere was just as relaxing as a Reggae song, and the food was tasty. At the Thirsty Turtle Restaurant they offer brick oven pizza. I was skeptical, pizza in Honduras….. I was never so wrong! It was AHH-mazing!!!! Along with a local brew, Barena, which is similar to Corona, it was just heavenly! Then when I went out in the water to swim the water was so clear that I could see the fish below me. I’ve never seen water that clear.
The best part of Roatan was the the people. They were the most caring, nice, giving people that I have ever met. They wanted you to know all about their country, and wanted you to feel like you were at home in Roatan. They helped me fall in love with their island, and all it has to offer. Although I originally came here as a cruise port, Roatan Honduras definitely will be somewhere that I will need to go back to for a vacation all on it’s own.
I love getting away with my husband and reigniting the spark, however, I NEED my girlfriend getaways too. Sometimes when we get married or in a relationship we forget about our girlfriends and those important relationships. I’m VERY lucky that my girlfriends value that relationship as much as I do and we plan at least one weekend away a year. Let me explain why…..
My girlfriends and I like to scrapbook. It’s our “thing”. We rent a house, bring all kinds of chick flicks, food that we probably shouldn’t eat, and of course wine and adult beverages. It’s a girls sleep over that started out as a two night thing and has grown to a four night sleepover. What makes this so special is that it is our time. Yes, we scrapbook, however this is when we bond. We don’t have to be moms, wives, or even very responsible. We get to be each other’s friends for a few days. We can stay in our PJ’s if we want all day, take a shower at noon, or do whatever we want. And let’s face it, when you are a mom and you are responsible for just about everything else and you can do what you want on your schedule it’s just heavenly!!
As we get older we have so many responsibilities, bills to pay, kids activities to plan, house chores to do and so on. I hate to admit that as a woman, mother, wife, I don’t always take the time to carve time out for me. As women, we are by nature caregivers to everyone, except sadly to ourselves. We need to have some time to recharge our batteries. And although our significant other is awesome and can be your best friend, there is nothing like your girlfriends to laugh with, share your stories with and just be there for you. Our group always jokes that we are the next set of Golden Girls and to be honest, I’m honored to be one of them! To have that kind of bond with other women is awesome. You know that they have your back no matters what. And then you come home refreshed and and ready to take on your everyday world. So if you are traveling across the state or across the world, a girls weekend is good for the soul.
Grab your girlfriends, a bottle of wine, and to quote a famous song, “Raise your glass!”.
Tina Moczynski is a member of the GTN network. And loves to travel with both her husband and her three boys.