However, here are a few traveling tips that hit while on vacation:
Trust a truck stop for a decent meal. There is a side-note to this one. Look for a truck stop where trucks are ACTUALLY stopped. If there are semis in the parking lot then you're safe for a good meal. No parked 18-wheelers and you needed to keep trucking right on down the road.
Carry a spare set of keys. Oh, and don't let the same person have both sets. Keys managed to get locked in cars -- even those with the push button locks -- more than folks believe. And it's always in the most remote location, the hottest time of the day or the deepest part of the night. Save grief and carry a second set.
Pack duct tape. This handy silver lined product has a 1000 + 1 uses and while on any car trip, travelers will find at least one use. Don't question this wisdom, just pack a roll.
Stay at a hotel that provides breakfast -- it's better if it comes with the price of the room. Kids can be picker eaters while on vacation and having a full-service kitchen right in the hotel can make morning starts much more enjoyable.
5th -- Locate the closest Wal-Mart/Target/Superstore to your hotel. Guaranteed something will be missed in the packing stage and knowing where the nearest replenishing station is can go a long way to easing vacation strain.
Don't expect Google or MapQuest maps to make sense or be 100% accurate. Won't happen! Simply be prepared for the directions to not make clear sense. Best way to keep from getting lost? With Google or MapQuest map in hand, call the hotel, the restaurant, or tourist site to confirm the directions. Sure beats endless circles of confusion on $3.00 a gallon gas.
Carry simple board/card/domino games. The easier the better. Simple games are often the most family fun, and are great if an afternoon event gets rained out or for a quiet evening in the midst of vacationing. I know in this day of electronic 'everything', you'll think why bother. Because the goal of a vacation, or the should-be goal, is for family togetherness. With everyone's face plastered to their laptop, tablet, or phone, the togetherness will be scarce. It's actually okay to talk to your kids. More importantly, they should know that it's okay to talk to you, the parent. Conversation is an art-form, my friends, and does require practice. Breaking down communication barriers through simple games is a great way to get started.
If staying at a cabin/condo, etc, where a kitchen -- a stocked kitchen -- is provided, do not believe that 'stocked' means the same thing to all cooks. Ask for particulars on kitchen appliances and basic cookware. Don't assume a bowl or sauce pan or over sized skillet will be on-hand. Better to pack a few additional essentials than have a hungry family and no skillet to feed them from. I call it my 'go bag'. It's saved many a family meal, not to mention my sanity.
All beds are not created equal. Does it make a difference if you normally share a king with your hubby and are reserving a double bed? You betcha. You may not be talking to your hubby at the end of the vacation after those sleeping arrangements. Are your children no longer those little kiddos that can be tucked any ole place and sleep happily? Teenagers require bigger beds and more reinforcement from a mattress than toddlers. Poor sleeping arrangements can sour an entire vacation.
Finally, there's no place like home. Leaving for vacation is great, but coming home is always better.
I love vacationing with my family. 3 great kids that I still enjoy being with and who enjoying being with my husband and me. There is always a guarantee for loads of laughter, at least one truly terrible meal, some weird bug attack -- trust me we can find bugs in the middle of a cement city, one driving excursion (that's my husband's terminology for getting completely lost), and scads of Kodak memories. I wouldn't change one good or not so good experience from our vacations because that's what makes them unique and totally ours.
Where have you been this summer? Do share.
Drop by my back porch anytime. Okay, so it's a hundred plus in the shade here in Texas right now and sitting outside isn't happening. But drop by anyway. We'll sit inside under the A/C and fans and look out at my back porch.
Until next time