Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ten Tips for a Fun Distraction Free Vacation

Twittermoms and Alamo have me thinking about and ready to plan my next vacation because of their post here. Prior to reading this post I really hadn't thought much about how distracted vacations have become. I have a hard time leaving my computer behind and Doc is a workaholic. Fortunately, the kids aren't addiction to any distractions just yet. Upon thinking about it, I think our next vacation will utilize the following ten tips:
  1. Get everyone involved in the planning. Make sure you plan something for everyone. While Doc and I might enjoy it, our kids will get bored and want to play with their video games if every day includes tours of big old buildings.
  2. Make your vacation an appropriate length of time. As much as we want to be distraction free, there are some things at work that really can't wait 10 days. Plan a vacation that is 3 days if that is all you can realistically take.
  3. Turn your cell phone off! While it is unrealistic to remain completely detached from society, don't take your blackberry so you can browse the internet and check email while waiting in line. Instead, take a basic cell phone or just turn it off when you don't need it. Sure, the GPS in the phone will be great when you're really lost, but you can also use a map. Enjoy being lost and the adventures it brings. Some of my favorite memories are from trips with my grandfather when he would take us someplace that was 1/2 hour away . . . but it would take us 2 or 3 hours.
  4. Plan car games. A quick search of amazon led me to auto bingo, would you rather, and the book "Miles of Smiles". Car games are a great way to interact and have fun on the car ride in preparation for the trip.
  5. Set aside time. If you know that you will HAVE to check email once a day, then set aside a time to do that. Don't deviate from that time or extend it. Give yourself five minutes, then forget it until the next day.
  6. Be organized. Know what you are going to do so that you don't have too much down time when you would be tempted to fall into your distracted ways. Not that you have to have every second planned, but a plan can go a long way in keeping you on track.
  7. Be flexible. It sounds a bit contradictory to #6, but it is not. Maybe you didn't even know that you'd be passing through a town that boasts the worlds largest waffle. If you see a fun stop along the way, then stop. Enjoy every minute of your time together as a family.
  8. Pack Snacks. Even if you have a no eating in the car rule, break it for the family vacation. Hungry people make cranky people, and a fight is one sure way to ruin the fun for everyone.
  9. Bring Music. My kids love a good sing-a-long. While I can't maintain my own enthusiasm for hours at a time, a couple of good fun songs can go a long way in keeping the family smiling. Also, as the kids get tired, play some relaxing music to help take the edge off. My girls love listening to some of my favorite (appropriate) music. They always like to hear why I love certain songs whether it was the song Doc and I danced to on our wedding day, the song that was playing when Peanut was born, or the song we used to sing to Pumpkin when she couldn't fall asleep at night. It is a great way to reminisce about old memories while making new ones.
  10. Take your Polaroid and a Scrapbook. Take a camera that will allow you to get immediate pictures or find a place that can print from your digital in an hour. On the car ride home each person can make a couple of pages from the trip that highlight their favorite parts. When you get home you can create a great book that shows all the highlights and lowlights of the trip.


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