Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Workin' It Wednesday: Summer Vacation Planning

Hi there! Thanks for stopping by today as I link-up with Erika and Shay to share how this gal plans for summer vacation. A quick note- I'm a teacher married to another teacher and we do our absolute best to not live outside of our means. Therefore, we don't go on grandiose vacations when even a small weekend trip can still run you close to $1000. So, for today, I'm talking about planning small vacations within the continental United States.

We are fortunate though to have some pretty cool towns to visit in Texas and even more fortunate to have great friends and family who let us stay at their places for vacays. This summer, we are planning to go to St. Louis to visit my aunts, uncles, and cousins, so we'll rely on their expertise of the city for most of our trip plans. (And please share your expertise too- it's been years since I was in STL, so throw all of your suggestions my way please!)

If we were going to a city where we were not staying with friends and family, then this is how I would usually prep for our trip:

1) Ask friends and family



Facebook, Instagram, and the blog are a great starting point when planning a trip to a new town. People that you're "friends" with but haven't actually spoken to in years sometimes come out of the woodwork with tips because they've been there, lived there, etc. I like to start planning a vacation around the activities first. Once we've figured out where we want to go, picking a hotel and restaurants is a lot easier.

2) Use Trip Advisor



When I've narrowed down what attractions we want to visit based on recommendations and research, I hop onto Trip Advisor and start searching for hotels. I don't book through them because I can usually get a better rate by calling, but I like to read the reviews since I'm a hotel snob with champagne taste but a reusable water tumbler budget! I also like Trip Advisor for the restaurant recommendations.

3) Yelp those restaurants



As a back-up to Trip Advisor, I like to go onto Yelp to make sure that our restaurant choices are really places we're going to enjoy. Nobody wants to go on vacation and eat crummy food!

4) Outline to pack



I'm not a dictator about being anywhere on vacation at a certain time, but I do like to have a rough outline of what we're doing each day so that I can make a list for each kid and myself of clothing that is needed. Once I make the lists, I go through closets and try to pick versatile pieces to limit the heftiness of our luggage, and I most definitely try to pack as few pairs of shoes as possible since they take up so much space. No, I don't mean wear your sneakers out to dinner, but limit your sandals to one pair that will go with every dinner outfit!

5) Pack snacks for the hotel



Kids (and adults!) get whiny and tired when they're not on their regular schedules. Build in some down time at your hotel between activities so everyone can refuel and re-energize. Having a bag of snacks on hand will save you money (Hotel snack prices are crazy!) and it'll save you some sanity when your kids are complaining that they're hungry and you still have 2 hours 'til your dinner reservation!

What are some of YOUR tips for planning a vacation? Share in the comments below, and take note that our Ladies Who Link party in July will focus on travel tips and vacation recommendations! I can't wait to hear where you all have been and where I need to go! Join us next week to share how you're kicking off summer and/or celebrating Memorial Day!




To read my previous Workin' It Wednesday posts:

I'll be back tomorrow with a new recipe for Try It Thursday! Make sure you link-up with me to share your favorite recipe of the week! See you soon!

20 comments:

  1. Yes to all of this! I didn't think to post it but I live by TripAdvisor when planing vacations. I always like to view the real travelers photos.

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    1. Yes! It's always amazing to see the real photos vs. the ones on the hotel's website!

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  2. Fabulous ideas, if I do not have a general idea of the link-up for each vary day, my family gets off. so the night before, I tell them what the next day entails and then we're good.

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  3. Great tips! And sweets we feel you on having lower salaries and not going on insane vacations every year!!! Preach it sister!

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    1. Our favorite vacation so far has been to Dallas- a lot of museuming and walking but lots of great food and memories!

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  4. Definitely on board with packing the snacks! Not only do I have some hungry travelers but those convenience store stops really add up. So many great places to visit in Texas!

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    1. Yes- I feel like Buc-ee's just ruins everything! You can't go in to just use the clean restroom- you want a big drink, something from the deli, a decoration for grandma, a candle for a friend, etc! Agh!

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  5. We took our kids to STL over spring break. You should definitely check out the City Museum, it is packed full of fun structures for kids to climb and slide on. We also went to the Science Center, and the kids loved it as well. There were lots of hands-on exhibits for all ages--and a lot of it (including admission) was free. We live about three hours from St. Louis, it was perfect for our spring break trip.

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    1. Oh wow- never have heard of the City Museum- the pictures of it are super neat! I'll have to show it to Trip- he'd probably love all of the different architecture! Thanks for sharing!

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  6. We can't wait to have you! St. Louis is a great place for family visits. Of course you must go to our amazing FREE zoo and visit our polar bear, seals, painted dogs, etc... There are some parts with a small admission, but for the most part you can visit for free! Two teachers may like to visit our FREE history and art museums! Don't forget the Magic House Children's Museum! Personally, I don't like the City Museum BC it is really big & dark, but the kids may like it.

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    1. We're excited! We definitely are going to do the zoo, and I always liked going to that little history museum by the Muny. Robert wants to eat lunch at White Castle one day!

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  7. Smaller vacations are some of my favorites. It doesn't take long to get where you're going, and the vacation starts sooner. I shared our MT road trip a couple years ago, and it's still one of my favorite trips. It was easy and fun! Can't wait to here about your trip to St. Louis. :)

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    1. Definitely agree with that, Jenny! Long car rides are so not fun, so if we can go somewhere within a 4 hour drive, I know everyone will be a lot happier when we get there. BTW, I'm loving your green pasture views that you've been sharing on Instagram- so pretty!

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  8. These are all great ideas! Especially the snacks! Lol. I have a tendency to get hangry and so do our kiddos, so I ALWAYS have snacks and water with me wherever I go.

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    1. 3:00 p.m. is my witching hour! I need to start packing a snack for the end of my school day.

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  9. I love weekend trips! Also, my parents always brought snacks for us! I don't think we could ever get in the car to drive over an hour without having a bag of snacks. No one likes to be hungry!!

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    1. I pack the kids their own snack bags every time they head down to the ranch and it definitely helps keep everyone happy!

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  10. We enjoy talking small, long weekend trips throughout the year! Great tips!

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    1. Please give me any tips or favorites for New Orleans- Robert and I have been wanting to go there forever together minus the kids so we can do the WW2 museum. I don't need to do Bourbon Street or anything wild- any restaurants that are delicious or hotels that are clean and nice to stay?

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Hi friends! Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear from you!