• Successful Summer Vacation Planning


    If you have children, chances are you are trying to plan a summer vacation that is engaging and fun for the entire family. Here are three family vacation suggestions that work for kids of all ages, followed by top tips for planning a successful summer vacation.

    Most kids love the water and sand, so the beach is a family vacation destination that works for just about everyone. Mix up the activities by going on an early morning seashell hunt. Then spend the hottest hours of the afternoon in your air-conditioned hotel room turning the shells into a piece of art. If your kids are older and need a little more adventure, book a sailing or snorkeling excursion, take scuba diving lessons or learn to windsurf.

    National or State Parks
    A hike into the forest can be just the ticket to get your tweens and teens to disconnect from their cell phones and reconnect with nature and your family. Younger kids can earn their Junior Ranger badges while older kids can join a volunteer program that works to clean up the park or another service project that allows the kids to get to know the park, give back, and create a memorable family experience.

    Ski Resorts
    You don’t need snow to visit a ski resort. In fact, after the snow melts, some resorts transform into family-friendly summer playgrounds. From mountain biking to kids camps and hiking and scenic drives, there is something for everyone. Plus the mountain air tends to be cooler in the summer and the prices are generally a fraction of the winter rates.

    Tips for Ensuring a Successful Vacation
    Planning ahead is the key to a successful family vacation. Here are some tips to help keep the family together before, during, and after summer vacation:

    Be present. Keep the use of technology to a minimum--for your kids and for you. Schedule tech time for the whole family and when that time is up, power down.

    Be spontaneous. Planning is good but being open to the unexpected is even better. Ask kids to help you plan and chart the route and check off what they've seen.

    Leave early. Whether you are flying or driving, leaving early will keep your blood pressure down if you run into unexpected delays. You never know how long it might take to get through security or a traffic jam.

    Start a vacation tradition. This can be anything that feels right for your family--create a scrapbook of postcards purchased during the trip, buy a Christmas ornament from every trip and relive the memories each year when you decorate the tree, or choose an activity that can be repeated on every trip, such as a taking a swim in the hotel pool every night before dinner.

    Relax. Remember that even the not-so-perfect experiences become family memories that you will talk about in the years to come. Actually, the not-so-perfect experiences are the ones most likely to live on in family lore.
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