Few things are as all-American as a family summer vacation. With school ending and summer (finally) here, follow these family travel tips to help make sure your vacation memories are good ones.
1. Power up. Never leave home without a power strip, especially if you're traveling with electronics obsessed tweens or teens. Nothing can kill a kid vacation buzz faster than a dead GameBoy, smartphone or iPod. At the airport, if the lone plug has already been taken, ask if you can plug in your power strip, then (and this is important), plug that person's stuff into the power strip first, then plug in yours. At the hotel, the power strip becomes a charging station. No more need to move furniture in search of an outlet or worry that you will leave behind the charger you plugged in behind the bed.
2. Document the moment -- in the parking garage. No one wants to ruin the vacation afterglow with a two-hour trek through the parking garage trying to remember where the SUV is parked. Take a picture of the parking spot number and you'll know where to find your car when you return.
3. Pack one essentials bag. Put a toothbrush, jammies and a change of clothes for each family member into one suitcase. Make this your carry-on if you fly, as insurance in case a checked bag is lost. If you drive, it saves you from unpacking the entire car for every one-night stop. Don't forget to toss in the bathing suits so the kids can head to the hotel pool and burn off some of that pent up travel energy.
4. Ask before you buy. If you forgot something, ask at the front desk before heading out to buy it. Many hotels stock basic toiletries such as toothpaste and will give you a free tube. Same for phone chargers and umbrellas. Chances are the hotel has a box full of chargers and umbrellas left behind by previous visitors. They will be happy to lend you one for the duration or your stay.
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