Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Travel Tuesday-Lessons Learned on My Florida Vacation

Things are going to happen, because things always happen.  You are on vacation don’t let small things ruin it.  In the end they will be stories and memories to laugh about or lessons learned for next time.

In no specific order but here you go: 

  • Walkie Talkies-In the middle of I-10, you sometimes do not get any signal.  We drove at night and most of us had worked all day.  The walkie talkies helped the drivers stay alert by talking with one another.  We also were able to quickly let each other know if we needed to exit, detour, or change drivers versus waiting to get signal.  We played trivia over the walkie talkies and everyone who was awake played.  These also worked very well, once we got into town, driving from place to place making sure no one got lost. 
  •      So I read in many blogs to bring empty water bottles:  Yes, so you can stay hydrated by filling them up at the fountains.  If you want FREE water and ice and walk up to the concessions, they do not fill the water bottles rather they give you new cup.  Even if you bring the same cup back, they give you a new cup every time.  So if you are like me, all the planning and pre-packing, and still forgot your water bottles-no worries.  We ended up buying a water and using that plastic container to refill at the water fountains.  I also brought the crystal light, kool aid, nestea to drop in the water.  I brought all kinds and every flavor and ended up not even really using them.  We swallowed the water as soon as we would get it. 
  •      I also read on the blogs to bring snacks:  I brought snacks and really the only one snacking was my toddler.  I didn’t think about it but most of the snacks that were not eaten were smashed, crushed, or broken because we kept tossing them under the stroller.  My suggestion is to have each family member bring a small sling backpack, and inside pack their own snacks and their empty water bottle.  If you have littles, then mami of course gets to carry everything.  Pick snacks that don’t crush, get smashed easily, and they actually would like to eat.  The only thing that really survived the daily trips were the individual cheese sticks we purchased from Aldi.  Those were great and everyone liked them.
  •       So the sunshine state isn’t so sunshiny when it is raining.  Yeah it rains in Florida.  Every day.  I was told small showers, so yes, we brought our rain ponchos.  But totally forgot about bringing my stroller cover to protect it and the baby from the rain.  We did bring an umbrella which we tried to cover the stroller with.  I was prepared for small showers here and there but not for a storm.  The theme parks closed all the rides while the storms were passing.  We took a much needed break inside a store, or took a lunch break during these.
  •       This one goes with #4, bring a plastic bag to cover your belongings or put your belongings in during the rain.  We had everything under the stroller and luckily had purchased a souvenir.  I used that bag to shove all our stuff in so it would not get wet.  I had brought the over the neck pouch for my cell phone but ended up using it for the camera.
  •       When picking out your wardrobe and shoes, make sure you were something comfortable to you.  Tennis shoes for all the walking.  Bottoms with pockets that zip or button to keep your belongings from falling out.  The over the neck pouches were very well with keeping your items dry and secured.  It has a ziplock technology that then folds over to a Velcro snap. 
  •       Rain, rain, go away.  Well if you can’t beat them, join them.  At 4 of the 5 theme parks we went to there were splash pads or rides for the kids to get wet on.  We didn’t know.  We didn’t come prepared.  Swimsuit, swim trunks, and a towel, especially if you go in the middle of August like we did.  And do not forget the little swimmers for the littles, they won’t be allowed to play in the splash pads unless they had them.  They have them for sale at the nearest shops but an oh-so convenient price.  
  •       This is a must for all the mamis and papis who have big families.  Before you leave the room or house and head to the theme park, ask to see everyone’s tickets.  Don’t make the mistake we did.  We actually thought my son had lost his ticket when we got to Disneyworld.  He card was loaded with 3 days.  Thank God he had just forgotten it in his backpack at the house.  But lesson learned to keep up with the tickets from now on, even for the older teens.
  •       Research, research, research.  Even if you have someone planning the trip or itinerary for you.  Make sure everything you are doing is a good fit for your kiddos and family.
  •    Rest Day.  We had a 9 day vacation.  2 days of traveling.  5 days of theme parks.  And I am so glad we decided to do a rest day half way in between.  With all the walking, the heat, and so many adventures, you need to let your body rest.  We relaxed at the pool, the kids played in the splashed pads, grandma chilled in the hot tub, and the papis bbq’d.  You go on vacation to go have fun but don’t over kill.  You know you always come back saying, “Now I need a vacation, from my vacation!” 

Plan for the unexpected and just go with it.  This was our first family adventure with my husband’s family and we have many stories to tell.  Even the bad turned into a memory for us to laugh about now.

No comments: