Family Road Trips: 5 Tips

Family road trips have been “a thing” for years and years, and I hope they always are.  Some of my fondest memories as a child are from road trips.  Sometimes lots of hours in a car may seem like a pain in the ass, but you always end up having fun and creating happy memories.  I hope these tips help you and your family have lots of successful road trips in the future.

1.  Don’t forget devices!  Sure, it reminds you of your own iPad-free childhood to make your kids sing along to the radio or simply stare out the window during long car rides.  But, let’s be honest.  If there’s ever a time for devices, it’s during a 6-hour car ride.  So, okay.  Make ’em stare out the window at the cows a little bit.  Then reward peacefulness with some screen time when they start to get antsy.  Bonus tip: have the kiddos wear headsets so that the grown-ups can still listen to what they want on the car stereo.
2.  Go easy on the liquids.  My husband and I like to joke that it’s best to let our children be mildly dehydrated during road trips so that we don’t have to stop for a restroom break a million times.  🙂 I’m not saying you should actually dehydrate your children.  But I am saying that there’s no need to hand over a big ass sippy cup full of juice for them to have constant free access to.  I like to keep some water for my kiddos near me and let them have supervised sips here and there.
3.  Throw out the trash.  Every single time you stop at a store or gas station, throw trash in the garbage can.  Get it out of the car ASAP.  If you let it build up for the entire trip, not only will it be a mess, but if there was any cooked food involved, your car will continue to smell the entire trip.
4.  Plan an activity for day one.  I know, I know.  You’ve been in the car for a while, and all you want to do is plop down on the hotel bed.  But if you resist the urge to do that you’ll get a lot more out of your time.  After all, the car ride already took up a lot of your precious vacation time.  So, if your car ride wasn’t super long and you arrive at your destination before hotel check-in, head straight to a nearby attraction (something simple) or even just a fun lunch.  If your ride was longer and you’re arriving at or after hotel check-in time, go ahead and get checked in.  Once you’ve unpacked, head out to do something fun close by or to a delicious dinner or even just to wander around the hotel property if it’s pretty late.
5.  Plan an activity for the ride home.  When I was a kid, the trip home was always such a bummer.  The vacation was basically over with, and we were going back to the real world.  Borrrrring.  But if you plan something for the trip back home, not only will it make your return journey more exciting, but its another great way to use time wisely.  Whether you take a slight detour to a cool attraction or even just stop at for a special meal, squeezing in one more fun thing will help your family road trip end with smiles.

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How to Travel Fabulously

Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve wanted to go out into the world to see and do amazing things.  From my small hometown in Texas, I dreamt of Los Angeles and New York and all of the fabulousness that must certainly be occurring there on a regular basis… bless my little heart.  And as an aspiring actor, those cities were guaranteed to be a part of my future, in my dreamy little mind.  I knew that I too would one day eat fine food, listen to amazing music, stay at beautiful hotels and inspire crowds of people to do good and have fun.  As I got into my 20s, in the heyday of the glossy supermarket tabloid, I studied the pages of Us Weekly to see where the stars were staying and eating and shopping and living.  Not only was I drawn to these people’s lives simply because many of them worked a profession that I strived for, but also because they really seemed to be living life.  Going and doing and eating and drinking and interacting with other interesting people – this was the life for me.

At the young age of 25, I set off on my first big trip with my husband, Ryan, since our honeymoon just months prior.  We flew to Los Angeles, grabbed a rental car, drove through the desert to Las Vegas, stayed there for a couple of days, drove back to L.A, stayed there a couple of days, then flew back home to Texas.  Let me just go ahead and say that we did NOT travel fabulously on that trip.  The rental was a Dodge Neon, and the hotels were 2-star.  The meals were not memorable (as in, I literally don’t remember what we ate, except for the mediocre Dominoes Pizza in our funky hotel room), and I had a couple of panic attacks along the way.  Basically, we didn’t know what in the hell we were doing.  But, believe it or not, I’m so thankful for this trip.  We had to break the ice.  We had to go for it and get that first big trip in the books.  And although very amateurish, we still had fun.

Nowadays (manyyyy years later), our rental may be a Mercedes, our hotel a 5-star, and amazing dining experiences are crucial.  Over the years I have learned so much about how to travel like a star, even when you’re not one (although you’re all superstars in my mind, but you know what I mean), and I just absolutely had to share with y’all.

So, here we go with my top 5 tips on How to Travel Fabulously…

1.  Money.  Yep, I’m just jumping right in.  Now, don’t worry.  You don’t have to be wealthy or have $10,000+ to spend on any given trip, but you do need some money.  I have lots of good tips on how to do fancy things with less-than-fancy price tags, which I’ll share in a separate post later.  But I do not have good tips on how to do fancy things for free.  So, you’re gonna need a decent budget.  I usually expect to spend about $3,000+ for hotel, airfare and transportation when Ryan and I go on a 3-night trip.

2.  Research.  It’s all in the research, y’all.  Not your thing?  Well, you’re gonna need to make it your thing if you wanna do some fabulous shit on your trip.  I look for the BEST hotels and the BEST restaurants in the area.  I also search for places that celebrities may frequent.  Cringe if you want, but that method has led me to some really fun experiences.  And it’s not about celebrity spotting.  It’s about finding local hot spots that invite and encourage fun and excitement.  There’s, most likely, a good reason why they attract celebrities or even local socialites.

3.  Stay at Hotels With Room Service.  I steer clear of hotels without room service for two reasons… 1) I love room service… and 2) It usually means a lower star rating and less amenities, overall.  The easiest way to see if they offer it is to go to the dining section of their website.  If “in-room dining” is available, then you’re good to go.

4.  Have Fun With Transportation.  Renting a car?  Get something that’s different from and/or better than what you normally drive.  Back when Ryan and I both drove large vehicles, we rented a Mercedes sedan on a couple of trips.  It was such a breath of fresh air from my mom-ish SUV and his 4-door truck.  Or if you normally drive a small car and want to try out a truck, go for it.  Using Uber?  Go with whatever when you’re riding from here to there throughout your trip.  But spring for Uber Select for airport transfers.  You’ll get a private ride in a luxury car, which is never a bad thing.  As for full-on car service, I definitely recommend it in certain situations.  While Uber Select is a close second, there’s nothing quite like a driver greeting you at the luggage carousel and escorting you out to your luxury sedan or big ass black SUV.  Make transportation a fun part of your trip instead of just a necessary part.

5.  Don’t Be Intimidated.  Look, I get it.  When you’re not accustomed to fine dining restaurants and luxury hotels, it can be a bit intimidating or scary.  Although my childhood was nice, we certainly didn’t do brunch at the country club, go to galas or have fancy steak dinners.  But something I’ve learned from years of travel (and just life, in general) is that you are who you say you are.  Now I’m not suggesting that you change your names and identities when you travel, although that does sound pretty fun.  But I am saying that a fabulous trip is the perfect opportunity to break free of who the people back home think you are.  You deserve excellent service and food and experiences just as much as anyone else.  That wealthy couple next to you at dinner doesn’t know that you grew up in a town of 5,000 and have never tasted champagne in your life.  They’re also not any better than you and not any smarter than you.  So put on a great outfit, do your hair and makeup, and walk up in there like you own the joint.


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