Archive for the ‘Family Travel’ Category

Top 10 Family Road Trippin’ Essentials

June 29, 2010

(Photo: Allison Czarnecki)

Today we’re excited to have guest blogger Allison Czarnecki, who writes the wonderful blog Petit Elefant, share her ideas for road trippin’ en famille. Welcome and thank you, Allison!

We travel a lot as a family. A lot. But in order to see the country with a family of four and a tight budget, we’ve found the best way to travel is by car. Road trip, baby. I love road tripping with my family, and over the years I’ve gotten better at what to pack, what to leave home, and what’s absolutely essential to bring in the car. Here’s my list of Top 10 Road Trip Essentials:

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: pack wet wipes. There are any number of wet wipe-able emergencies on a road trip, especially with kids, and one pack of big wet wipes is essential to keeping everyone happy, clean, and moving towards your destination.
  2. Assign everyone their own luggage. It might seem obvious, but there’s always the temptation to cram everyone’s gear in one big bag since you’re all on the road and in the car together. Don’t give in to temptation. Give each traveler their own bag, color-coded if need be, to keep their stuff separate from the rest.
  3. Pack a cooler with your favorite drinks. Yes, a cooler might slosh around when you take corners too fast, but it’s worth it. Completely worth it. Having cold drinks available at your disposal, for a fraction of the cost at a gas station will save your wallet.
  4. Assign a designated spot for trash. A bag, an actual garbage can, whatever it may be, keep your garbage separate from the rest and everyone will be happier. Empty it out at every rest stop to keep the car in tip top shape.
  5. Make a road trip playlist or two. Or three. The tunes will give you a soundtrack to your trip and will get you through the less stellar hours of your travel time.
  6. Take pictures! I know it sounds cliche but you’ll love seeing the photos after the fact. And later, when you look back at the photos you’ll have a visual reminder of the time your kids ran into the ocean fully clothed upon seeing it for the first time. Worth it.
  7. Pack light. I had a tendency when we first started traveling as a family to pack everything I could fit in the car. I literally would have taken the kitchen sink if I’d thought it would fit. It’s not worth it. You can do laundry on the road, and it’s pretty likely you’ll be traveling within the walls of civilization. If need be, you can buy what you’re missing once you get where you’re going. You’ll thank me later.
  8. Pack healthy snacks. I know, I know, it’s boring not to eat nasty food while you’re on the road but you’ll regret it later. There’s nothing like a frozen slushy drink and some chips to make you feel like summer, but you won’t feel so happy two hours after the fact. Take healthy things you won’t be able to find at a gas station. You can always buy chips on the road but bananas are $3 each at the Gas n’ Sip.
  9. Take games! U-NO is fun for everyone and can be played anywhere, even the car.
  10. Remember to have fun. Embrace the unexpected. Roll with it, and have the time of your life. There’s nothing quite like a road trip in the summer so enjoy it!

Road Trippin’

May 16, 2010

William Least Heat Moon wrote that there are no yesterdays on the road, and it does seem like the road trip has a special power to temporarily untether us from our lives and, in so doing, let us reimagine them. One of the gifts of travel is that it frees you from your everyday context. The road trip, properly undertaken, boils life down to a post-it where normally it may feel like an Excel spreadsheet with too many tabs. You can plan excessively if you want to, but the best road trips are a little shaggy and undefined at the edges, leaving space for the unexpected.

The road trip is about all of your favorite music along for the ride, turned up loud when there’s a lull in conversation. It’s about inappropriate snacks of questionable vintage from a gas station in Barstow and BLT’s on under-toasted white bread in Redding. It’s about going out of your way to visit Frank Sinatra’s grave in Palm Springs or crossing the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. It’s those hours when the usual tug of to and fro and bills to pay and Facebook seem as trivial as they are and you listen to your trip mate’s story with real attention.

Road trippin’ is kind of like the exhilaratingly mild shock of swimming in the ocean for the first time in years: it wakes you up, brings you back to who you are, and reminds you that the simplest pleasures are all you really need to be content. And at the end of every day on the road? Cool, clean sheets on a bed you don’t have to make. This summer the travel sugar plums that are dancing in our heads are all about Road Trippin’ California. We’re putting our playlists together, calling our friends, and packing our swimsuits. Let summer begin!

Sunrise, Sunset

December 4, 2009

Great post on one of our newest properties, Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach, on  Allison Czarnecki’s scrumptious-as-a-stack-of-pancakes blog, Petite Elefant. The sandy feet of Allison’s five-year-old are pictured above and, really, need no words. We’re glad the Czarnecki family had a great beachy getaway at Shorebreak and hope Allison’s husband’s “pro” list for moving to SoCal wins out!

Mommy’s Little Helper

October 29, 2009

McKenzie & GrantAmong the things nobody tells you before you have kids: traveling with them requires more than a little advance planning. A lot more. And not just for their comfort, mind you, but for your very sanity.

I find that having “Mommy’s Little Helper” along for the ride evens out the rough, nerve-jangling patches quite nicely. Mommy’s Little Helper is a bottle of wine, red or white – the varietal doesn’t really matter. Before embarking on a trip, I always make sure there is at least one bottle of wine tucked among the swimsuits and sippy cups. I find twist-offs work best for easy access. Please understand, I do not condone heavy drinking and parenting and I never imbibe a la “Mad Men” whilst taking to the open road, because that is dangerous. What I am saying is that when things get a little nutty, and they will when you travel with your child, it’s always comforting to know you can hand off the little one to a friend or spouse and reach for Mommy’s Little Helper. (more…)