Memorial Day traditions usually include spending time with family and friends, often times, traveling together to a particular destination. I am offering a few travel tips to make the trip less stressful and more enjoyable for everyone.
Today’s post also includes details on my latest giveaway; submit your entry in under a minute on my Facebook page here.
THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED
The prize includes:
- A designer luggage tag and card holder from Ame & Lulu (value $32),
- A Duracel Powermat Smartphone Backup Battery (value $49), and
- A $15 Starbucks Gift Card.
Enter by this Friday (May 24, 2013) for your chance to win. Now, onto my travel tips!
Traveling with friends and family can be frantic or fabulous – you decide:
- Discuss details in advance. You may be renting a condo on the beach or pitching a tent in the woods, but knowing who will be doing the cooking, cleaning, driving, navigating and other various duties would be good dinner conversation before packing your bags. You may expect the men to do the hard labor in the wilderness when both men on the trip have an aversion to the outdoors, a broken arm or don’t know how to use a tool. (Now is the right time to reroute and go someplace else!)Will you meet at the airport? Park in the security parking lot? Meet at someone’s house and drive to the airport together? Drive instead of fly? Share a room? Who’s making the reservations? Offering their credit card for a deposit? It’s important to be upfront with pertinent information early on to set the precedent for the entire trip.
- Have a chat about money matters before departure. It’s better to discuss how expenses will be shared before the awkward moment when the bill arrives. Decide how costs will be split. Also use this opportunity to agree upon how you plan to get around once you arrive at your destination. Make reservations for a rental car or town car in advance. Taxis, subways and airport shuttles are easy to use and more affordable, most of the time.
- Pool your resources. Marybeth Bond, founder of Gutsy Traveler and author of Best Girlfriends Getaways Worldwide recommends “each person put $100 in a nonrefundable kitty. If anyone backs out, they lose the $100 but it isn’t such a big hit to everyone else.”
- Research your options. Utilize sites such as Yelp, Zagat, and TripAdvisor when making decisions on where to go, what to see, and where to eat. The concierge is also a wealth of knowledge, and don’t underestimate the locals who can tell you about neighborhood restaurants that are hidden away. I like Yelp because it recommends restaurants within walking distance of wherever I happen to land during the day. There are also some great travel apps that can be useful, here are a few, but you can find others that may work best for your particular trip: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/11/8-travel-apps-to-make-you_n_3060491.html.
- Make a friend/family agreement to communicate. Travel can bring out the best, and sometimes the worst in people, and being able to get through a rough patch with your fellow travelers will make a big difference in how your trip turns out. Make a pact now to resolve any disagreement in a swift, civil, mannerly fashion. Agree there will be no silent treatment, brooding, name calling or late night trips to the airport to catch the next plane home.
- Bring your own toothpaste. At least on the trips I have gone on (with my friends!), someone always forgets their toothpaste. I have an aversion to sharing my toothpaste, just saying. If you are out in the woods, it’s not as easy to go to the local Duane Reade, so make a checklist of necessary essentials. If you wear contacts, don’t forget to bring your glasses just in case you have to run from a hungry bear in the middle of the night.
- Schedule some time to go solo. Just because you are traveling with another person, or a large group, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t factor in some time for yourself. Even if you are traveling with your kids, take turns watching the children so that you can do a little shopping on your own. Everyone benefits from a short break.
- No surprises. If you are sharing a room with your friend and she doesn’t know you have to sleep with a night light, or that you sleep walk or sing in your sleep, you should speak up and let your friend decide if you are a desirable roommate.
- Keep the bickering private. If you are traveling with your mate, try your hardest not to argue about his bad table manners, or her bad habit of always being late. Keep your criticisms to yourself and if you must argue, do it privately.
- Take plenty of pictures to remember the fun, but don’t post on social media sites without permission!