It’s Time For A Family Getaway!

Castle Park, Holland, MI

Who’s up for a vacay? I am, for sure! We don’t often go for long periods of time due to my husband’s work schedule and the expense of booking the dogs at the Doggie Hotel, Snacktivity and Bubble Baths (totally required to get the stink of kennel of them before coming home and sitting on my couch!). Instead, the family likes to take short trips.

Earlier this month, my daughter and I traveled with my mom, to Michigan, to visit my 92-year-old grandma and the extended family. We had a wonderful time. It was an amazing trip down memory lane for me and an exciting “meet the 3rd cousins” time for my daughter (she had no idea she had so much family!).

Visiting family!

My beautiful grandma

The dunes at Lake Michigan

The magical swing build by great grandpa

While the girls were away, the guys got to play! My husband and son went on a Father/Son retreat that included zip lines, watermelon demolition derby, hiking and bonding over fishing. When we reunited (including the dogs), it was a joyful time!

The guys at the top of Soldier Mountain

This summer, we’ll be spending a few days here and there…a couple of getaways to Palm Springs, one to Orange County and who knows where else we might find ourselves?

When we travel as a family, there are a few requirements (maybe you can relate?):

  1. An awesome hotel pool
  2. complimentary breakfast bar
  3. in-room fridge (a full kitchen is better)
  4. located near a Chipotle or other restaurants that accommodate gluten-free.  Whole Foods, Clark’s or other health food stores located nearby is also helpful.
  5. fits our budget

Due to my daughter having Type 1 Diabetes and Celiac, the way we travel has changed.  It is so much more convenient to cook ourselves and is safer for her.  Plus, we save money by not eating out every meal.  When away, we bring along most of her gluten-free food and most requires refrigeration.

We love to get away from every day life and do so as frequently as we can. Since we also homeschool, we have the flexibility to do so even during the school year. When you homeschool and work from home, you get pretty excited about getting AWAY from home, if even for a night! Do you know what I mean?

Are you a vacation dabbler like I am?

Between busy family schedules, work demands and other family commitments, families have increasingly become “vacation dabblers.”  According to a new Embassy Suites survey of Parents magazine readers: o Busy Families Mean Less Vacation “Maximizing” and More Vacation “Dabbling.” A majority of families (56 percent) classify themselves as “vacation dabblers,” who take vacations days here and there throughout the year.

While you may not have a full week to getaway, I encourage you to take a shorter vacation this summer. Getting away, letting someone else make the beds and do the dishes while you lounge at the pool is exactly what you need!  Here are some tips to help you make the most of your short getaway:

Embassy Suites, one of Parents magazine’s “10 Best Hotel Chains for Families of 2012,” has partnered with Dr. Susan Biali, a health and happiness expert and the author of Live a Life You Love: 7 Steps to a Healthier, Happier, More Passionate You, to help families “more-­imize” their vacations this summer, to get more of the happiness, fun and relaxation and that comes before, during and after a great family trip.  Dr. Biali says that the general rule of thumb is that people need at least three days to reap the full restorative effects of time off, but the reality is that families are taking shorter trips so it’s important to get as much as you can out of each and every vacation day.

1. Vacation isn’t just about the time you are away. Looking forward to an impending vacation improves your mood and makes it easier to get through work. It can actually make you more productive. As possible, plan trips in advance so you can look forward to them and enjoy the benefits of “vacation anticipation.”

2. There are ways to “more-­imize” your vacation no matter how your family chooses to use their days off.

  • If you’re a “vacation dabbler” and take short vacations here and there throughout the year, actually use the days to relax and do something fun –not to run around and do errands all day. Vacation is about relaxation and recharging, so the way to actually reap those benefits is to relax and keep normal, everyday activities to a minimum.
  • If you’re a “vacation maximizer” –meaning you take big, long trips –schedule a transition day between when you get back home and when you need to be back at work to allow a day for catching up on the work and errands that await you when you return from a trip.

3. Turn a family obligation into a vacation opportunity. If your family can’t get away for a long vacation, but are traveling for family obligations, turn that trip into a mini getaway. Look for local family-­friendly sightseeing opportunities and treat yourself to a special family dinner while you’re on the road.

4. Travel the night before to your vacation destination. There is nothing better than waking up and  already being “on vacation” rather than spending a whole morning traveling to get there. It’s an easy way to maximize the first day away.

5. Make your vacation budget go further by staying at a hotel like Embassy Suites that gives you more with every stay, including two-­room suites for your family to spread out, free cooked-­to-­order breakfast each morning and an evening reception with complimentary drinks and snacks.

6. Find the perfect balance of activities and relaxation for your family. Every family likes to spend their vacation time differently, so schedule nap time and down time according to your family’s needs. Perhaps that means letting your family sleep in while on vacation, so you can get the most out of each day, without the usual afternoon nap.

7. Hold onto that post-vacation rejuvenation feeling. Create a scrap book or photo album of your vacation memories and remember to look at it often.  Recalling fun, relaxing family times can help rejuvenate you when you’re stressed and need a burst of energy.

8. Make your vacation pay for itself by signing up for special travel rewards programs, including hotel and airline programs.  The points you rack up can translate into special perks, including preferred reservations, complimentary services and  even free stays!

I’m great at relaxing on vacation, it’s the before and after time that stresses me out.  I get frantic making sure everything is ready to go, all my posts are pre-posted, and business is taking care of, etc.  When returning, it’s a huge game of catch-up, especially with email.  It is my mission to get better at this…practice, practice, practice…so this weekend, we are getting away at Embassy Suites in the desert.  I’ll keep you posted on how that goes!

Get Connected:
Embassy Suites Get More Vacation Facebook Contest: Show them your family’s “vacation face” – that look of excitement and joy you get when you’ve finally booked that much-needed vacation. Upload your family’s “vacation face” photo with a caption explaining how your family plans to get the most out of your summer vacation – before, during and after. Five lucky families will win a week-long family vacation!

Twitter: @EmbassySuites

Where are you headed to this summer?  Will you be making a quick trip or a more lengthy one? Do share the details!

“I wrote this review while participating in an Ambassador Program by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Embassy Suites Hotels and received a one-night complimentary stay at an Embassy Suites Hotel to facilitate my reviews and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

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