Booking Travel

Fairly soon, I will be taking a trip with my Mom to Scandinavia. While we easily booked the cruise portion, as she is a devoted fan of a particular cruise line, she had asked me to work on booking the flights and hotels for the before and after part of the cruise (which I was not keen to do). This is no small task. What used to be a simple, I’ll check a travel website, book the flights and be done with it, is no longer so easy.

And so begins the saga of sensory overload and arguing with my mother. After looking at multiple websites, trying to determine which airline has the most direct flights (as my Mom is older and I am trying to limit the travel time), who has the best travel deals, whether airlines include luggage, food, assigned seats, which size piece of luggage can fit on an interconnecting flight versus an international flight, where are the most convenient hotels located, I became overwhelmed. This research has become a second job. I finally put up my hand up to say help and told her we need a travel agent. My Mom was dead set against this thinking we could do better without any fees. Multiple arguments ensued about the usefulness of someone helping us out and the value of time versus money.

In the end, my Mom started to realize all the components that were involved, that working full time actually takes up a lot of my time, and that perhaps calling the cruise line travel agent might be useful. The result, easily booked flights at a great price, at the time we wanted to go and peace and harmony between us so that we can now look forward to the trip!

The net result of my story? While the internet can give you access to lots of information, it’s not always so easy to sort through it all. Sometimes you need an expert to cut through the abundance of information and give you the best insights into saving time and money. I believe this applies to any industry. So whether you are booking a trip, or looking for a house and trying to weigh all the possibilities, it pays to work with a professional.

Where do you sometimes wish you had help with research on the internet?

5 Tips For A Better Family Vacation

carVacations are exciting, but also stressful. Here are 5 ways to help reduce stress for both parents and kids on your next family vacation:
1. Make a three-part checklist for the trip with items to do a week before, a day before, and an hour before leaving. Give a copy to everyone in the family and make them responsible for marking each item complete. Have everyone check each other’s lists.
2. Be ready with spontaneous family games that don’t require any props. You can play them in the car, the hotel room, anytime there’s a waiting period. You can find ebooks filled with these kinds of games…download one for the trip.
3. Be ready to play airport or destination scavenger hunt or bingo. Have the kids search for certain things, like “The first person to spot an Arrival Board” or “The first person to find a taxi.” At the end of a period, add the points and offer prizes.
4. Every day at dinner, go around the table and ask everyone what their favorite thing was that day. This is an amazing way to anchor positive memories.
5. Give everyone time apart, time to do nothing, time to be independent (as appropriate for each person’s age). This can be as little as a 15-minute break to play on your separate phones, read, nap, or take a walk alone.

And remember- don’t broadcast you are going to be away on vacation to your friends and family on social media. Post after you return with your favorite photos to make sure your home stays safe and has no uninvited guests.