7 Tips for Travelers of All Ages

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Mami, Cisco and Sweetie are out of town on a family trip/adventure at this time and Muse-pa and I are in the thick of planning and preparing for a somewhat last minute trip to California then Europe in about 4 weeks. All this has got me thinking, eating and breathing trip related topics and ideas as well as research about traveling abroad, which is a whole different animal…

This has also got me reflecting on what I used to do to prepare for taking trips with my kids when they were smaller and the similarities in things to do to make it the most optimal trip you can. Although my kids and I used to travel exclusively by car every year to visit grandparents and family 1,500 miles away, there are even common elements for flying, train, bus, etc. Check out the following tips for travel and see if they see if there are any new ones you can add to your personal toolbox:

1 – Planning, List Making and Being Prepared – I have learned over the years that there are a lot of details regarding travel (the amount and complexity depend upon the specifics of the trip itself, like length of your vacation/trip, camping or not, will you eat out the whole time or cook your own food, are you going more than one place, who the travelers are and their needs, etc.). For this reason, it is good to take some time (hopefully well in advance) to do some peaceful reflecting on what will be needed for the trip. What type of clothing, how much clothing (check the weather), will you need dress-up attire. If driving, you will need to make sure the car is prepared and safe, what kind of snacks/food/drinks/vitamins/medications do you need to remember to take and have sufficient quantities of, do you need to take a coat, blanket, pillow, teddy bear, passports, toys, books, phones/chargers, cameras, and the list goes on and on. Think about what you need for the trip itself, while you are there and for your return. I ALWAYS make a list. Things just tend to get more crazy and time seems to get scarce the closer you get to the departure date and having a list helps you to remember things that you might have otherwise forgotten, as well as allowing you to step back and look at what can be done ahead of time reducing last minute prep, stress, and forgetting things.

2 – Go With the Flow – Through the process of getting ready, as well as during and returning from your trip, do your very best to maintain an easygoing mind. You may have planned like a maniac, have everything totally prepared and feel very in control and things can happen – you can have car problems, your flight may be delayed causing you to miss your connection, the hotel may  have given the room you specifically reserved well in advance to someone else, your passport or stuff get stolen, you or your kids may get sick, etc. Just as in life, when traveling, unexpected things can and frequently do occur. Remember you are on the trip (usually) to do something enjoyable, relaxing or spend precious time with your family, friends or to nurture your own self. Do not destroy this option by getting all bent out of shape over “Other Than Planned On Things” from happening. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and ask “what is the best way to deal with this while sticking with our plan to have a good time/enjoy each other/enjoy life?” Heck, you might even end up having a great time doing something you hadn’t planned on at all and wouldn’t have done except that something “came up” and caused a change in plans.  Embrace the flow of life and dance with it.

3- Prepare for a People Adventure – When you travel, you usually have the opportunity to meet, chat with, interact with or even spend time with people you have never met before. They could be sitting next to you on the plane, in the waiting room where you are getting your broken down car worked on, helping you at the store in a new location, assisting you with directions or recommending a local restaurant or coffee shop, etc. Take this opportunity to exercise you open-minded, non-judgmental, OMG-thank-you-s0-much-for-helping-me attitude. Travel is a really great opportunity to meet new, different and interesting people (even if you are not going out of your own country!!) and is a great opportunity to see what life and people are like elsewhere. Get curious, learn about them, help them in some way if you can (perhaps they will ask about your home city/state/country). Be thankful and be nice! It helps make a better experience and a better world.

4 – Love The Here, Now and Where – The best way to enjoy any place (or any moment of any day) is to look at it like a grand adventure/treasure hunt. Wonder what this day, place, interaction, experience is going to reveal to or share with you. Every single place on this planet has at least some or all of the following:  amazing stories, lessons, beauty, history, natural wonders, etc. Since this is where you chose to go (or have to go for some reason), embrace the experience by adopting this attitude and bring your mind back to it throughout your travels. It is completely possible to ruin a perfectly amazing opportunity for a great trip by continually noticing and focusing on what you do not like about this place, etc. Look for the amazing and you will find it!

5 – Save the Memories – It is really great to take pictures, movies, journal, or have some other way(s) that you remember the places you have gone, the things you have done, the people you have spent time with, and the lessons you have learned, realizations you have had, stories you were touched by, etc. So often I have thought “I will definitely remember that”, but as the years go by sometimes there are so many other things that have come and gone, that you don’t consciously remember many things. Honoring these things by keeping track of them in some way can provide many moments of treasured memories by one and all over the years as well as jog your memory about things you may have completely forgotten.

6 – Be Playful – Keeping a light and playful attitude in most all of life situations and challenges has made all the difference for me. I do it to the best of my ability and have been extremely blessed to have many people in my life who are really good at doing it too. This helps so much because when one of us is challenged, one of the others can jump in and keep it light. Laughter is one of life’s best medicines. It can help heal all kinds of tough days, owies, broken hearts, and challenges while traveling. Plus it models these skills and attitudes to your kids and makes them more resilient to life.

7 – Take Good Toys – No matter the age, if you have a variety of things to keep the mind and body occupied, it can make all the difference. I used to make sure and get at least 2-4 new toys, games and books to take on our 24-hr driving trips back in the day and they were truly lifesavers for all of us. The kids changed off who played with what (pretty peacefully usually), mixed that up with some music we could all sing to (that’s how we did it then), reading of new books, and a couple travel type games (we did this before all the electronic stuff was an option). We also had long time periods where we would tell stories and make up funny stories together. Sometimes we laughed so hard at them we got teary eyed. Nowadays, I make sure and have my Ipad (with a few games on it that I like), a good book or two, a notebook to write things in, some snacks, my Ipod (loaded with my favorite music, inspirational talks and books on cd), and I could do fine for days.

I hope these have been helpful for suggesting some things to make your travels near and far easier, more memorable and happier for years and years to come.

Please feel free to share this post and information with anyone you know who you feel would benefit from it.

Blessings to you and thank you for all the loving parenting you do; it makes a better world, one Sweetie at a time.

Hug attached,

Koolma  : )

What tips and tricks do you have for happier traveling?      Got any good travel stories to share?

We’d love to hear from you!  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section so we can help each other; remember, we are all in this together!

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