Fun family vacation entails getting away with your family

family vacations, cheap family vacations, family getaway weekendWhen was the last time you and your family enjoyed a relaxing vacation together? When did you last:

– Stroll along a white, sandy beach?
– Marvel at  the coral and other marine life found in the amazing oceans?
– Help your children build sandcastles and collect sea shells?
– Go horseback riding, hiking, skiing or ziplining?
– Travel back in time as you explore Europe’s centuries-old streets, shops and castles?
– Savor the unique culinary experiences found in restaurants the world over?
– Kick back with a good novel and just relax?

When was the last time you made time for yourself?

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An escape vacation should be just that – an escape

When you take a vacation, do you really get away? By that I mean psychologically as well as physically?

Do you experience the cocoon effect?

I have taken several vacations in recent years. All were very relaxing. One in particular stands out for what I learned–nay, experienced–in the process. There’s a lesson for you in this.

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How to stay safe while traveling

For the most part, you can relax and enjoy safe traveling while abroad. However, just like at home, it’s always best to use a little common sense and street smarts.

The following tips — and others you may learn or know of — can help keep you and your valuables safe. Study these simple steps before your next trip, and you help ensure all your memories are good ones.

safe traveling, how to stay safe, traveling tips1. Avoid the “gawk” – You know the look: Someone standing outside a majestic building, eyes focused upward, mouth agape. Nothing says “tourist” more than that mesmerized look. Control your emotions by offering a more natural pose: one that suggests you’ve seen that building or monument hundreds of times before.

2. Remain alert – Constantly look around you for any suspicious individuals. If you notice someone eyeing you, stare back. Let the person know you’re on to him. Take away the element of surprise.

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Extended weekend getaway refreshes for less

Weekend vacations are beneficial to you and your family

With the economy still iffy and a lot of jitters over world events, many people wonder about taking a vacation. Plus, their credit card balances may not have dropped much. Even so, an escape is definitely in order. What’s a viable alternative? How about a weekend getaway? Even better: make it an extended weekend–three or four nights instead of the customary two.

You may not realize, or perhaps forgot, that valuable destinations are much closer than you think. You don’t have to fly overseas to getaway. The following steps will help you change your perspective on vacations. Perhaps they will convince you to get away. Some tips to consider:

1. Stay close to home – You don’t need to drive far. How far is far? That depends on your tolerance for driving. Considering that you’ll be gone only three or four days, keep it to within three hours’ distance. (I prefer two hours.) You might have dozens of communities to choose from. Literally point to a spot on the map (or GPS screen) and say, “Let’s go there.”

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What to pack: Part 2

How and what to pack for a vacation is one of the more challenging yet fun aspects of traveling. Each destination and season has its own nuances. Some people use packing lists for a vacation, while others wing it.

After more than a half-dozen trips to the Caribbean, I have a pretty good idea of what I’ll take along. The following list will help you as you pack for your next vacation. Some items are better suited to sunny climes, but you probably can use them sometime.

vacation plan, what to pack for vacation, family vacation ideas1. Wide-brimmed hat – Your nose and ears really take a beating in the sun. Many people wear baseball caps, but those don’t cover the ears. While in Puerto Vallarta in 2010 I saw a lot of people sporting a straw-type cowboy hat. Guess it was the fad then, but more importantly, those hats cover the face, neck and ears well. You can also use a “boonie” hat, or the Gilligan’s Island/fisherman’s cap.

2. Comfortable pair of casual shoes – You’ll be walking on the beach and along the pool a lot, so pack a pair of cheap but comfortable shoes. Make sure they’re made of synthetic fabric, as they will be damp the entire week. Nothing dries out in those humid environments, even if you bring the item indoors. Shoes made of natural fabric, such as canvas, begin to stink after a few days. If need be, you can toss them at the end of the week, leaving no major dent in your budget.

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